Response to Texts in the Year 9 and 10 exams

Another section in the Years 9 and 10 exams is Response to Texts. I have put an essay from a Year 10 student below. The essay was written on the novel Looking for Alibrandi and it was written in exam conditions.

Describe an character who changed during the text. Explain why this change occurred.

In the novel ‘Looking for Alibrandi’ by Melina Marchetta, the character Josie Alibrandi changes.  In the beginning of the novel she was scornful of her culture (Australian-Italian), dubbing the Italian tomato day as “national bloody wog day”, at the end of the book she has accepted herself and her culture.

As the novel begins we see her immediately as witty, intelligent, and though she would never admit it; a snob and really quite nasty to those she does not like.  Josie has a rocky relationship with her Grandmother, Nonna, who is a traditional Italian matron.

Nonna’s endless restrictions and expectations leave Josie impatient and ever the wild child to her Grandmother.  Josie eventually discovers that Nonna was very much similar to herself when she was young, and stronger than Josie ever could have imagined.  Josie begins to listen to Nonna, and she grows to respect and love her crotchety Grandmother.

The whole book is of Josie growing, spiritually and mentally.  Since she has only been bought up by her Mother, the two are very close.  Yet Josie manages to show a childish and petty side when her Mother attempts to go out on a date with a man she has met.  Josie throws a traditional tantrum showing she is not as mature as we thought.

This changes when her non-existent Father comes onto the scene.  Josie is forced to face her demons; her culture and her illegitimacy. After several false starts that include much swearing, Josie lets her Father in.  This fills a space that has always been in her life.

When a friend commits suicide, Josie seems to grow up in the space of a few days.  She is forced to revaluate what is important to her, when she realises that the lifestyle of her friend, a proper Australian, wasn’t as idyllic as she had always thought.

Through this, Josie sees that her culture will always be part of her, and she accepts this.  At the end of the novel Josie has grown up and is at peace with herself, “what’s important is that I know my place in life”.

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