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Blueback - by Tim Winton
Transcript of Blueback - by Tim Winton
Before studying a novel it is important to research the author and find out as much background information as we can.
What does the ocean mean to you?
Do you have any notable memories of the ocean
Have you ever been snorkeling before?
What words do you associate the ocean with?
Make a simile with one of those words.
Tim Winton is one of Australia’s most famous authors. He was born in Perth, Western Australia, in 1960.
Winton has won many literary awards
Not surprisingly, Winton has been named a Living Treasure by the National Trust.
He is the patron of both the Tim Winton Award for Young Writers, and the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS).
Notably, he is involved in AMCS’s work to raise awareness about sustainable seafood consumption.
Winton is also a prominent supporter of the Save Moreton Bay organisation, the Environment Defender’s Office and the Australian Wildlife Conservancy.
In 2003, he was awarded the inaugural Australian Society of Authors (ASA) Medal in recognition of his work in the campaign to save the Ningaloo Reef.
Year 7 English
Blueback - by Tim Winton
In pairs we will have 20 minutes to research as much as we can about Tim Winton.
We will then come back and look at a video showing his landscapes, and read an interview.
Can you guess what the book will be about by looking at the front and back covers?
Blueback is written as one word. What does this suggest?
Using only the cover illustration.
1. Write a description of the diver.
2. Write a scene, one paragraph describing the event taking place as you imagine it. What words might you use? Try using a simile or metaphor.
Use examples from the text to create vivid descriptions such as:
“He fell back into the water with a
cloud of bubbles
swirled around him, clinging to his skin like
a cloud of bubbles.
What do you think these quotes want to express?
Use the same grammatical features as Tim Winton and create your own to display.
What do you know about Tim Winton? Has anyone read any of his books? If yes can you suggest something that Tim Winton might have used in this book?
Plot of Blueback
Abel Jackson’s life is intimately entwined with the environment in which he lives.Throughout his childhood, Abel and his mother Dora have depended on Longboat Bay for all that they need. The waters and land of the Bay both sustain and enrich their lives. Despite this idyllic image they lead a hard, basic life. Whilst diving for abalone, Abel befriends an enormous fish who lives off the shores of the Bay. Abel names the groper Blueback and the fish becomes a symbol of the Bay for Abel, representative of everything he loves about his home and also a clear measure of the health of the Bay for Abel and the others who depend upon it for their survival.
As he grows Abel must move away from the Bay for school but his heart remains with the Bay and Dora, he is inextricably linked to this place and to Blueback. As time passes, Abel pursues a career in studying the sea and this work takes him away from the Bay but his links to home remain strong. The message of environmental sustainability is at the forefront of this novel. Eventually it is Dora who sees what is needed to protect the Bay – she lobbies hard for the area to be protected and, in achieving this aim, thwarts those who would develop the area purely for financial gain. This novel is an account of Abel’s life journey, and as Dora’s life moves to a close, he returns to establish a life for himself in his true home. He begins to understand what Dora has learnt - that to appreciate and know the Bay he must listen to its needs. This is a story about love and the importance of and contribution that one life can make. It is also about the journey, the power of place and the importance of connections.
Find out about:
his home and family
• his hobbies and interests
• the other books he has written
• his thoughts, attitudes and values.
Tim Winton Research
Leave Sharks Alone!
How does this article give us more clues to the story Blueback?
What is the title?
How does the author describe Tim Winton?
What does the word 'infidel' mean & what image does the description of sharks, made by Winton, make in our minds?
What is Winton's main concern?
The second page is full of rich description. Write down the sentences you find. What vision does the description create in our mind? How does that make you feel as a reader & community member perhaps in fear of sharks?
It is barely dawn when Abel and his mother get into their boat and head around to Robbers Head, drop the anchor and start to dive into the water searching for Abalone which they sell. After several dives, Abel is at the deepest point and nearly out of air when he feels a rush in the water behind him, he turns around to see a huge mouth, eyes like golf balls coming at him, the creature grabs his hand and takes the abalone, the pain is terrible and he screams then shoots to the surface. His whole body quaked and trembled. He screams to his mother to get in the boat but she laughs and tells him it is okay, she makes him look down and he realises it isn’t a shark but the biggest fish he has ever seen. She tells him it is a blue groper and they sink back into the water to have a close look at it, his mother feeds it some abalone and then it darts into a dark hole. They climb back into the boat and head for home, he has lived at Longboat Bay all his life and “every day is special but it all became much more precious the day he shook hands with old Blueback.”
Write a scene, one paragraph describing a place. Every sentence should have a goal - why are you describing this place? Why is it important to the plot or your character? Does something happen there? Does it have a special meaning for a character?
Use paragraph 1 P67/68 simile “He saw
the sun melting like butter on white dunes
Unusual use of adjectives to evoke images and feelings:
“long sugary beaches”, “saw the great, strange
land through the wobbly glass of the waves.”
Brainstorm some unusual adjectives in sentences
which describe something in your story.
Write like Tim Winton!
During the reading of this book you will have time to record thoughts and feelings evoked by the story. Spend time writing and thinking carefully about the issues raised in the story. You will write responses to questions raised in class discussions.
1. Tim Winton uses expressive language to build a picture in the readers mind. Find examples of similes, adjectives and adverbs. Create a list of these, and build upon it during the reading of the book.
2. Due to the use descriptive techniques, many images are created in our minds. Draw what image that was most outstanding to you.
1. What sort of relationship do you think Abel and his mother have?
2. What do you think Abel thinks of his mother? What words could describe her? Her physical characteristics and personality
3. Why did Abel and his mother go out so early?
4. Make a list of all sea creature mentioned so far. Add to the list as we continue.
In order to become successful writers we should take inspiration from those who are. To do this we will look at the first few pages of Blueback. This stage is the orientation stage, so it introduces the main characters, the setting and the relationship between the characters. It also gives a feel of the pace of the narrative.
As you follow the text, highlight the specific sections as I go through it on the board.
Tim Winton has said that he takes months sometimes to write his first page of a book. On this page he has told us lots, even though it's less than one page.
Chapter 2, 3, and 4
Answer the following in your reading journal.
1. How do you think Abel's father died? Do you think Abel knew his father?
2. what do you think of Abel and his mother's unusual lifestyle?
3. Create a Venn Diagram to compare and contrast Abel's life with your own.
3 & 4
4. How did Winton describe the ducks in Chapter 3? Comment on this comparison.
5. How is the relationship between Blueback and Abel developing?
6. Why did Abel's mother grab a spear gun when she went to see if Mad Maca was alright? How did you feel when you read that he had died? How do you think Abel and his mother felt?
'Abel pulled on his wetsuit and ran down the jetty just as the sun came up'.
What words or phrases could be used to describe dawn?
Cut off the full stop. Move it to
Can the full stop be here?
Full stop rules
Full stops go after a group of words that make sense on their own.
All sentences must have a verb
. The best way to check where a full stop goes is to read the words aloud.
Beautiful, evocative descriptions are to be found throughout the novel in the words used to describe the natural environment, and, in particular, in the descriptions of
(pages 8, 20, 28, 151).
'Sunlight caught the windows of the shack above the beach so that every pane of glass looked like a fire' (1 &2)
'The shellfish grew round and silver like shiny hubcaps.' (4)
'He stayed just behind the breakers and was showered with their spray and saw the great, strange land through the wobbly glass of waves. He saw the sun melting like butter on white dunes.' (66)
'The sea grew tormented. It buckled and swelled and bunted against the cliffs and headlands, Surf hammered the shore and chewed it away'. (124)
What image springs to your minds when told the mentioned quotes? Draw the image with the quote included. This will strengthen your imagination and enable you to devise delicious descriptions in your own stories!
Chapter 5 & 6 Questions
Abel's mother described the new Abalone diver as a "reef stripper". What do you think this is and why was she concerned about this? What do you think will happen to the Bay and Blueback of the new fisherman is as bad as people said.
As you read through these chapters, write down any different words Winton uses to describe things. Find similes to add to your list.
Use this text patter for sentence 1 = time/ main character/2 actions joined by and to create your own sentence. We will then share our findings.
The next sentence text pattern is already/second character/where she/he was/had done something.
Lastly we will make a text pattern for the whole paragraph as a class and then by yourselves.
Chapter 7 & 8
Take note of the similes and adjectives Winton uses and refers to.
Do you think Abel will leave the Bay permanently?
Create a plot profile of chapter 7 plotting the excitement/action levels of the chapter.
What could Abel and his mother do to get rid of Costello?
What do you think happened to the Tiger Shark? Write a passage which details what let to the Tiger Shark being in the condition he was found in. Use some descriptive words and phrases in your writing.
Chapter 9, 10, & 11
1. What do you think would happen to the Bay if the resort went ahead? Why was the resort a bad idea? Do you think it was a bad idea? Why?
2. List the things the developers tried to acquire the land for the resort?
3. If a similar a similar development happened in Ceduna, what could you and the local community do to prevent it from happening? Create a list of things that you could do or encourage others to do.
Create a pamphlet advertising the resort that features what the businessmen and councilors hoped to create in the bay.
Chapter 12, 13, and 14
1. Write summaries of the events in these chapters. Try to think beyond what is written in the text and make connections between what these chapters are about, and the world in which we live.
2. Chapter 13 is one of the most important chapters in this book. Tim Winton tells of Blueback, that with all 'we' have done to the sea, it is time to give something back. Comment on this statement in light of what happens in Chapter 13.