Themes - Story of Tom Brennan

Darkness or black is used throughout the novel to depict a state of despair. The family
fled Mumbilli close to dawn when only the silhouettes of the houses could be seen. Tom,
who does not like living at his grandmother’s house, surveys his room only to see that it
is brown and dark. While remembering how they once were and comparing this to his
present state, Tom slips into a long black tunnel. A black curtain also descended over
Tom when Chrissie asked him how his nonexistent grandfather was feeling, knowing that
the boots she gave him were really for Fin. When discussing Daniel, his moods are also
referred to as being dark and in order to show how vulnerable Kylie is, she is described as
having black make-up all over her eyes.
Water or an area where one can swim is used on many occasions to generally show a
positive outcome in this story. Kylie is told to have a shower by Kath in order to cool off
when she is upset. Tom is caught in the shower by Chrissie, just after he realises that he
is sexually interested in her. It is at the pool that Tom first goes out with his new friends
from school, and he feels free and light when he jumps into the pool. It is at the pool that
he sees Chrissie again. Finally it is at the river when Tom believes he came back. Also,
Kath and Fin move closer to the beach, perhaps with hope for a brighter future for Fin.
However, it was also while Daniel and Tom were swimming when they were younger
that Daniel pushed his head under the water, holding it there in anger. Perhaps this was a
sign that Daniel needed discipline to control this aspect in his personality.