Noughts and Crosses Essay
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Noughts and Crosses
‘Noughts and Crosses” by Malorie Blackman is a novel which follows the lives and experiences of two characters, Callum and Sephy. Throughout the book Blackman deals with a number of issues including relationships, alcohol abuse, power abuse, depression and violence. However, the key issues of the book are racism and prejudice. These issues of racism and prejudice are conveyed through the narrative techniques of characterization, point of view, language, structure and setting.
The author uses language as a tool to show the characters’ status in society as black or white. Various language techniques are used to display the classes of society. The words “blanker” (used by blacks to describe whites) and “dagger” (used…show more content…
The setting is essential in highlighting the severity of racism in the world Blackman has created. The reader realizes that racism is apparent in the society in which Callum and Sephy live but it is not until Callum is given the rare opportunity to attend a Cross school that we see the extent of discrimination and intolerance towards noughts which commonly occurs. The merging of noughts and Crosses changes the setting completely, throwing the reader directly into conflict. The racist values and attitudes of Crosses are clearly seen on Callum’s first day of school when Crosses are uncontrollably protesting, continually chanting ‘No blankers in our school’. This displays that the world Callum and Sephy live in is a drastic reversal of ours. Instead of the white race being dominant in society, power roles are radically reversed so blacks are the elite race. Underlying the issue of racism is the issue of relationships and that in this extreme world Callum and Sephy can never be together in a nought and Cross relationship. I think Blackman is trying to recreate a world using the same system as apartheid did in South Africa during the late 1940’s to early 1990’s. She is using the book as a way to impact the white population by informing them of the discrimination black people have suffered.
The structure of the novel is significant in presenting the issues of racism from both sides of the story. The story starts with a prologue which sets the scene and
Noughts and Crosses- Malorie Blackman The book Noughts and Crosses is a sitting on the fence sort of book for me. The writing of it hooked you in and made you think but I absolutely hated what happened in the end. The plot was good but as I said I didn’t like some things that occurred during the novel, like the fact Callum dying made me want to scream and rip my hair out (I did restrain myself by the way). But the fact that I did want to do that was because you grew attached to the characters, as if they were real people. Even if they’re not, they could be in the future, you never know… ) I hated/ loved that about the book. My favourite characters would have to be the guys of Callum’s family, especially Callum. Partly because of his complete ‘it is how it is’ attitude and his loyalty. Even though most people probably hated Jude, I quite liked him. He had a tough attitude, but really he was quite vulnerable, especially at the end when he’s pretty much lost all his family because of the Crosses.
I also held quite a fair bit of respect (for a book character anyway) for Ryan, Callum’s dad. His courage for taking the consequences of Jude’s slight slip up, originally resulting in him going to the gallows to hang. Even though he ended up not hanging he walked up to the gallows expecting death. And not backing down from it; accepting death so his family could live. I didn’t like Sephy particularly; in fact I hated her to be honest.
I didn’t like the choices that she made; choosing the baby over Callum. I most certainly disliked her parents, most of all her father. But I started to tolerate her mother near the end when you find out she paid for the lawyer to help Ryan. My favourite scene would have to be…. I actually don’t have a favourite scene, lol… The setting of the book was based sometime in the future; it hasn’t happened and is a possibility, who knows, it could happen (shudder). I think the book was targeted at teens.
I also think that Malorie Blackman swapped the places of the people in charge so people would feel or imagine what it would be like if we were in their place, seeing as one of the main themes was racism. A few other themes were sacrifice, love and friendship and another main one,-death. Sacrifice and death made a big part of this book, constantly having to choose between love, family, religion and your race. It was a massive balancing act for the two main characters, Sephy and
Callum, who you got to study in depth of how they thought and what choices they always had to make as they were constantly switching between characters’ point of views; that’s how the book was written, in points of view. I think this book inspires a whole pile of ‘what if? ’ questions; it’s not too hard to imagine how much our lives would be different, and not by a little. I think she’s really trying to make us look deeper into the racism that surrounds this book. Even though it is made up, the more you think about it, the possibility of it happening is actually quite possible, scarily enough. Arianna Hogan