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Soldier on the Hill by Jackie French

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The novel, Soldier on the Hill, by Jackie French, was first published in 1997 and is centred during World War II in Australia. A teenage boy named Joey discovered a Japanese soldier camping on the hills of Biscuit Creek, and he is confronted with conflicting emotions concerning the soldier. In this historic novel, Soldier on the Hill, by Jackie French, Joey grows through sorrow. In the exposition of the novel, Joey is a teenage boy who is having trouble fitting in after moving from Sydney to Biscuit Creek. As the conflict develops, Joey faces the challenge of discovering the true life of the Japanese soldier.

In the rising action of the story, Joey starts searching for the Japanese soldier to prove to the townsfolk that he really was rescued by the soldier. Then he makes new friends with Myrtle and Joe. Later, Joey discovers the truth about the Japanese soldier’s family. The climax of the story happens when Joey faces the greatest challenge when he finds out that the Japanese soldier is a fellow human being who feels emotions and who even ends up helping Joey’s friend. The falling action tells of when Joey and Myrtle have to say goodbye to the Japanese soldier.

In the resolution, Joey respects each person and keeps his secret instead of telling everyone. The most attention-grabbing section of the novel is when Joey met Miss Tidcombe while walking home from school. She invited Joey to her place for afternoon tea and told Joey that her cats have been strangely disappearing. Miss Tidcombe treats Joey as an equal and, so far, she is the only person who believes Joey. This is the best section of the novel because it tells the reader that someone believes Joey and this had a huge effect on Joey’s confidence and self- worth.

The author captivates the reader in this section of the book by using humour and emotions of sadness. The theme throughout the novel is emotional because of the war going on in the world at this point in time. In Biscuit Creek, most people have been affected by the war, either losing a father, brother or son, or having to live with the rationing of food and the constant air raids practises. Joey and his family have to deal with the uncertainty of whether his father will ever return from the war. “It’s Fred, Father. The Germans have got him. They killed our Fred. This sentence from the novel clearly illustrates that death could affect any family at any time.

This has a huge impact on the reader because it is highly emotional and demonstrates the losses of war. “Enemies in the air can strike at any time. ” This means that the enemy can drop bombs at any time, even when people least expect it. This has an enormous impact on the audience because it means the people in the story constantly live in fear and with anxiety. The author illustrates perfectly how the war must have affected the citizens of small country towns in Australia during the 1940s and the impact it had on individuals and their families.

Jackie French provides detail and lots of descriptions when setting the scenes. Readers will discover that this novel is really thrilling and full of meaningful messages about families coping with war and people learning to respect other cultures. It is interesting and captures the reader, so they never want to put the book down. Throughout this novel, readers will find themselves laughing and crying on the same page. It is really exciting, informative and emotional to read.

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