Noughts and Crosses Analysis
Nougats and Crosses Analysis Novels help authors to explore a range of important issues in society, which Malone Blackman clearly portrays through Nougats and Crosses. This novel follows the lives and experiences of two characters, Callus and Seeps.
Throughout the book Blackman deals with a number of key issues including racism and prejudice, love and friendship and lastly, violent and peaceful protest. These themes are Identified through different layers of meaning of her writing using textual evidence.
This is conveyed through the narrative techniques of characterization, structure and engage In order to communicate the Important messages to the readers. Blackman has created a world of her own to contrast the society we live in, by using the black race which are often discriminated against In reality but In the novel are the upper high class. By doing this she has challenged our preconceptions and social views, and asked the readers to consider the deep effects of racism and the suffering It causes.
Blackman has effectively used a range of narrative to bring her world to life giving the white reader taste of discrimination that many blacks have suffered for entries, provoking feelings, empathy and understanding which lacks in today’s society. By turning the world upside down, Blackman tries to get her readers to see life in a different perspective more clearly. The setting Is essential In highlighting how severe racism can be In the world Blackman created. It is not until Callus is given the rare opportunity to attend a Cross School do we realist the extent of discrimination and intolerance towards the Nougats.
The merging of Nougats and Crosses changes the setting completely. Throwing the reader directly into the conflict.
The racist views and attitudes of the Crosses are clearly seen on Callus’s first day at school when they are protesting outside Heatproof High, repeating “No flankers in our school”. The underlying message of the demonstrations is that in this world Callus and his black friend Seeps will have their friendship tested only because of their different ethnically background. The type of world created is similar to the system of white exclusivity of apartheid in South Africa during the late sass’s to early 1 ass’s.
Blackman Is also addressing the different ways people react to situations that they believe are wrong. Some people turn to violence and some are looking in the other direction.
Characters like Callus’s mum, Maggie or Jasmine Hadley, can see that life Is unfair but they’re afraid that trying to do something about It will be pointless or even dangerous. Some try to work out peaceful solutions to the problem as Seeps does when she Joins a political group at her boarding school. Some like Ryan, Jude and Callus turn to violence.
The novel conveys the downsides of choosing violence clearly through the effects of the bombing of the Dandle Shopping Centre on the McGregor family and the misery caused to both Callus and Seeps when he gets n the Liberation M However, Blackman tries to make us think about why people turn to violence in the first place. Ryan Joins the Liberation Militia because he wants revenge on Lunette’s death. Jude cannot get an education or Job, so he turns to violence as the only way he can see of improving his situation and achieving something.
Callus Joins because he feels isolated and angry and the Liberation Army at least gives him the feeling that he’s not a passive enslaver of injustice. Even though the book doesn’t support violence it does suggest that people without any standing in the society and political rower may feel compelled to use it to make themselves heard. The relationship between Callus and Seeps is opposite to the relationship between Nougats and Crosses. Their friendship is warm and intense, despite occasional arguments and the problems they face. They stay close right until the end.
When Kamala Hadley asks Seeps to choose between keeping her baby or saving Callus from being hanged, there’s a huge contrast between the warmth of Zephyrs feelings for Callus and Smalls cold self-interest. Callus and Seeps represent an ideal relationship in a world full of human variety that’s very far from ideal. We can not be he same in regard to color of our skin but can tolerate and respect each other. Blackman gives both Callus and Seeps different voices, which develop throughout the novel. Seeps sounds quite young at the beginning of the book.
She uses a lot of exclamation marks and she dwells upon the way events make her feel.
While Callus comes across as older and more experienced from the beginning, he shows more awareness of other people’s feelings and he tends to react to problems with bitter humor. Although his voice does matter as the story progresses, it doesn’t change as much as Zephyrs. Both Seeps and Callus have a lot in common. They’re bright, confident and strong- willed with strong feelings towards fairness and equality in in that light towards each other.
But they can not deny their different background and upbringing.
Seeps grew up in a privileged and sheltered home and because of this she is naive to real life troubles, optimistic and expects life will work out well. Callus has grown up seeing his parent’s, brother and sister facing all sorts of problems and life hardship. His experience has taught him that however hard he tries in life, it will be difficult for him to succeed therefore he’s more cautious and pessimistic than Seeps. The author uses language as a tool to show the characters’ status in society as black or white.
The words “blanker” (used by blacks to describe whites) and “dagger” (used by whites to describe blacks) are used repeatedly throughout the novel, generally in derogatory fashion.
“Blanker” is used to describe a blank, worthless, brainless white person. ” I bet it was one of her blanker friends, they’re blank by name and blank by nature”. And “dagger” is used to represent something dangerous, even deadly that one must take very seriously. So the world is divided into two opposite camps who show no interest in meeting on the middle.
The structure to the novel is essential in displaying the issues to racism trot boot sides of the story.
The story starts with a prologue, which sets the scene and introduces the world of conflict and hatred. The novel is divided into parts, which are further divided to show the different views of Seeps and Callus. These alternating point of views in the structure allow the reader to be presented with a number of issues coming from both sides which are completely different and yet address the same points. We are taken through a Journey exploring the clashes between Seeps and Callus in their contrasting worlds.
This technique allows Blackman to present forth a non-biased account without leaning towards any side in this complex net of racism, ethnicity and relationships issues. Seeps yearns for her relationship with Callus to be accepted by saying, “There was Just one thing that stopped my day from being entirely perfect.
If only Callus and I didn’t have to sneak and creep around. If only Callus wasn’t a Enough”. Blackman uses the rhyming words of sneak and creep to show that their affection for each other was forbidden and their relationship had to be kept private.
Seeps sadly realizes that in such worlds the only way that they could be together is if they were both born of the same race. These techniques allow Blackman to capture the main theme of tragic human division enforced by racism. This same theme of love between Callus and Seeps is conveyed in many instances by different devices.
When Callus is accepted into Heatproof, he believes this level of schooling will allow him be with her in publicly accepted manner. “And with a proper education behind me, nothing could stand in the way of me and Seeps. Nothing. Blackmail’s use of repeating “nothing” shows Callus’s determination and belief that he and Seeps could start eroding the racist culture of the Crosses. His determination and courageous character are fuelled by his love for Seeps and his belief of making a difference. Seeps clearly thinks the same.
“Nothing would ever come between me and Callus. I wouldn’t let it. Neither would Callus. ” But their relationship had downs as well. Following the event in which Seeps attempts to sit beside Callus and the other Nougats at lunchtime, Callus is exceptionally upset at her for humiliating him in front of his Enough friends.
L lay on my stomach and punched the sand. And again, and again. Until I was pounding with both fists. Until my knuckles were red, raw and bleeding. The two verbs “punched” and “pounding” sound quite violent implying his strong resentment to Seeps at that moment. As a successful structural device, Blackman uses short, dramatic sentences to increase tension and to show the angry manner in which Callus was acting due to Zephyrs behavior.
The author uses tripling adjectives when describing the appearance of his knuckles to draw the reader’s awareness to the immensity of Callus’s frustration.
By using these devices, Blackman shows to her audience that our life and relationships are affected shaped by what surrounds us. In this case, Zephyrs actions tore her and Callus’s relationship further apart because of the rejection they both would face from their own group if they sat together. During the initial protest at Heatproof on the first day back to school, Callus had been involved in a close to fatal incident where Crosses were objecting against Nougats coming to their school.
Callus was clearly deeply disturbed by this experience as demonstrated through, “The crowd surged forward at that, the palpable wave of their anger hitting me almost like a punch. ” Blackman uses the language technique of adding adjective such a “palpable” to express the impact that Callus felt, both physically and mentally.
Blackman incorporates into the novel the emotional struggle the Nougats go through from being discriminated against by the Crosses, to Callus and Zephyrs unlikely and inconvenient relationship. Their relationship was at times very rocky. Seeps, if you slapped me or punched me or even stabbed me, sooner or later it would’ve stopped hurting. Sooner or later. But I’ll never forget what you called me, Seeps.
Never. ” Callus’s feelings were badly hurt after Seeps had called him the derogatory term of “blanker”. That reminded him of two opposite sides they are coming from, the fact that simply does not want to go away. The repetitiveness of “sooner or later”, portrays the intensity of suffering that Callus experienced as a result of his bestrides publicly offending him.
Jude, Callus’s brother is a violent character who Joined the Liberation Militia with his strong hate for the Crosses. Blackman uses his character to contrast Seeps and Callus’s fantasy world and wishful thinking with a harsh reality.
Elude says, “She’s going to be the death of you”. Unfortunately this ends up being true but Callus probably had no other choice. His way was a way of trying to build a bridge, albeit somewhat reluctantly, not knowing where it will all end. Nougats and Crosses is an in depth story which explores the issues of racism and prejudice and the effects that they have on the society.
All other themes such as friendship, love, tolerance and respect branch off this key concept and are affected by it.
The story vividly depicts the human tragedy caused by racism and intolerance but also demonstrates the hope, often through action of individuals trying to show that there is another, better and fairer way. That require people changing their deep rooted values and attitudes which proves to be the biggest obstacle. After all the world will change when individuals change themselves.