GCSE Language and Literature Coursework Essay Example
GCSE Language and Literature Coursework Essay Example

GCSE Language and Literature Coursework Essay Example

Available Only on StudyHippo
  • Pages: 19 (5049 words)
  • Published: September 11, 2017
  • Type: Coursework
View Entire Sample
Text preview

"Paddy Clarke Ha ha ha" by Roddy Doyle tells the story of a ten-year-old boy growing up in Ireland in 1968. The novel follows Paddy Clarke's journey as he develops and undergoes changes during a specific period in his life. Through Paddy's experiences, the book captures the essence of childhood in Ireland at that time, showcasing his dreams and ambitions for the future, while also exploring the societal norms and traditions that shape his everyday existence.

The novel centers around Paddy's arduous journey and his response to a range of challenging circumstances, notably the separation of his parents. Doyle highlights Paddy's development and evolution from a contented youngster to an uncertain grown-up burdened with the duties of being "The man of the house" following his parents' breakup. Through delving into Paddy's personal encounters and connections, Doyle examines how his outlooks and actio


ns towards different individuals change over time. Ultimately, the book portrays a childhood overshadowed by grief and desolation within a family navigating divorce.

This essay examines the evolving personality and lifestyle of Paddy in the book. Initially, Paddy is depicted as a cheerful and content child. He possesses an enterprising and lively nature, eager to absorb any available experiences and knowledge. He persistently bombards his father with endless questions, considering him a significant role model at the start. In the beginning, Paddy finds joy in playing and inventing games with friends, exhibiting a vibrant imagination by drawing inspiration from his observations and readings. Paddy is mischievous by nature, often engaging in pranks or playful antics with his friends.

Near the beginning of the novel, this quote describes a typical game played by Paddy and his friends. They

View entire sample
Join StudyHippo to see entire essay

called themselves the Vigour Tribe and used one of Sinbad's markers to draw big V's on their chests, representing Vigour. Despite the cold weather, they continued their game.

The marker made us laugh. It had big black V's on it. It tickled us from our chests to our belly buttons. It had a lot of energy! Kevin threw the cap of Sinbad's marker onto a beach. It was an old one on Barrytown road and had goo at the bottom.

We entered Tootsie's store and presented her with our chests - One two three - - Vigour! She completely ignored us without uttering a word. Quickly, we hurried out of the shop. Kevin playfully sketched a large Mickey Mouse on Kiernan's pillar. In a rush, we fled the scene. We later returned so that Kevin could draw the drops falling from Mickey's image.

We ran again. This quote supports my opinion that Paddy is initially quite a carefree, playful character - part of a wayward gang. Paddy invents the game - to keep in league and gain popularity and recognition with Kevin (at this time a major role-model to Paddy in his school life and friendships). The game involves taunting and being exasperating towards the elderly shop assistant Tootsie. This passage, along with the entire book, is written from Paddy's perspective and is filled with great energy and enthusiasm. Paddy achieves success in the passage by exerting increasing control over his friends and convincing them to play according to his rules. This quote also highlights Paddy's deep admiration for Kevin at the beginning of the book. From this passage, it is clear that Kevin has a significant

influence over Paddy, who is impressed by Kevin's rebellious attitude and destructive behavior.

From the start, Paddy strives to earn Kevin's respect and strengthen their friendship. However, despite Paddy's constant approval of Kevin, Kevin does not fully reciprocate loyalty or fairness towards Paddy. Right at the beginning of the book, Kevin's domineering nature towards the others in their gang becomes evident to Paddy. As the story progresses, Paddy gradually begins to question Kevin's leadership. On page 14, it becomes blatantly clear that Paddy is starting to doubt Kevin's authority and may even be altering his opinion and level of respect towards him. It is mentioned, "Everyone said that someone from the new corporation houses had done it. Later, about a year after, Kevin said he'd done it."

But he did not. He was on vacation in Courtown, staying in a caravan, when it occurred. "I did not say anything." This quote expresses Paddy's initial realization concerning Kevin's deceit. Paddy likely harbors resentment towards Kevin for attempting to deceive him. However, despite knowing that Kevin is blatantly lying, Paddy hesitates to confront him, fearing that he might lose their friendship or respect. Paddy's decision to remain silent about his suspicions indicates a loss of admiration and respect for Kevin. In the past, Paddy would have been impressed by and admired Kevin's lies without questioning their truthfulness.

Paddy begins to understand Kevin's true character, as demonstrated in this passage. "- If the world's moving, why aren't we moving as well?" Kevin asked. Although I knew the answer, I chose not to vocalize it. Kevin was aware of the answer; that's why he posed the question. I could sense this from

his tone. I never replied to any of Kevin's questions.

The text reveals that Paddy never hurried with a response, whether it was in school or elsewhere. He always provided Kevin with an opportunity to answer first. This demonstrates how Paddy's admiration and respect for Kevin are diminishing. By observing Kevin's speech and body language, Paddy realizes the motivations behind Kevin's actions. However, Paddy is too afraid to respond himself or expose Kevin, fearing the loss of their friendship. Consequently, he allows Kevin to receive all the recognition for knowing the answers in order to maintain their friendship and avoid confrontation. As the book progresses, Paddy's admiration for Kevin dwindles even further. He starts to perceive Kevin as deceitful and not as genuinely remarkable and influential as he initially portrayed. Page 51 offers a clearer insight into Paddy's true assessment of his friend's character: "I needed lepers."

Sinbad wasn't enough.... I couldn't inform Kevin because he would have become Father Damien and I would have turned into a leper." Paddy is pointing out a flaw in Kevin's character, specifically his autocratic nature. Paddy consciously decides not to involve Kevin, who has assumed the role of an invincible leader that others must obey, and becomes bitter when his authority is questioned. Upon this realization, Paddy reflects on the past and realizes how Kevin has managed to manipulate and control them all, while they had been too impressed by him to understand his self-proclaimed leadership and dominance over the group. Paddy no longer accepts Kevin's words as truth and starts to withhold his true thoughts and feelings, leading to growing tension in their friendship. This tension eventually culminates in

an outburst of resentment between them.

P.70 "- That's stupid," said Kevin. "- I know," I said. "- I told you, I didn't think it was stupid at all."

This passage illustrates the conflicting emotions Paddy experiences towards Kevin in the middle of the book. Despite his suspicions and loss of respect, Paddy covers up his true feelings and pretends to be okay with Kevin's actions. One prominent example is when the boys engage in a ritualistic game, with Kevin assuming the role of a powerful "high priest" who exercises oppressive control over his friends. The boys feel helpless and vulnerable under Kevin's wrath. An excerpt from page 133 captures Paddy's perspective on the game and his realization that they have allowed Kevin to manipulate and use violence against them out of fear, testing the limits of his power and their loyalty: "We were all tired of being hit on the back with a poker by Kevin; he refused to take his turn."

Cii??nas had said that he had to be the high priest all the time. Paddy recognizes Kevin's fake excuses and acknowledges that if they all had a go with the poker, it would have probably gone on forever. However, Kevin wouldn't allow it because it was his poker. Paddy believes in democracy and equality within his friendship group, but Kevin is suppressing this, which Paddy would resent.

Paddy refuses to let go of his friendship with Kevin, despite realizing that Kevin treats him unfairly. He resents and dislikes Kevin for this, but he keeps his feelings to himself and pretends to still be supportive of Kevin. Paddy is afraid of losing Kevin's respect and maybe even

scared of the consequences. However, as Paddy's resentment towards Kevin grows, he not only stops looking up to him but also starts admiring Charles Leavy, a boy from the new Corporation houses, as a new role model. During a football game, Paddy openly rejects Kevin's friendship, wanting to gain Charles' respect. He intentionally passes the ball to Charles, who is on the opposing team. Paddy feels triumphant when Charles chooses to pass to him instead of Kevin. After the game, during a conversation on the wall, Paddy further distances himself from Kevin and begins to discard him.

"Sitting beside Charles Leavy, on a wall, is Kevin. Kevin is just added into the equation as an afterthought while Paddy admires Charles Leavy. Kevin asks, 'Will we go to the barn?' and adds, 'Will we?' Charles Leavy questions, 'Why?' At this point, Kevin's changing approach suggests insecurity - he is asking rather than dictating or domineering. Paddy states, 'I agreed with him.' This quote symbolizes Paddy's changing role model as he sides with Charles over Kevin."

Paddy and Kevin have a falling out, causing Paddy to transform himself into Charles Leavy, who he perceives as an unaffected and tough person. Paddy sees Charles as someone immune to the problems around him and this new role model helps him mature and prepare for his parents' divorce. However, the insecurities in Paddy's home life begin to impact his personality. Initially gentle and cooperative, over time Paddy becomes more independent and controlling. He develops different desires from those around him and is drawn to Charles because he yearns to emulate him. Confused and seeking escape from pain and rejection, Paddy believes that

adopting Charles' persona will alleviate it all.

P. 225 shows why Paddy might have been attracted to Charles. "Everyone experienced it, except Charles Leavy. Charles Leavy didn't do it to anyone. That was strange. Charles Leavy could have made us all stand in a line, like Henno on a Friday morning, and kneed all our legs lifeless.

You desired to impress Charles Leavy, wanting to use profanity to gain his attention. It seems that Charles has a detachment from the real world compared to Paddy and other boys his age. Charles is distinct and fearless in his individuality. Paddy greatly admires him for this and also for his ability to separate himself from the hardships and troubles that Paddy undoubtedly endures, as Charles has become immune to such emotional suffering.

"I observed Charles Leavy closely, studying his every move. I mimicked the way he twitched and moved his shoulder. My aspiration was to emulate Charles Leavy in every way."

I aspired to be tough and daring. I longed to wear plastic sandals and stomp them firmly on the ground, challenging anyone who dared to gaze at me. Charles Leavy, on the other hand, exceeded even that level of audacity; he was oblivious to those around him. My ultimate goal was to reach that level of indifference.

I wanted to see my parents and not feel any emotions. I wanted to be prepared. By saying this, Paddy clearly indicates that he has undergone a significant change in his perception of his role models and friendships. Paddy looks up to Charles as his source of inspiration, someone who is able to detach himself from any feelings or concerns for others. He

believes that by becoming "ready" for the pain and rejection he anticipates in the future, he can survive on his own even as his relationships and friendships collapse.

The evolving relationship between Paddy and Charles Leavy as a role model illustrates Paddy's personal growth and his evolving coping strategies. In addition to Charles, Paddy's changing role models in the book include his father and Sinbad. Initially, Paddy holds his Da in high regard, but as he and his father undergo personal transformations, Paddy gradually becomes distanced from him. Initially, Paddy readily absorbs any information imparted by his Da.

He examines and contrasts his father's hands with his own, meticulously observing each detail. Additionally, he observes his father's body language and comprehends how his movements reflect his temperament and how he would interact with Paddy. For instance, "he occasionally welcomed these inquiries, while other times he didn't."

Paddy shows great admiration towards his Da by observing him sitting, folding his legs, and leaning to the side. Paddy constantly asks his father questions in hopes of receiving recognition and attention, seeking admiration. He also impresses his Da by fetching the paper for him every day. Although Paddy's conversations with his Da are initially short, it is not because his father is rejecting him. It is a combination of Paddy's young age and limited ability to engage in lengthy discussions, as well as the male reluctance to express emotions present in both Paddy and his Da.

Paddy's father consistently appears distant and cold towards him, however it is unlikely that he acts this way intentionally to push Paddy away. Nonetheless, Paddy perceives his father's behavior in this manner, which is why

he constantly seeks for his approval and attention. On page 25, Paddy recounts his desire for his father to lean closer and engage with him. This desire was not necessarily driven by a genuine interest in what his father had to say, but rather by the longing for his father's response and attention. This demonstrates Paddy's comprehension of his father's unpredictable demeanor and tendency to occasionally ignore his inquiries. Right from the beginning, it is evident that there exists some level of resentment towards his father due to this conduct. As the story progresses and their family dynamics change, particularly as Paddy matures, this resentment continues to intensify.

The text expresses criticism of Paddy's father, referred to as his Da, by Paddy and highlights the way his Da deals with situations and treats Paddy. Paddy notices that his Da doesn't pay attention to him, dismisses his comments, and continues reading, which makes Paddy feel hurt because he believes his Da is mocking him. Although Paddy's Da probably doesn't intend to offend him, Paddy is more observant than his Da realizes, and picks up on subtle criticisms or inside jokes. As the book progresses, Paddy grows older and his opinion of his Da changes, causing him to lose some of the admiration he once held for him during his childhood. On page 151, Paddy's Da's impatient side becomes apparent, leading Paddy to reject him – a contradiction to how he had previously idolized and revered his father at the beginning of the book.

Paddy's desire for independence is now apparent, indicating his growth as a character. He became even more irritated when he said, "You're not trying," and

forcefully pulled the bike away from me. At this point, I realized that I no longer required his assistance or support.

I didn't want him, but he was already gone back into the house. My father said, "You'll be grand now." I knew he was just lazy. Paddy is perceptive and knows his father well enough not to be deceived. This understanding of his father's temperament is shown again later in the book on page 202.

"He was sometimes good and sometimes useless, and there were occasions when it was clear that approaching him for any reason was out of the question. He had a dislike for distractions, a word he used frequently. Despite not being engaged in any specific activity, I understood that he considered himself distracted. I didn't mind most of the time, except on certain occasions." This illustrates Paddy's resentment towards his father's lack of attention, demonstrating that there were instances when he did mind and highlighting how his father's behavior affected Paddy negatively. Moreover, Paddy's father's inconsistent demeanor confuses him, leading to a loss of respect towards the end of the book. Paddy begins to question his father's actions and recognizes the selfish motives behind his neglectful treatment of both Paddy and his siblings. "He needed the weekends to regain his energy."

Sometimes, I doubted that was the sole reason for his avoidance, for how he retreated into his corner and refused to come out. At times, he was simply being cruel." Paddy can see through his father's justifications and I believe he himself recognizes it as his father rejecting him - disliking him - which is an unfair perception to impose on a

young boy. When Paddy's parents begin to argue, he seeks someone to blame - and since he views his mother as the more vulnerable and fragile figure - undoubtedly chooses to hold his father responsible for the breakup. As Paddy's parents' marriage falls apart, they struggle to navigate their relationship with Paddy and the other children, attempting to make life as manageable for them as possible by pretending nothing is wrong and nothing has occurred between them. However, the inner turmoil within the family has also transformed Paddy's parents personally - weakening their connection and interactions with one another, and even altering their individual behavior - changing their characters.

Paddy's mother is showing signs of increasing sadness and exhaustion, as described on page 221: "The way she got up when one of the girls was crying upstairs, sighed and stooped, wanting him to see that she was tired." Ma has lost her passion and drive, and as a result, she is losing the joy and liveliness that used to define her. This is causing a growing rift between Paddy and his father, as evident in this passage on page 244: "He was telling himself to do everything he did, I could see that, concentrating. His face was tight on one side and loose on the other."

He was friendly and greeted me with a grin whenever he had the chance to acknowledge my presence. However, he never actually said the words "They're" as he previously mentioned.

- Could you spell some words for me? I asked him, and he agreed to let me test his spelling abilities. He managed to correctly spell 8 out of 10 words given

to him. However, he struggled with the words "Aggravate" and "Rhythm." But that wasn't the main issue we were facing. Our family wasn't falling apart solely because my father was drinking excessively. It was because there was only a bottle of sherry in the house.

After thorough investigation, I noticed a consistent pattern. I conducted a search for lipstick marks on my father's collar, taking inspiration from the show "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." Surprisingly, there were none to be found. Paddy is trying to make sense of his parents' frequent arguments, speculating whether it's due to his father's drinking habits or possible infidelity. However, he is unable to pinpoint the exact cause. Additionally, Paddy becomes increasingly aware of the deceptive body language exhibited by his father, which he can now detect thanks to years of careful observation and admiration.

Paddy is becoming aware of his father's flaws and insincerity, including his two-faced nature and unpredictable mood swings. This newfound understanding represents Paddy's personal growth as he seeks to uncover the cause of his parents' separation rather than wallow in self-pity. The quoted statement also highlights the growing distance between Paddy and his father, as Paddy no longer idolizes him as he did at the beginning of the book. Paddy's father, by resorting to alcohol as a means of avoidance, fails to confront his marital issues and is no longer the reliable father figure Paddy once admired. Despite attempting to bridge the gap between them, Paddy's father is unsuccessful in his efforts.

Da appears to be feeling insecure around Paddy, pretending to have a relationship that Paddy knows is already broken and can never be the same as

before. Da has allowed the relationship to fall apart without realizing it, as he focuses on his own selfish needs and problems with Ma. Paddy has started to analyze his father instead of idolizing him as he did in the beginning; he now seeks to find faults in Da rather than seeing him as perfect. Da now feels like he has to be extra nice to Paddy in order to regain his respect, but he doesn't know how to act around him anymore. As Paddy grows up and toughens, he begins to reject Da and replaces him with the idea of being self-sufficient, which he learns from observing Charles Leavy's handling of indifferent situations. By the end of the book, Charles Leavy becomes Paddy's primary role model, taking over from Kevin and Da as Paddy enters adolescence. Paddy starts looking for more in a role model than just someone to admire and follow; instead, he seeks someone who can give him the confidence and inspiration to cope and fight alone.

Paddy wants to become like Charles Leavy, whom he views as "untouchable" and a role model. This is because he wants to be emotionally detached like Charles, in order to prepare himself for the future. Paddy knows that his parents will eventually separate, and when that happens, he believes he will have to take on the responsibility of dealing with the aftermath. By striving to be "beyond the ability to care," Paddy believes he will gain the strength needed to cope with this burden. When his father does leave their family, Paddy feels compelled to take care of and protect his mother, symbolizing a significant

shift in their relationship dynamics. This transformation demonstrates how much Paddy has matured since the beginning of the story, when his mother used to be the one to protect him. The closing paragraph of the book highlights the growing distance between Paddy and his father, as they engage in acts of artificial affection.

"- How are you?" He said, extending his hand. "How are you?" His hand felt cold, big, dry, and hard. "Very well thank you." Doyle employs the terms "cold" and "hard" to underscore the lack of affection between them. The portrayal of Da's hands attempts to mirror his disposition: cold, dry, and hard. They shake hands as a substitution for what would typically be a hug in a conventional family setting.

Both characters are unsure of how to proceed. Paddy's relationship with his Da has changed, causing a tense atmosphere. Paddy has taken on his father's role, answering the door while his mother stays in the kitchen. Throughout the play, Paddy has become more mature and is on the brink of adulthood. He has had to quickly grow up and is prepared to take responsibility and face the consequences after the separation.

Throughout the book, Paddy's relationships with Da and Kevin, as well as others in his life, fluctuate, mirroring the changes in his personality. Besides his father and brother, Paddy also has to care for his Ma and shield her from the inevitable suffering that follows her separation from Da. As the story progresses, Paddy's concern for his Ma intensifies. On page 214, he expresses his fear of thinking about her being sick and doesn't want to see her. He becomes increasingly worried

that she won't be downstairs when he wakes up, fearing something may have happened to her and that her illness isn't genuine.

He desires normalcy in his life, as routines that he cannot control are being disrupted. He hopes that his father will be the one to fall instead of his mother.

He was larger, and I didn't want it to be him either. This quote displays Paddy's natural urge to assist and shield his mother from being overwhelmed by grief and anxiety. He fervently wishes to prevent any harm from coming her way and acknowledges her fragility. This showcases Paddy's growth as an individual. Furthermore, Paddy's perspective on Sinbad and their relationship also evolves during the course of the novel. Initially, Paddy does not view Sinbad as an equal, and instead utilizes his influence over him to enhance his own image of strength and dominance in the presence of his friends.

Paddy is unkind to Sinbad and takes advantage of his older age and higher status to mock, manipulate, and provoke him. On page 14, Paddy says, "- They'll dust them for fingerprints, I told Sinbad. - And if they find your fingerprints on the matches they'll come and arrest you and put you in the Artane Boy's Band." Sinbad was skeptical at first but eventually started to believe me as well. I further remarked, "- They'll make you play the triangle because of your lips, I told him."

The quote, "His eyes went all wet; I hated him," portrays Paddy's initial lack of respect towards Sinbad, evident in various situations early in the book. Another instance occurs on page 65, where Paddy admits, "I loved getting him

into trouble. This way was the best. I could pretend I was helping." However, as the novel progresses and Paddy's relationships and role-models alter, his perception of Sinbad begins to change. During one incident, Paddy employs Sinbad as a means to confront their father, transitioning from teasing and tormenting his brother to attempting to 'protect' him. Paddy allies with Sinbad in a 'fight' against their father, fabricating lies to ensure Sinbad's victory. When Da questions the significance of their actions, Paddy responds, "Why was it great?"

Sinbad was caught off guard by a question that was unfair. Da addressed Sinbad and asked for an explanation. I replied simply, saying it was just the way it was. I then proceeded to inform Da that a student had fallen ill in his class.

Sinbad turned to me and Da, asking if what he heard was correct. I confirmed his question, and Da glanced at Sinbad, who immediately averted his gaze from me.

- Yeah," he said. "Da changed. It had worked... I'd won. I'd saved Sinbad."

Throughout the book, Paddy's compassion towards Sinbad increases. Paddy starts to view Sinbad more as a person than he did at the beginning. "Kevin got him and gave him a dead leg for not doing what we told him."

He was silently weeping, requiring me to observe his face to detect his tears, as acknowledged by Sinbad. As Sinbad closed his eyes, I felt compelled to discontinue addressing him as such.

At the end of the novel, H no longer resembled Sinbad the sailor. Paddy, who used to defeat him in fights, became scared by his behavior. This incident reveals Paddy's growth and maturity as he

starts considering and protecting his brother's emotions and rights. When Paddy asked if H liked being called Sinbad, he didn't respond immediately but was still awake. Paddy didn't want H to think he intended to harm him. Their conversation went as follows:

- Sinbad?

- Francis?

- What?

- Do you like being called Sinbad?

- No.

- Okay.

I remained silent for a moment. I could hear him shift and come closer to the wall. - Francis; - Can you perceive them? He didn't respond. - Can you perceive them? Francis? - Yes." This last quotation discovered towards the conclusion of the novel presents the stark contrast in Paddy's perception of Sinbad compared to the beginning of the story. Paddy now fully considers Sinbad's emotions - proceeds cautiously to choose the right words and address him as he wishes.

Paddy's shifting perspective towards Sinbad reveals his desire for friendship and a closer bond. As he inquires about their parents' argument, Paddy finds common ground to foster their relationship. These evolving thoughts on Sinbad demonstrate Paddy's maturing character. By the book's conclusion, Paddy's understanding has become more intricate, allowing him to know how to treat his brother and nurture their friendship. Additionally, Paddy recognizes the worrisome aspects of Sinbad's personality and feels a need to protect and care for him.

Sinbad's behavior shifts as he becomes more withdrawn and separates himself from Paddy. Unlike Paddy, Sinbad handles the challenges at home in a different manner, causing confusion for Paddy. On page 189, Paddy reflects, "I had to change how I referred to him. Sinbad no longer resembled Sinbad the sailor; his facial features appeared more gaunt. Although I still held physical superiority over him,

it didn't hold as much significance. Engaging in fights with him became frightening due to the way he retaliated."

Paddy used to enjoy bullying and dominating Sinbad, but now he is worried about his brother. Sinbad has become emotionally strong and is dealing with his struggles on his own. Paddy tries to connect with Sinbad, but Sinbad ignores any mention of their fights and pretends that everything is fine. This demonstrates Sinbad's unwillingness to acknowledge the problems at home. The extract from page 223 shows this: "-They've stopped," he said. "-They weren't."

He appeared both happy and nervous as he stated, "They'll do it again tomorrow." When told otherwise, he responded, "No, they won't. They were only discussing things." Sinbad attempts to ignore the world and its problems while Paddy tries to convince him otherwise. Paddy longs to discuss what is happening with someone, but Sinbad refuses to engage in conversation.

Sinbad's unwillingness to engage with Paddy may be due to longstanding bitterness towards his sibling. According to Francis, Sinbad expressed, "He had to acknowledge my existence. I was supposed to take care of him," while clutching the front of his pants.

- Why are you calling me Francis?" he said. "Cos Francis is your name," I said. His face said nothing. - "Leave me alone," he said.

Get an explanation on any task
Get unstuck with the help of our AI assistant in seconds