The Story of Tom Brenna by J. C Burke

You cannot alter the past. Only when individuals move on can they achieve happiness. Discuss this in relation to your understanding of The Story of Tom Brenna. The Story of Tom Brenna by J. C Burke is an honest novel, which follows a young man’s struggle to accept his past in order to move on. The car crash changed all the characters’ lives but taught them to become stronger and resilient people. This sometimes meant that they had to learn to forgive others and accept their past to move towards happiness.
They were forced to confront their pasts in order to eve on to their futures. Tom’s life is changed drastically when the car crashes. He has dug too deep into what he refers to as the ‘black hole’ and he loses the will to live: “Trying to shut down the bad thoughts that always surfaced and suffocated any hope I had of getting my life back. ” (pig. 1 5). He tries to get better by starting running as a way of releasing his stress and worry. Someone who was essential for Tom to move on was Daniel his brother: “Do you hate me, Tommy? …. ‘Daniel. ‘ I swallowed. ‘You’re my brother. (pig. 141) Although Daniel has done such a horrible thing Tom is not willing to give up on his brother. Another character that helps Tom conquer his past is his uncle Brendan. Brendan really gets Tom to open up and see the world from another point of view; this causes Tom to start talking: “You were hard ‘Mr. Have-a-chat’ when you arrived. Now I can’t shut you up. ” (pig 98) He moved on from his past and found happiness in himself and his life again.
He finds himself through his girlfriend Christy because when he’s with her all he is, is himself: “When I was with Christy I was me again. Simple Tom Brenna – no ties, no debt, no guilt, no bad thoughts. Just me, the way I had always known myself. ” (pig. 261 Although the road to peppiness was hard for Tom, his desire to help those around him saved him and his family: “But now I knew what I missed the most. I missed me, Tom Brenna, and that’s why now I could smile, cause I could see he was coming back. ” (pig. 61 ) After the crash, it seems like Tees herself fades and becomes little more than a shell. She becomes depressed and barely leaves her room. Her actions affect the whole family but mainly Tom and Kylie. Tom feels neglected and Kylie shuts down without the support of her mother. Once Tees realizes how much her children need her she tries to improve for them: “I’m sorry, Tommy… ‘m trying, I really am. I promise it’ll get better. “(pig. 216). This is an important part of her recovery and influences her children to improve to.

Another important part of the Test’s recovery is seeing Daniel and learning to accept the crash and his part in It: “Don’t… Don’t say that about him. ” (pig. 85). This proves that while she may dislike the fact that It was Daniels’s fault she still loves him and will always stand up for him. After Tees had recovered Tom forgets about what she was Like before and the family begins to move forward again: “It’s kind of hard to remember what she was like then” (pig. 265). We see now that it is not is able to move on after she learns to forgive her son Daniel and herself, this is when she can achieve happiness.
Daniel is responsible for the deaths of two people and paralyzing his cousin, this would be grueling, for anyone to come to terms with and Daniel struggles with it: “l f****d up everything. Everything. ” (pig. 140). He is fuming and cannot deal with the guilt; He does not believe he deserves to live. During his time in prison, he takes part in a peer support program which helps him begin to accept his past in order to move on: “And that was what Daniel needed the most – a kicked out of the past. “(pig. 143).
Daniel is assigned a mentor who acts as a counselor and he begins to accept that he messed up and needs to move forward from it: “l did, Tom, and that’s what I’m trying to get a handle on. “(pig. 214). Though Daniel struggles to accept the past and move on he tries his best to. Once he accomplishes this he is able to move on to a happy future much like another character achieves her happiness. Kylie cannot accept the fact that her family was associated with horrific events so she shut the whole world out, acting like nothing is wrong and she has moved on hen she clearly had not: “She’d become tough.
It was like I hardly knew her anymore” (pig. 29). Proving that Kylie had been ignoring everybody, although she tried her hardest to ignore the accident and move on from it she couldn’t accept it within herself: “She’s angry. This is her way of getting it out. I guess its better that way. ” (pig. 176) explaining that she was trying to accept it, but she kept shutting people out it became impossible for her to truly accept it. Until finally it became too much for her and broke down: “l don’t want to be Kylie Brenna. Kylie anyone, but not Kylie Brenna. ” (pig. 29) Tom really helps Kylie get back on track “It’s slow, but I can see ahead now if you know what I mean” (pig. 228) these show how strong their relationship is and that sometimes you have to rely on others to help you so that you can forgive yourself. In the Story of Tom Brenna, it tells a confronting tale about a family who has been greatly affected by a tragic car crash. It tells how each character recovered and learns to move on, through forgiveness, forgetting or acceptance. The characters must move on in order to gain happiness in their lives once more.

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