the Toad by Chris Corbett is written in a conversational
and light-hearted tone from the point of view of an overweight
and pimply high school male, and details the apparent triumph
of wit, charm and sincerity over hunky good looks and cool
behaviour, to win the heart of a beautiful girl.
plot seems straightforward. Boy meets, girl, boy falls
in love with girl. Girl rejects boy, boy finally wins girl.
Or so it seems. The protagonist, the main character, confides
(shares his doubts, fear and secrets) in the reader in
a relaxed and apparently frank (open, honest) manner. He
talks to us, as though is writing in a diary. It is as
though he is confiding in us, revealing a significant
aspect of his personal life. We discover however in this
convoluted (twisted and winding) narrative through the
protagonist's diary-like revelation, that what we have
been told by the narrator is not all true.
is manipulated by the author. Ultimately we are positioned
to understand that each of us has a preferred version of parts
of our life. Fantasy is better than reality. The world would
have us believe that there is justice; that, like in Shrek,
you don't need to be hunky to win the beautiful Princess.
However, the truth for the writer is that you do.
And we need to lie (to ourselves), or fantasise at least,
sometimes to deal with the harshness of reality.
as possessing depth in its examination of the marginalised
teen psyche, Kissing the Toad has a complex
narrative structure and subtlety of theme.
the plot seems straight forward, the protagonist's narration
is not chronological. His story does not begin a the beginning,
proceeding in chronological order through a series of events
and concluding with the last event. There is no triangular
plot diagram of rising action from an established setting
moving toards a straightforward climax.
discover our narrator is unreliable. Only at the end do
we find that we have been deceived, toyed with. The "sting-in-the-tail"
or twist to the story is that the Toad never did kiss Dianne
or roll around on the floor with their "legs entwined".
final scene has the Toad walking down the street to a
chorus of dogs yowling, laughing at him
are the most significant narrative techniques (narrative strategies
/ fiction techniques) which engage the reader? Well, to answer
this in an exam essay you need to discuss your own
response. What did it for you?
writer is telling or recalling these incidents from some
future point. The opening is a flashback from this point
in the future to the Toad waiting in Diane's room while
she showers. On page 5 the protagonist talks about "all those afternoons
and evenings" from some point in the future again. It
is as though he is telling us a story about his past, an
anecdote. He returns to the narrative. From time-to-time
he comments about himself, interjecting into his own story,
moving from present to past.
page 7 the Toad flashes back even further to the kissing the
toad episode. From this point the narrative is updated chronologically,
bringing the reader up to the point in time where the Toad
is watiing for Diane in the shower. We then realize as the
protagonist updates his tale that the incident at the commencement
of the story never actually happened. The climax comes, I
believe, around about the point where the protagonist reveals
that it was dumb to even think about wanting to be involved
Corbett's style is a significant engaging element in this
story. Under 'style' we can include descriptive language,
colloquial language, dialogue re-creating everyday speech, "teentalk" or
the words a teenager would use to construct character ands
so forth. There is a great deal of evidence here to argue
for the role of the writer's style in engaging the reader
in the character and the action.
what point is dialogue a factor when this is one element of
characterisation; ie how character is revealed through what
(and how) a character says? Whatever the answer, character
is a significant engaging element in this story. What sort
of person is the Toad? How is this revealed by Corbett? The
character is very cleverly constructed. Do we find him sympathetic.
Obviously some may and some may not.
1 KTT : Identify those narrative elements
which most significantly engage you in the
story, AND PROVIDE EVIDENCE.
most important aspect of your essay, apart from addressing
the question itself
and not wandering off, is to suppport your argument with
substance from your stories.
: You may have already identified a dilemma in this activity.
You will be required to write about TWO short stories. How
do you adequately deal with each story while providing evidence
for both, as wellas develop a sound essay response to the
question.? Great question!
I haven't got the answer. That is your task. Know your quotes.
Work out what your evidence is. Your argument and capacity
as an essay writer which you will develop over time, is to
weave your responses to two texts and your argument,
into one cohesive essay response.
task is to find what engages you and analyse how the author
as grabbed you, supported by evidence.