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Novel Study Analytical Response
Throughout the entirety of the novel, the strong theme of family is a powerful influence on the actions of Carl Desmond Matt.

At the beginning of the novel family appears boldly as the main theme but as the book progresses it branches off into many concepts of the theme of family. Carl Desmond Matt wants nothing more than to be a recipient of the unconditional love and support that all families around him seem to hold, something he has never experienced once, something he is well overdue for at the ripe age of fifteen.

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Carl even directly refers to this in this quote on page 19 “Carl floated in a sea of families where everyone, it seemed, walked, spoke and laughed with at least one other – a daughter, a father, a mate.”
This positions the reader into a sympathetic state for Carl. The quote illustrates that Carl feels unnoticed, unloved, that he has never experienced the true feeling of family, this quote also paints the fact that Carl has never truly felt a bond between his family either.
This reveals to the reader that after fifteen years of his life, Carl has never felt the gentle love of a household, and that he feels unwanted, like an outcast because Carl has never had a safe haven, he has never truly felt the love of a supportive family. Carl’s actions and personality quirks that are monotonously apparent throughout the entirety of the novel including his shyness and loitering around the outskirts of the peer group also makes this theme fundamentally obvious because he has never truly felt it himself, the feeling of a true family, only the feeling of abandonment, neglect, confusion and hurt throughout his entire life.

The theme of family develops Carl’s actions throughout the book because he craves the safety of a family unit so terribly much, the want of his mother and sister, the want to be whole again. Thus, Carl expresses love to almost everyone that he meets hoping that one day he can become a member of a true family.

Therefore, throughout the novel consists the constant underlying theme of family right until the very end when Carl’s desire is finally fulfilled.

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