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guide complements the study of the novel Tyger, Tyger by Michael
Hyde. The guide offers a selection of activities to help students
form an understanding of the issues and themes of the novel.
It is divided into eight sections and concludes with a list
of essay topics.
Tyger, written by Michael Hyde, is the story of a
promising young footballer named Johnny Carbone. Johnny
is blessed with talent and athletic ability, and at 17 is playing
senior football for his local team, the Ballantyne Tigers. The
novel begins with Johnny struggling to fulfill expectations:
he has all the elements, but just 'can't seem to put it altogether.'
Hyde employs a first person narrative, and has Johnny tell his
own story. Johnny's narrative is complemented by articles on
the games from the local newspaper, written by his best friend,
the enigmatic Morrison. The story is told in chronological order
and examines an intense ten-week period in Johnny's life where
he falls in love, reconciles the death of his father, and comes
to terms with his footballing talent. The novel is predominantly
set in the inner city suburb of Ballantyne and Johnny's world
involves two key locations, the local football club and the
house he shares with his supportive mother, Angela. However,
perhaps the most important part of the story takes place in
rural Tasmania, in and around the house and farm of Johnny's
Italian grandparents. Importantly, this is also the site of
Johnny's father's death in a motorcycle accident a decade earlier.
All three locations share a sense of warmth, and Johnny receives
critical support from a number of characters throughout the
novel. One of the most impressive elements of the novel is the
way Hyde captures the sense of community surrounding the football
club, with its convincing array of colourful and affectionate
Keep a reading journal while you read the novel. Write a short
entry for every chapter, and for each entry include the following:
short summary (1-2 lines)
personal comment (3-4 lines)
felt like the weight of the world was on your shoulders -
rock hard and heavy as death? (p. 9)
first chapter of a novel is always critical: it introduces the
plot and the characters, but more importantly sets the tone
(feel) of the story; and it's the tone more than anything else
that influences your decision whether to keep reading the book,
or return it to the library.
the first chapter, Hyde:
the two most important conflicts of the novel: Johnny's form
slump and Johnny still not coming to terms with his father's
the tone with some effective use of symbol and imagery.
a strong example of his writing style with frank and robust
Find two quotes in the first chapter relating to each of the
memory of Sam Carbone (father)
and robust dialogue
a conversation between Sam Carbone and Bernie Crow when they
were both playing for the Ballantyne Tigers more than a decade
earlier. The conversation doesn't have to be about football,
but just a typical exchange the two would have shared. Look
at Bernie's words in Chapter 1 as a guide. You'll have to be
more imaginative with Sam. (200 words)
lays a tackle on Batty like a wrecking ball, footy breaks
free, Lensky, the Tige's oldest player, charges at the play,
collecting the ball on the way through, bounces once, steers
his way around center circle and kicks to Mitchell, who marks
the ball. (p. 18)
newspaper column, Passage of Play introduces the slightly odd
character of Morrison. It also serves the function of bringing
the reader closer to the action on the football field. It seems
that the idea here is to paint pictures with word, in much the
same way as sporting commentators do on radio, and to a less
extent on television.
a sporting event either live or on television and try commentating
a 5-10 minute 'passage of play'. The sport doesn't have to be
football, but keep in mind that different sports require different
styles of commentary. Cricket, for example is slower and requires
more padding. Sports like basketball, netball, hockey and soccer
will have similar demands to football.
the your commentary onto audio tape so that you can play it
back for your teacher and the rest of the class. You will probably
have to practice this several times before you end up with something
you are happy with.
alternative idea is to use a video camera (the school should
have one you can borrow if you don't have your own) and record
a local or school game while you commentate on the action, allowing
you to show both the game and commentary to the class. You may
need a friend to record the play while you commentate.
a lunge the animal crashes into a thick patch of grass and reeds.
There's panic, a scurried last moment, then a screech that cracks
the night sky. The beast, still at last, raises its head and
opens wide its jaws, still dripping with flesh and blood. (p.
how many times have you had this dream?" (p. 29)
there's no formula for analysing [dreams].
You know if you've had an important one but what it means is
up to you."
Carefully read the details of Johnny's dream on pp. 27-28, and
analyse what you think the dream means. (100-200 words)
Write down the details of one of your own dreams, it could be
a dream you have repeatedly, or even a dream you have once only.
It helps to have a pen and paper next to bed so that you can
write down the details of your dream when you wake up and the
dream is still fresh. (200-300 words)
Then analyse what you think your dream means. You may wish to
consult a dream guide, ask your teacher or librarian to organize
this for you. Or if you are particularly keen you can consult
a dream interpreter; they sometimes appear on radio, otherwise
you can look them up in the yellow pages. (100-200 words)
not sure what episode Morrison and I were up to in the great
classic, Katherine - Birth of an Absolute Babe. All I know is
that any time and any place was good enough to talk about our
female trainer. I saw her heaps, but Morrison used to come down
to the rooms to get a quote for his column. It was amazing how
often Katherine was quoted. (p. 23)
Carbone is the hero of the novel. He narrates the story and
dominates the plot. Furthermore, the other characters in the
novel seem to exist solely to support Johnny overcome his football
troubles. Johnny is a likeable young man and somewhat unaffected
by his reputation as 'gun' footballer. To his credit, Hyde has
made his character a little different from the stereotypical
footballer type. Johnny appears to be sensitive, open minded
and even socially progressive. He has a strong relationship
with Angela, his mother, and her influence has clearly had a
positive affect on Johnny's character.
has created two other positive young characters: Johnny's best
friend Morrison; and Katherine, first Johnny's trainer and then
also his girlfriend. Morrison is not sporting and a little odd,
yet he has a way with women, a talent with words, and real 'feel
for the game' of football. Morrison writes article about the
games for the local newspaper and whilst he often documents
Johnny's successes, he is not afraid to also document his failures,
and even asks, 'Will the real Johnny Carbone please stand up?'
Like Johnny, Morrison is a talented and impressive young man.
Abandoned by his parents, Morrison lives with his grandmother,
and whilst that's not always easy, Morrison seems have a deep
love for her. Again like Johnny, Morrison has difficulty coming
to terms with having a missing father. Katherine has an important
role at the football club as the trainer. She is 18 and attractive,
knows the game and is respected for her work. She is also Johnny's
dream girl and seemingly off limits as she's the coach's niece.
However she shows that she is a confident and independent young
woman and it is she who engineers the romantic connection with
our shy and nervous hero.
character profiles for Johnny, Morrison, and Katherine. Include
the following categories:
Five dream dinner guests
Favourite holiday destination
Favourite item of clothing
the wall was a framed photo of Charlie holding the Premiership
Trophy. (p. 49)
Charlie's Guernsey from the old days was a dusty brown, with
a couple of thin, dark stripes going across the jumper. I'd
seen photos of them but never for real. (p. 50)
. . . burning bright
In the forests of the night
What . . . immortal hand or eye
Dare frame . . . thy fearful . . . symmetry. (p. 118)
the standout character is Charlie, the former club legend who
is now old and dying. Charlie is a founding member of the club
and his knowledge and wisdom helps Johnny connect with his dreaming.
For Johnny has a series of dreams during the first part of the
novel where more details are revealed with each dream. The dream
involves thick forest and an unknown animal, a predator of some
kind. After seeing photographs of Charlie in the Tasmanian bush
and hearing a critical story, Johnny finally realises that the
animal in the dream is the extinct Tasmanian tiger, the 'Tyger,
Tyger' of the title.
Hyde's previous novel Max, Tyger Tyger has a strong spiritual
element. The character Charlie acts as messenger who helps Johnny
confront past trauma and connect with his dreaming. Johnny's
experiences in Tasmania provide him with a sense of calm and
balance, which results in dramatic improvement on the football
Farrell was dead. (p. 167)
dies at the end of Chapter 17, the funeral and wake are described
in Chapter 18. Piece together information about Charlie's life
and write an obituary for The Changing Times about the former
club legend. (200-300 words)
obituary is, 'a notice of the death of a person, often with
a brief biographical sketch, as in a newspaper.' (The Maquarie
Dictionary) You can find obituaries in any daily newspaper,
and should read a few before you begin in order to get a stronger
understanding of the style of writing required. You will find
information about Charlie in Chapters 5, 12 and 18.
. . . burning bright
In the forests of the night
What . . . immortal hand or eye
Dare frame . . . thy fearful . . . symmetry. (p. 118)
the poem 'The Tyger' (1794) by William Blake. Hyde has drawn
on this poem for the title of his novel and also quotes it on
p.118 and then again on p.171. The poem appears to take on the
qualities of a mantra, and becomes a source of strength and
inspiration for Johnny. Even though Hyde is mixing his religions
here, he seems to be drawing a link between spirituality ('immortal
hand') and achievement, specifically achievement in sport.
Find out what inspired Blake to write this famous poem.
b) Explain what you think the poem is about.
c) Explain how the poem might relate to the novel.
made my blood run cold, my bones ache with fear and my flesh
turn to jelly. (p. 153)
Chapter 17 Johnny gets lost in the bush and is forced to spend
the night there huddled under some leaves and branches. During
this time he has two important visions. He sees a rock pool
and a Tasmanian tiger, reminding him of his earlier dream:
breeze blew up the gully and rippled the water. I put my hand
to my cheek and as I did my dream came rushing back to me.
Johnny sees the incident (accident) that led to father's death:
then for some reason - a rock, a shadow, something,
it's impossible to tell - he brakes and the back wheel begins
to slide out. (p. 162)
remains composed despite these disturbing images and in the
morning calmly finds his way out of the bush. This inadvertent
adventure proves critical for Johnny as he finally comes to
terms with the death of his father, and he does this by discovering
his dreaming - the 'weight of the world' that has been puzzling
him from the very start of the novel.
n 1. an Aboriginal's awareness and knowledge of the dreamtime
2. the Dreaming, ®Dreamtime. [from the Aboriginal notion
that in a dreaming state one is receptive to this form of awareness]
(The Maquarie Dictionary)
Chapter 17 carefully and then make a collage representing Johnny's
night in the bush. Remember to note the images and thoughts
in Johnny's mind as well as the physical environment he gets
himself trapped in.
task: If you are a confident at drawing you might like to draw
a montage instead.
looked up the gully. I had all this energy in me; I breathed
easily, my leg felt strong. I don't know why I was so
in a way, calm. It like a feeling you sometimes have on the
footy field - although I hadn't had that experience for some
time. (p. 157)
out more about the dreaming and explain how it relates to Johnny's
problems in Tyger, Tyger. How does the vision of the
Tasmanian tiger help Johnny recapture his form? (300 words)
Charlie started the club, we were the Tassie Tigers. Not Indian
tigers. Not African tigers. Thylacines - and thylacines are
more like wolves. They track and hunt like 'em. They work
at it. They're patient. They look for the angle, the opening
and when the smallest chance appears, they make no mistake
about it. They lunge and finish the job off in no uncertain
manner . . .
I guess I'm saying we're the Tassie Tigers, coach. We're the
Ballantyne Tassie Tigers." (p. 187)
that the Ballantyne Tigers have become the Ballantyne Tassie
Tigers, they will need a new logo, so design and draw the new
logo for the Ballantyne Tassie Tigers Football Club.
look at logos for other sporting teams to help get ideas for
play on. Play on - and Carbone is down in the mud scabbling
around for the ball with a hundred other players, with time
ticking away and twenty metres out from the thylacine's goal.
A knee collects Carbone in the side of the face, looks like
he's seeing stars
staggers, gets to his feet, sees
the ball falling from a tackle, into his waiting arms, facing
away from goal, Johnny Carbone twists his body and slams the
footy onto his right boot. It goes throught the middle, right
through-the-middle. Between the posts like a skull split in
two. (p. 190)
returns, plays the last game, recaptures something like his
best form, and scores the winning goal to put Ballantyne into
next for Johnny Carbone?
do the team perform in the finals?
does Johnny perform in the finals?
he get drafted in the AFL?
about his relationship with Katherine?
friendship with Morrison?
and Dave Richards?
what will happen to Johnny Carbone (and those around him) over
the next 5-8 years. (300 words)
You may like to draw on the material you've put down for Task
night lost in the bush proves the turning point in the novel,
as it is here that Johnny finally discovers how he might just
'put it all together'. Discuss.
Even at the lowest point of his form slump, Johnny can count
himself lucky on account of the support and guidance he receives
from those around him. Discuss
Tyger shows that sport is '90% mental and 10% physical'. Discuss.
Sam Carbone dies well before the beginning of the story, and
never appears in novel directly, he still looms as one of
the most important characters. Discuss.
Tyger is about young men growing up; the symbols that guide
our lives; fathers and sons; and the poetry of sport.' Discuss
a study guide by