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By Angela Gotzamanis, 2006 2:56 minutes

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Angela describes her childhood growing up in a broken home, what she has learnt and how she has moved on.

Collection Western Stories: Expressions for the Future

How do we recognise destructive patterns?

Angela establishes the climate of her childhood from the opening of her story: “My life since I can remember has consisted of chaos, jealousy, violence, anger and fear.” Her words are very powerful and evocative. 

  • How would you describe the environment of your childhood in five adjectives?

“I look back on my life and I see it as a soccer game. Team Mum and Team Dad, and then there was me, the ball – after all, there’s no game without the ball.”
Angela uses a very effective metaphor, a soccer game, to describe the relationships in her family. She does not need to go into detail about her specific experiences because the audience can imagine her vulnerability, like a ball being played by two adversaries.

  • What might Angela’s experiences have been as ‘the ball’?
  • Why is the ball metaphor so appropriate?

When Angela begins to understand her position, she uses the soccer game metaphor in a different way.

  • What positive analogies does she draw?
  • In small groups, create your own metaphors to represent different families. They could be metaphors for families you know or families from films, sitcoms, reality TV shows, cartoons or soapies. Create ten different family metaphors.

“There I was on a field of lies and deceit. I was used as a weapon of winning instead of how a young child should have been raised.”

  • How should a young child be raised? As a class, create a list of ideal requirements in raising a child. Prioritise this list.

Not only is Angela’s use of metaphor highly evocative in telling her story, her choice of sound and music is also effective. Watch the story again and pay attention to her use of sound and music. 

  • How does the music relate to the narrative?
  • How does the music affect the mood of the story?

Young children often perceive situations very differently to adults. Angela began to understand the relationships around her and her role in the family as she grew up. 

  • How did Angela become empowered as she grew up?
  • Angela dedicated her story to her dad: “You’re a top bloke!” she adds. Why do you think Angela dedicated this story to her dad?

Research – marriage in the Australian context

  • What is the current incidence of marriage break-up in Australia?
  • How has this changed over time?
  • What legislation influenced the increase of marriage break-ups in the 1970s?