“By the river” by Steven Herrick is a verse novel book about a fourteen-year-old boy

“By the river” by Steven Herrick is a verse novel book about a fourteen-year-old boy, Harry Hodby living in a small town in Australia. His mother died when he was seven, his friend Linda has swept away in a flood and now his father and younger brother Keith, are left to sort out their lives. It is Harry’s dream to leave this town for a better life, but he knows that people who leave this town never come back and the only way to leave is to either die or leave in shame.
The book uses a poem layout to hook the reader in and uses other multiple techniques to describe the theme of the story, grief.
Greif was the main mood and key theme. It was also one of the most important things in the story. It highlighted the fact that Harry was distressed and scared after the loss of a loved one, his mum and Linda. There are multiple examples of Harry’s emotion of grief, for example, every time Herrick has a poem on the river were Linda and his mum died. The book “by the river” is based on Harry try to overcome the fact Linda and his mum are dead, but everytime he gets near the river

A good example of this poem being based on grief is when Herrick writes about the river. When the river is mentioned, Harry normally reflects of his mum or Linda as they were both people that Harry loved and cared for. The perfect example of this is in the poem “Pearce Swamp.”
“I take off my clothes
and place them,
folded,
on a rock.
I walk slowly into
the cold water
and swim to the middle.
A mild ripple
creases the surface
as I roll
on my back
and look up
through the red gums
to the cloudless sky.
My breath is slow in my ears.
It’s all I hear
as I float,
knowing
I’m alone
with the ghost
of the swamp,
somewhere
near the weeping willows.
No one visits this place,
except me
and the mysterious ring-bearer.
At school
Linda
would sit near the oval,
surrounded by girls.
They talked
of music,
and clothes,
and the secrets of the weekend,
until the rainstorm
drove them all indoors,
except Linda,
holding out her hands
to catch the heavy drops
that ran down her cheeks
like perfect tears.”
As you can see, when Herrick mentions water

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Another way that Steven Herrick shows us that this story is about grief was through his dad. Because his dad was the one affected by his mum’s loss, he chose to stay in the town