More Than Just the Disease by Bernard MacLaverty

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More than just the disease by Bernard MacLaverty ‘More than just the disease’ by Bernard MacLaverty, focuses on a young boy, Neil who has a skin condition called psoriasis. This disease makes Neil feel insecure and his mother’s attitude towards him also does not help, she is almost ashamed of her sons condition and this makes Neil feel that he has hide the fact that he has psoriasis. Neil feels the pressure when he goes to stay with his friend Michael, and his family, and faces situations where people may find out about his condition. These experiences help mature and develop Neil as a character and help him face up to his psoriasis. At the beginning of the story, MacLaverty establishes how dependent Neil is of his mother. When Neil is unpacking his case he hears his mothers voice. “Be tidy at all times, the no one can surprise you” We see here, that Neil’s mother has a huge influence on him and the writer uses italics to show the reoccurring voice inside Neil’s head. MacLaverti also tries to put the point across that Neil sees the world through his mother’s eyes and he has to seek his mum’s advice on everything he does. As Neil is from a working lower-class family, he feels self-conscience around his friend’s upper middle-class family as he feels he cannot talk to them about his condition. Neil’s mother’s attitude towards his psoriasis has also had an effect on Neil and has made him feel he has to be secretive about his disease. Once his psoriasis has crept passed his collar line that his mum kept him off school. That perhaps suggests that not only is Neil ashamed of his psoriasis, but his mother is also and she too would prefer it if no one knew about his condition. In a way, she has transferred... ... middle of paper ... ...ymbolism of Neil’s life and the sea come into place as Neil stays in the shallows of the water, so too are the shallow steps he has taken into life. But MacLaverty makes us establish that this is the first time Neil has ever showed any of his body and therefore we should take an understanding point of view that at least it is a start for him. Again, a contrast with Michael is developed, as he is swimming into the deep end, and MacLaverty also makes this represent his life as he is fully stepped into it, is independent of him. Therefore, MacLaverty starts with a totally nieve, easily influenced character of Neil and transforms him into a more matured, at ease with himself character. The story left me feeling hope for the character of Neil that hopefully he will one day fully step into life and not care about how people will judge him, upon his psoriasis.

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