Themes in 'Stuart: A Life Backwards' and 'Once in a House on Fire'

A series of cards about the themes in 'Stuart: A Life Backwards' and 'Once in a House on Fire', with links between texts and useful page numbers and events.

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Education:

Good Pages in Stuart:

 P21, P119, P195, P222, P230,

Good Pages in House on Fire:

P227, P230, P298, P300

Similarities:

  • Both are forced to move schools.
  • Both character's education is affected by they abuse they suffer.

Differences: 

  • Andrea uses education as an escape, whereas Stuart tries to escape a school he does not suit.
  • Stuart has a more wordly education, for example he knows a great deal about drugs and crime.
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Fatherhood:

Good Pages in Stuart:

P119, P125, P182, P202

Good Pages in House on Fire:

P3, P26, P160

Similarities:

  • Both Stuart and Andrea have turbulent realationships with their fathers.

Differences:

  • As a father, Stuart's relationship with his son reflects the relationship Stuart had with his own father, Rex. On the other hand, Ashworth is a much more responsible mother. 
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Disability:

Good Pages in Stuart:

P12, P195, P203, P223

Good Pages in House On Fire:

P60, P232

Similarities:

  • Both Staurt and Andrea attend schools with disabled pupils.

Differences

  • Andrea is not affected directly by dsability as Stuart is.
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Crime and Deviance

Good Pages in Stuart: 

P52, P115, P119, P143

Good Pages in House on Fire:

P208, P209, P319

Similarities:

  • Both Stuart and Andrea's parents show criminal behaviour.
  • Both Stuart and Andrea suffer injustice as a result of criminal behaviour.

Differences:

  • Andrea doesn't take part is criminal activities herself, whereas Stuart does.
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Abuse

Good Pages in Stuart: 

P119, P182-3, P207

Good Pages in House on Fire:

P11, P164, P324

Similarities:

  • Both suffer and witness abuse, especially towards women.
  • There is also drug and alcohol abuse in both texts, as well as self-harm.

Differences:

  • Stuart's abuse leads him to adopt abusive behaviour himself, whereas Andrea herself is never abusive.
  • Andrea escapes abuse, whereas abuse follows Stuart around throughout his whole life.
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Homelessness:

Good Pages for Stuart:

P2, P58, P210, P167

Good Pages for House on Fire:

P100, P324

Similarities:

  • Both Stuart and Laurie opt to become homeless to escape abuse.
  • Living arrangements affect both Stuart and Andrea's education and friendships.

Differences:

  • Andrea is never truly homeless, although she does move houses many times.
  • Stuart is eager to escape his home, whereas Andrea is more hesistant because she feels that she should stay to look after her family.
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Relationships:

Good Pages in Stuart:

P116, P163, P175, P202, P269, P285

Good Pages in House on Fire:

P8, P34, P163, P324

Similarities:

  • Both family and romantic relationships are turbulent in the two texts.
  • Both characters have some supportive relatives or friends to turn to - Stuart has Masters, whereas Andrea has her sisters and her aunties.

Differences:

  • Stuart has a good father figure (Paul), whereas Andrea's stepfathers are both abusive, so she is missing a father figure.
  • Stuart is abusive in relationshps, whereas Andrea is not. 
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Social Class:

Good Pages for Stuart: 

P25, P33, P64, P138

Good Pages for House on Fire:

P220, P244, P302

Similarities:

  • Both Stuart and Andrea's parents feel judged by social class.
  • Both characters portray conventional behaviour for their social class.

Differences:

  • As a child, Andrea is bullied for her social class, but Stuart is bullied only for his disability.
  • Andrea's social class becomes higher, whereas Stuart's social class becomes lower as he becomes homeless.
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Imprisonment:

Good Pages in Stuart: 

P112, P129, P191, P195, P231

Good Pages in House on Fire:

P209, P225, P231, P232

Similarities:

  • Both Stuart and Andrea feel imprisoned be their home life.
  • Both long for an escape from home life and abuse.

Differences:

  • Stuart is physically imprisoned, both by his disability and by prison, whereas Andrea is not.
  • Andrea escapes her imprisonment by leaving to study at Oxford, but Stuart's disbility means that he cannot escape imprisonment.
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Death:

Good Pages in Stuart: 

P6, P113, P126, P156, P254

Good Pages in House on Fire:

P1-2, P62, P225

Similarities:

  • Both Stuart and Andrea experience death in their family.
  • Both consider suicide and experience suicide in their families.

Differences:

  • Stuart's death is a main focus in 'Stuart: A Life Backwards', whereas the focus in 'Once in a House on Fire' is Andrea's escape from her home life, and her success.
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The System:

Good Pages in Stuart: 

P22, P138, P143

Good Pages in House on Fire:

P166, P207, P222

Similarities:

  • Both Stuart and Andrea (and her family) feel spied on by The System.
  • Both Stuart and Lorraine refuse help from The System.

Differences:

  • Stuart is more paranoid about The System than Andrea is.
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Comments

Laurah Roberts

Hey, did you make these yourself or could you recommend some websites? These are brilliant notes !! 

Rahima

Hey, these are really good have you got any practice mocks?!

RHI123

Brilliant notes , really useful and helpful 

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