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The Golden Compass Essay Parts

The Broken Bridge: Forming Courage

Thesis: The juxtaposition Pullman creates between Iorek Byrnison and Farder Coram molds Lyra and develops the theme of courage in the work The Golden Compass.

Topic Sentence 1: Because Pullman contrasts Iorek’s blunt personality inferred from his direct approach to leadership, with Farder Coram’s subtle behavior surmised from his protective mentorship, he ascribes Lyra the traits of a critical thinker and a person who remains on guard because of the major influence they have on her.

Support 1: After Lyra mourns the death of Tony Makarios, the boy without a daemon, and before the gypsians go into battle, she sits down to talk to Iorek about what happened when she rescued him. Iorek describes to her, “‘I would have Polar Bear: Baby Iorekcrushed that man’s head like an egg. So much for strength,'” (Pullman 225). Because of the great power needed to take the step from breaking to crushing, Pullman uses the word “crushed” and Iorek’s casual approach to discussing the use of such force against a living thing to suggest Iorek’s strength and convey him as a blunt, instinctual brute. Pullman wishes Iorek to be viewed as a brutal speaker in order for Lyra to develop a stolid attitude toward misfortunes. Pullman develops Iorek’s strength as part of his voice to cut himself away from his instinctual crime and focus on instilling his method of acting directly on Lyra.

Support 2: While Lyra and Farder Coram talk to the witch consul about commissioning an armored bear, Lyra and Farder Coram display different reactions to the situation. Pullman describes this to us when he writes, “Lyra could hardly sit still. Farder Coram, however, knew the etiquette for [such] meetings,” (Pullman 172). Because the word “etiquette” connotes rules and acceptable behavior, Pullman ascribes Coram the responsibility of acting as the powerful, old wise man because he wishes to justify the knowledge Coram gives to Lyra, and the subtle clues on how to think through problems. Compared with Iorek, Farder Coram tries to protect Lyra from the outside world, while Iorek tries to show it to her so she knows how to deal with it. Coram teaches Lyra subtly how to remain isolated inside her heads and think, and Iorek teaches Lyra directly how to respond to the outside world, both acting vital toward her success.

Support 3: Before Lyra tries to manipulate Iofur Raknison and persuade him into fighting Iorek Byrnison, Lyra needs to think of a plan to trick the uncertain guards in order to get to him. In her attempt to trick the guards, Pullman expresses Lyra’s thoughts by saying, “the bears [were not] certain yet how to behave, and she could exploit this uncertainty,” (Pullman 335).  At the mention of the word “exploit”, it can be deduced that Lyra can use her words to manipulate, and respond to the situation of the bear’s uncertain leadership. Because of the affect Iorek and Coram have on Lyra, Pullman uses the word “exploit” to encompass the influence each of their teaching methods have on her reaction to obstacles. Coram’s subtle influence on thinking guides Lyra to finding a way to get out of the dungeon in Svalbard, and Iorek’s direct actions precipitated Lyra’s ability to persuade the guards into listening to her.
Topic Sentence 2: Through Lyra’s development as a focused leader, Pullman conveys the theme that courage develops through having an influence from elders because they have life experience to set the standard, and courage often becomes more powerful the longer the influence acts upon a person because humans naturally seek answers to lessons in order to improve.

Support 4: When Lyra assists Mrs. Coulter in preparing to travel north, she follows her around, meets new people, and remaining polite and quite. Pullman describes Lyra’s relationship with Mrs. Coulter by saying, “Lyra went everywhere…as if she were a daemon herself,” (Pullman 81). Pullman creates the connection between Lyra’s lackadaisical mood and the loyal companionship inferred by the word “daemon” to express her lack of freedom. Lyra has not yet seen any elders with enough experience to be looked up to, and she wanders down a path set by those in front of her, like a daemon. The path Lyra’s elders must lead her down must allow her to build a bridge courageously into a world she doesn’t know and overcome the fear of not taking the clean cut road.

Support 5: After Iorek decides he can no longer travel with Lyra because of the weak bridge ahead, she realizes how alone she really stands, and begins to deal with it. Pullman makes Lyra realize, “‘We might all die, whether I get to him or not,'” (Pullman 387). Having Lyra use the word “might” casually in reference to death, Pullman suggests her stolidity toward danger and finalizes her development of courage. The longer people can view other people’s actions, the more time they have to self reflect and change their attitude, which in turn, affects their behavior because, innately, human beings begin to devise plans to grow. Once humans have naturally changed their behavior, they have changed others attitudes, forever altering the mark of courage they leave on society for initiating such a cycle.

Image Credit: http://www.acbaptist.org/na/polarbear.jpg

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