Ricky Kotecha 9PM
The book I am going to be writing about is called Dr Franklins Island by Ann Halam. The book is about 3 kids, Semirah (Semi), Miranda and Arnie. They won a science competition by Planet Savers to go to Quito. During the journey on the plane, the plane crashed and only Semi, Miranda and Arnie survived. They ended up on the island where they were about to be the next victims of genetic engineering because of two evil scientists called Dr Skinner and Dr Franklin.
Key themes that are brought in this book is having evil scientists that always have a new plan on their mind and are always up to something. It is also about stranded survivors that have to save their lives from these evil scientists or else their life is fatal. Lastly the story has a little on the good side, this meaning that not all aspects in the book are bad and there are good times when Dr Skinner tries to help Semi and Miranda not be killed, because he has a slight sensitivity towards children who are about to suffer and is not just a bad person but does have a good side unlike Dr Franklin.
Characters in the book
- Semi: In this book Semi is a chubby girl (but not fat).She is a shy girl. I know this because it says “Hold on Semirah, what if you win, you know you are shy”. Her actual name is Semirah but her nickname is Semi. She is quite an intelligent girl and is mostly is like a nerd. She wears glasses and gets called names like “Semi the semi-sighted” She loves homework especially science as you can tell from reading the story. She has a brother. She isn’t a talkative person because she is shy, but when she gets along with someone she does talk. She doesn’t have many friends just the odd one or two partly why she doesn’t talk much. As the story progresses she makes friends mainly with Miranda but also Arnie.
- Arnie: Arnie is a fragile person to Semi and Miranda but he can get annoying after a while when he gets impatient and starts imitating and calling names like “Semi the semi-sighted” and after a while it does get annoying. Arnie is a fat and chubby person who loves to play on the game boy and is a game boy fan. He is a shy person in the beginning but does talk confidently once the conversation has broadened and talks as if he was talking to a friend.
- Miranda: Miranda in this book is the “very cool girl” and is the coolest of them all. She has “dark black hair and long brown legs” she is an extremely confident girl compared to the rest and is hardly scared of anything. She is also a determined person as always wants to do something or the other.
Miranda, Semi and Arnie ended up together on the island together by when the plane crash occurred they all fell into the water, most children died but Semi, Miranda and Arnie saw the island near by and while trying to get to it Miranda and Semi saw each other and helped each other to get to the island. For Arnie he helped himself to get to the island and then he met Semi and Miranda on the beach.
Miranda and Semi when they had met they did interact well with each other and got on well. This I know because from the start when they first met not on the beach but in the airport there was no problems like not talking well, or not liking each other, or don’t want to be friends. They also interacted well because they listened to each others ideas and always compromised except the one or two odd arguments like when Semi says “Great, my worst nightmare, being on a stranded beach with out any books to read” Miranda replied saying “Yeah I know, but at least there are some people to talk to”. These quotes from the book symbolise that there was no problems between Semi and Miranda.
This is a preview of the whole essay
Arnie didn’t get on well with Miranda right from the start at the airport. It says “I had the impression that Arnie and Miranda hadn’t been getting on well with each other” This quote says it all. It shows that Miranda and Arnie’s interaction amongst them wasn’t good and didn’t seem to get better during the whole story.
As for Arnie and Semi through out the story there were no problems except for the few arguments. When ever they interact well and are getting on Arnie will always ruin it by imitating or doing something silly. On the first day Arnie didn’t say much because he was scared and didn’t want to fool around and get them all lost and he will have to feel guilty about it. He only answered one question which was if he had a watch. Semi had a bashed knee from the swimming to the island and wanted to take her first day easy because she was finding it hard to walk. She wanted to get a nice clean shower, relax for a while and think what they should do next. As for Miranda she wanted to explore the whole place in her first day and wanted to find out more of where they were, and if she could explore something that no man kind has discovered before in history. On the first day they found food which was “coconuts from the coconut palms” they found water which was “the clear pond” and they also found a rucksack of a girl called Sophie Merrit who must have died in the violent sea or could be in one of the life rafts.. She had a rucksack contained just “tampons”. They also found a rucksack containing “a hat, a drinking glass, a seat cover, and a pair of shoes”. Lastly on their first day they found a dead body of a boy called Neil Cannon the Planet Savers TV Presenter.
Positive experiences they had on their first day were that they kept calm and cool about everything. They didn’t hesitate on what they were doing or on what they are going to do next. They felt a little scared but they treated the day as a normal day and that they treated it as though they could live with it.
On the third day there was a plane which they had thought was a rescue plane but instead it just flew past giving no notice of them. Semi, Miranda and Arnie thought that the plane did notice them but couldn’t inform them that they knew. On the third day they also found a machete which they used to do notches on the coconut trees showing how many days they have been there for.
On the fourth day they built their shelter. It wasn’t sturdy but it did do for the time being. They had a problem with it as well which was that a snake had got in it but they did sort it by chopping it into two halves.
On day five it poured down with rain. It was so much that the plane wreck couldn’t be seen. It seemed to have disappeared, maybe it was a sign to them they thought.
On day six all the plane food was ruined by ants getting inside it, but it was going off anyway so it wasn’t a big problem to them because they also had coconuts to eat. Day six was an exciting day for them because they found wild bananas meaning that there could be many more exotic fruits around like mangos and papayas.
On day seven nothing really happened because there wasn’t much to do except from Arnie making his new song about Semi and Miranda called “Prisoners in Paradise”.
On day eight it was a weird day because Miranda stabbed an octopus with a pocket knife which was very precious because they needed that as a small back up knife instead of the machete which is too long and cannot do small jobs. The octopus retaliated by running away and soon after couldn’t go too far and Miranda got her knife back but not the octopus’s life
On day ten Arnie said that he had finished making his raft but Semi and Miranda had complaints that the raft is not strong enough and wouldn’t take them far. Even though it wasn’t good it was quite expensive because most of their equipment was used up like the “salvaged fishing twine, the palm branches, the stored expedition rations, the coconut shell and he wrecked the reef sandals. But they still tried it out. They went to they sea and put it in the shallow end. It was perfect for a while until a wave came and it tipped upside down and all the hopes went.
On day eleven Miranda and Semi went foraging leaving Arnie behind because he was with the dead body of Neil Cannon and hardly ever leaves him. Semi and Miranda took fresh water in coconut shells, some sticks; one rucksack and netting bag just in case something did supposedly happen. On their way they found something that no one would have ever thought of in a million guesses. It was a piglet. It was no ordinary piglet. It was a piglet with human hands. They didn’t go any further after seeing the piglet with human hands and instead headed back. Once they reached the beach another an even bigger problem occurred. Where was Arnie? He had gone and so had the raft. They knew he wouldn’t have left without taking Semi and Miranda. That meant that there could be people around that took Arnie away or unless Arnie went foraging but just without telling anyone since they weren’t there and that it was his type of character to do something silly like that. But no, he hadn’t come till night fall. Miranda and Semi couldn’t stand any longer and they thought that he could be joking. So they went to sleep assuming that he would have arrived by daylight. In the morning they woke up and there was no sign of Arnie. This was the time they started worrying.
Through out these experiences they had they did cope well with everything except for Arnie being missing. Also from these experiences they had you can tell that Semi is scared more than anyone about where she is and what to do next and she is scared about everything that they do. She also cares about Arnie and Miranda. Arnie doesn’t do much except stay with the dead body of Neil Cannon. Apart from that he is also scared but not as much as Semi because he hasn’t seen as much as Semi and Miranda. As for Miranda she says she isn’t scared but she is scared because when she saw the piglet she also wanted to go back because she was scared of what is next. Also she does worry about Semi and Arnie because when Arnie got lost she was curious about where he had gone not just because if something happens to her but also that if Arnie is okay and he is not injured or lost.
Negative experiences they had, was on the thirteenth day Semi’s life was nearly gone. She had got out on a small cliff reaching out for this blob which she thought was Arnie. While reaching she saw something big getting closer to her which was a shark and she was lucky enough to dodge and get out of the way and she just missed it. Around thirty days after this incident another thing happened. They had left aside looking for Arnie and went trekking with all their food and equipment and on their way they found a machete which was Arnie’s. A few metres ahead was a hole. That was where Arnie must have presumably gone leaving the machete behind so in case they found it like they did they knew what direction he was in. Miranda and Semi thought that they were saved because if Arnie had gone and not returned he must have been saved. So Semi and Miranda went into the hole and got to the other side when a jeep pulled over and twelve guys came out and grabbed them and took them away. Semi’s and Miranda’s relationship gets closer because Arnie isn’t there to but in their conversation. Also their relationship gets closer because when they talk their conversation always matures and they talk about them selves and you understand more about them. Like it says “Miranda told me about her both parents being anthropologists” and “I told her about my Great-Grandmothers farm in Jamaica, which is the place I love most on Earth, and my aunts, really my great aunts who never got married and don’t like children underfoot which means that when we go on holiday my brother and I would run absolutely wild. Also it says “I told you about me being shy” and “We talked about sex and romance and life and Earth. This tells us a lot about themselves and how much they have bonded since they first met and since Arnie has disappeared.
The next day Miranda and Semi woke up in a hospital. After a doctor walked in and consulted them. He had a look on his face which didn’t give a good first impression. The look he had to them was as if he had a plan up his sleeve and ready to use it at any moment. Dr Franklin wasn’t a good person because he changed humans into animals like the piglet with human hands and that is not a human like thing. Also Dr Franklin didn’t seem an ordinary person because he took humans into an animal hospital which doesn’t seem right, and Dr Franklin always had a plan on his mind and when ever one of his plans went wrong he always had a back-up plan. Dr Franklin plans to make Semi and Miranda into transgenics which is to insert different genes, or parts of genes, into chromosomes in a cell and they get the cell to accept them and then they make them work which produces and develops the plant or animal.
During their transformation they were very worried about how they were going to communicate because it said “I tried calling and calling to you but you never answered. I thought I was a dumb animal”. But soon after they realised that they had this place called the white place where they can switch switches to communicate with each other in a radio telepathic way. But they didn’t talk and communicate as normal just in case Dr Franklin and Dr Skinner was over hearing through a transmitter connected to there micro chip in their brain. But they were still happy that they could still communicate a little.
Later on after a few days they discover that Arnie is alive by when they went into there white place Arnie appeared. There first thought was that they were happy that he was alive and not dead but also they didn’t like him because it says “Do I have to talk to that porky dorky Arnie? Arnie’s character had changed by he didn't seem normal. It says “why are you talking like that Arnie? Meaning that he is talking weird compared to before when he used to act silly and imitate. Arnie hadn’t become transgenic yet which was also weird. He seemed to be working for Dr Franklin and trying to get information of Semi and Miranda.
On day one hundred and two Semi and Miranda planned to escape. There escape plan was with the help of Dr Skinner. The plan was that since Semi had been taking an antidote to transform her back into a human she would be able to swim. Firstly she had to swim as a fish (not a human yet) into a pipe hole in the pool she was in leading her to the other side of the private island owned by Dr Franklin. Once she was through she swam in the sea. While she was in the sea she suddenly changed into a human. She then reached the jetty where Dr Franklin was meant to be. But he wasn’t there. It was Dr Franklin. He grabbed her and took her inside. He told her to go to the white place and call Miranda. She didn’t do it until she was forced to. Then they all went outside with the orderlies waiting to see Miranda. Miranda did turn up but disappeared. They all wondered where she went. She went to open all the cages of all the other animals kept as transgenics. She then returned but by that time all the animals made a stampede that Dr Franklin and the orderlies had not bothered about Miranda but were bothered about preventing the animals from escaping. But there was no chance. Semi escaped while this all happened and went into the buildings and went into one of the labs to get antidotes for Miranda. While looking she found Arnie’s antidote as well. While searching for the antidote she heard a rustling noise. She moved many boxes and she saw Arnie. He was in a form of a snake. She let him out and they both went back to where the stampede was. After a while Dr Franklin got out of hands. He started retaliating and fighting. Arnie leapt up to Dr Franklin and gave a tremendous blow to the right side of his face, He went flying and hit him self on the elect fence and electrocuted himself very badly that he died.
This revealed that since they weren’t in contact as normal they still had great potential as team work. It shows that they were all there for each other and if it wasn’t for team work they wouldn’t have killed Dr Franklin and saved their lives.
Conclusion: This book was an interesting book. It was an odd book because no author would think of transgenics and human changes. It was interesting because it is based on teenagers and how they coped as survivors meaning it was aimed for our age group. I enjoyed the book also because it went into detail and every step they done making it a “What will happen next” book and you cant stop reading half way because it draws you in when they are transformed and what happens next and do the kids die or live? The only one problem with the book was that the beginning wasn’t as catching and it didn’t draw the reader in until the first few chapters had finished, so if it had been catchy in the beginning it would have made the book a more interesting book