A brief summary of the content of the text
The Timekeeper is set throughout history and the present day, where the reader develops an understanding of the relevance and importance that time plays for the three main characters; Dor, Sarah and Victor. Dor invents time, and the measure of it; Sarah wishes for less time, and Victor more; the story’s path brings all these things together in a single moment of time, where they are outside of the normal method of time. In this moment each of the characters understands the role and significance that as individuals they have to undertake in their own time period.
A reflection of the importance of the material to the unit you are studying
The novel provides a firm connection between itself and the three specific unit goals of the English course, as outlined in the BSSS Curriculum document. Moral, religious and spiritual issues are presented by Albom through the inclusion of subjects of human cryostasis, a moral issue; and religious imagery and association from the time of Dor.
Albom also provides the opportunity for students to explore the different contexts in which the writers operate in conjunction with other texts and discussion in class. Through the variety of resources that are presented, students can develop an understanding of the range of contexts that each creator experiences, and then can assess which is unique to each text. For example, the contexts in which the Time Keeper and Shadowlands were written are considerably different, yet without an understanding of both texts, the contexts may remain hidden.
The Time Keeper extensively addresses the third unit goal, where spirituality is a key theme throughout the novel, yet is not presented in the foreground, rather as a context which influences the characters and style of writing. Albom’s writing is influenced by his own faith (Miller, 2012), and through the Time Keeper, he is able to provide his understanding and interpretation of Biblical stories, as seen in the land that Dor comes from.
Significant points of analysis with support from the text
As evidenced in the third assessment task, the significant faith and doubt journeys that each character experiences provides a compelling insight into the significance of time for both the reader and character. Albom has included a variety of perspectives and ‘real-world’ situations where the reader is able to connect to the novel in a more personal way.
This technique, particularly evident in the character of Sarah, where her experiences are of relevance to an audience that Albom chose to write to. Teenagers, like Sarah, are said to have little respect to time, passive to the passing of it, and more inclined to the experiences it can provide.
Spirituality, included throughout the novel, is used to engage the reader on a deeper level. Rather than blatantly presenting a world-view, Albom encourages the reader to interpret the meaning of events and experiences with their own world view. This can be seen through the emphasised points throughout the novel. On page 47, Consider the word “time.” the reader is encouraged to do more than just read, but apply their own understanding to the novel.
A personal response to the text and some comments about how you could use the material for assessment tasks
The BSSS outlines the following criteria for all assessment tasks for the English T Curriculum. The Time Keeper provides a basis to achieve each of these points.
Students will be assessed on the degree to which they demonstrate:
- an ability to respond critically to texts and logically justify viewpoint
- an ability to evaluate and synthesise material to make meaning
- imagination and originality
- competent and effective use of language for a range of purposes and audiences
- control of appropriate medium.
In particular the novel addresses the first three points as the style of the novel encourages the reader to add and interpret the meaning of the journey of each character.
In the assessment tasks that we have had this semester, this novel – introduced in Term 2 – can be used in two tasks; the exam and reading and viewing log, the Time Keeper has been an appropriate text to include within the work.
Assessment of the value of the unit you are studying
3 paragraphs (100 words per unit goal)
Tie in with content section
ACT Board of Senior Secondary Studies (BSSS), (2013). English T. [online] BSSS Courses. Available at: http://www.bsss.act.edu.au/__data/assets/word_doc/0020/314264/English_T_06-15_updated_October_2013.docx [Accessed 27 May 2015].
Albom, M. (2012). The Time Keeper. New York: Hyperion.
Miller, J. (2012). Mitch Albom’s ‘The Time Keeper’ Offers Wisdom for Days of Awe. [online] The Huffington Post. Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rabbi-jason-miller/mitch-alboms-the-timekeeper-offers-days-of-awe-wisdom_b_1868663.html [Accessed 27 May 2015].
 “…respond critically to a range of material that deals with moral, religious and spiritual issues” (BSSS, 2013, p. 56)
 “…demonstrate an understanding of the different ways in which writers deal with issues such as spirituality and other religious concerns in the texts.” (ibid)
 An essay on the influence of the faith and doubt of one character on another.