In the novel, Runner by Robert Newton, the main character is Charlie Feehan. He is growing up in the working class slums of Richmond in 1919. His father died of the Spanish flu and his family is struggling to survive financially and with the grief of his father’s death. Charlie’s friendships with Nostrils, Mr and Mrs Redmond and Dolly become very important to him as he meets many challenges. Charlie’s friendship with Nostrils becomes very important to him as Nostrils gives Charlie companionship, support and encouragement. Charlie’s friendship with his neighbours, Mr and Mrs Redmond, is also very important.
Charlie’s friendship with his neighbours, Mr and Mrs Redmond, is also very important. Charlie’s neighbours, Mr. And Mrs. Redmond, are very kind to him. They provide food for his family as Ma struggles to buy food as the family no longer have an income. Mr. and Mrs. Redmond are always there for Charlie when he needs to talk. They never tell him what to do. Mr. Redmond trains Charlie in boxing and eventually encourages him to enter the Ballarat Mile. Dolly, Squizzy Taylor’s girlfriend, helps Charlie by giving him reassurance, understanding and by protecting him when she believed that Squizzy was being unfair to him.
Norman Heath, Nicknamed ‘Nostrils’ because of his big nose, is the friend Charlie needs. There is an immediate respect and attraction between the boys. When Charlie is tired of well-meaning neighbours, Nostrils is ‘something fresh’ (p.19). During the course of the book he will teach Charlie the meaning of friendship. He is an honest voice, able to see through Charlie's illusions. He is loyal and has a great sense of humour. Even though their relationship is built upon a lie, as Charlie ‘didn't have the heart to tell him that it should have been him on Squizzy Taylor's payroll’ (p.20), their friendship will survive even greater challenges.
When they first meet up with the Barlow Boys in Barkly Gardens and take to their...