Runner Literary Elements


Historical fiction; young adult fiction

Setting and Context

The novel is set in Richmond, Melbourne in 1919, amid the Spanish flu pandemic

Narrator and Point of View

The novel is narrated by Charlie Feehan, and stays in his point of view

Tone and Mood

The tone is optimistic and humorous; the mood vacillates between desperation and hopefulness

Protagonist and Antagonist

Charlie Feehan is the protagonist; antagonists include Jimmy Barlow, Squizzy Taylor, Mr. Peacock, and the runner in the maroon singlet

Major Conflict

The novel's major conflict is that Charlie feels complicit in Squizzy Taylor's gangsterism; the more he learns of Squizzy's dealings and violent approach to solving problems, the more Charlie's conscience causes him to want to distance himself from crime and make the people who truly love and support him proud.


The story reaches its climax when Charlie wins the Ballarat mile, having taken the "dirty money" he earned from Squizzy Taylor and bet it on his ability to win the race through sheer ability.


Charlie thinks of the money he made with Squizzy when he sees the betting tent, foreshadowing his desire to place a bet on himself.






Metonymy and Synecdoche