After reading "The Giver" by Lois Lowry in 6th grade, I was curious on what her other books are about. As I loved "The Giver," I appreciated "GossamerAfter reading "The Giver" by Lois Lowry in 6th grade, I was curious on what her other books are about. As I loved "The Giver," I appreciated "Gossamer."
First of all, the vocabulary is not that difficult. It’s easy to understand and there are no words that a regular 6th grader would not understand. The comprehension is also easy if you’re reading the book straight forward. The details are broken up into little paragraphs, with less than ten sentences in each paragraph. For example when describing the “bestowal” process for dream-givers, it says that they “gather material: memories, colors, words once spoken, hints of scents and the tiniest fragments of forgotten sound,” (13). The rest of the paragraph which is a length of five medium length sentences talk about what dream-givers have to do in order to “bestow” dreams correctly to their human counterparts.
I think that because this book is targeted to a younger audience, the sentences must be shorter in order to capture the reader’s attention. Lengthy paragraph are no good for attracting the almost-teens.
While the dream-givers provide a safer environment for the humans throughout the book, particularly the interaction between Littlest One and John who are the youngest in both worlds so they parallel each other. Little One is naïve in the Heap, the place where dream-givers dwell and reminds me of a lost puppy. One phrase in the book summarizes her personality up perfectly. It is “Chastened and a little nervous, Littlest reached up, took his hand, and held tightly to it as they set out,” (50). As the youngest dream-giver, she has the least experience and throughout the whole book, as she gives happy dreams to John, her knowledge of the human world grows but her maturity level still says at pure innocence. No physical description is given of this character either except for the fact that she is transparent.
The transparency in the book, even though younger children who are bound to read the book would make note of this, shows more than just Littlest One’s acquisition of wisdom. Fastidious points this out in the beginning of the book by saying “you’re barely formed yet,” (4). That was in response to Littlest One’s demanding questions on why her shadow is so light. As Little One tries to learn more about the boy with the Gossamer touch, her body fills with memories. You can say that this has to do with humans also. As we grow, we fill ourselves up with knowledge. But Littlest One is considered transparent until the very end when she finally cannot see as well through herself which shows that she is still as innocent as before. She’s still partly transparent which shows that Littlest One has grown but not by a lot. This book only really tells the beginning of her career and that she’s still a beginner. Memories are meant to affect your body in every way as they give you a certain feel, taste, smell, look, and that fills a person’s body and the fact that Littlest One’s body is filling up with another person’s memories makes it known that though she may behave like a curious little girl, she will never be a human and that she’ll never know what it is like. We do not start off as transparent so her kind of species being transparent allows a physical boundary between the two worlds.
You can also say that the transparency in the story also shows that Little One’s jobs are too good to be noticed. Because she’s almost invisible, the people cannot see her and she provides John a good night’s sleep. Her job does good for a growing boy like John, who suffers being taken away from his birth family, and she never gets recognition from the boy who benefits it from herself. In the climax of the story, Littlest One is faced with getting rid of a nightmare. She stands there and “there was nothing left, she thought, for her to do to help him, except to hope with all her being,” (128). She has human feelings like hope but she is just a being, without the human in the beginning of it. The boy never meets her either and vice versa which makes it hard for Littlest One to not try to grow closer to the boy.
The book, though simple in reading, has an underlying message that is greater to life. It is that things, even if they are imaginary, live within us. They make up who we are, whether they are people who give us dreams that we make up in our minds or a young boy that cures our loneliness like John was to the old lady in the book who temporarily adopted him. In the end, Thin Elderly wraps up the message in the last chapter: “we are imaginary,” he told her gently, “as we live within,” (136). That is a very deep message that says to me that life’s greatest happiness doesn’t have to be really and doesn’t even have to come from and that we are part of a bigger picture and sometimes we aren’t the real reason why the society we live in is the way it is. Sometimes, we are just the the the imaginary.
So as rudimentary the reading level is, "Gossamer" was entertaining storyline wise and what it says between the lines....more
“The Stranger” is what I think best represent existentialism which is weighted more towards individuality wThank you Tyler Y. for the recommendation.
“The Stranger” is what I think best represent existentialism which is weighted more towards individuality which the protagonist shows a lot of.
Like many main protagonists, Mersault is battling his inner feelings and his outer reactions. His personality stands out the most because he seems to lack any sort of emotion there is. In the beginning, the story starts out with the words “Mother died today,” (1). As the reader, you’d expect the main character, later introduced as Mersault, to be devastated. A son and a mother are supposed to have a close relationship and by simply stating that his mother died in the first three words starts the story off in a haunting pace as the reader knows that the death will propel the story and eventually cause trouble for Mersault.
Mersault acts the opposite of what society expects from people. During his mother’s funeral, he refuses to see her and during the slow walk to the cemetery, he doesn’t even think of his mom’s death. His thoughts are unique in that he thinks out of the box. After the funeral procession he has a little rant in his head on the bus ride home. He thought of “going straight to bed and sleeping twelve hours at a stretch,” (22).
That sleeping is more important to this man than his mother’s death only a few days ago baffles me but adds interest to the story. Anyone who thinks that way deserves to have people read more into him.
Another thought that’s interesting that he says is “What was wanted, to my mind, was to give the criminal a chance, if only a god’s chance; say, one chance in a thousand,” (139). He thinks this during his imprisonment before his sentenced execution towards the end of the novel and he knows he’s set himself up for future death. Instead, he thinks about other criminals and drugs that could kill them that have a one in a thousand chance of working. Just like him thinking of sleep after his mom’s funeral, automatic sex after dating Marie for the first time, and murder on a hot sunny day, Mersault’s thoughts are very “different” than what normal people would think. When he’s going to die, he’s thinking of drugs that would only kill about 99% of criminals.
Starting off with a story of his mom’s death makes the rest of his actions more understandable. Because he wasn’t traumatized at the funeral, his stress gets the better of him on his later days. This eventually leads to manslaughter on an anonymous Arab. No other personal characteristics are mentioned straight out about it but are mentioned in the text.
The details in the story reveal that the character is very perceptive without even having to say it. He knows that his neighbor, Salamano, goes on walks with his spaniel twice a day. He knows that when the dog pulls hard on his master and they “halt on the pavement, the pair of them, and glare at each other; the dog with terror and the man with hatred in his eyes,” (33). He knew this minor detail rather than saying Salamano took his dog for a walk and got mad shows that Mersault doesn’t really care about his neighbor. But that minor detail he remembered was easy to make his look like a stalker.
There are other things he knows about the people around him like their reactions, like Marie and how she’d react to his come-ons during dates, and knowing what they were thinking without saying “I know they were thinking” at the beginning of each insight. As a perceptive man, it makes his character look more like an outcast because he notices things others don’t.
The fact that the story of his mother dying in the beginning was put in the beginning was because it made a good lead to the rest of his story. Here is a very blank-faced man who does what he has to do to survive without thinking much about others. He’s truly an individualist and we don’t know if he was the opposite of this before his mom’s death. He has memories of her come into his mind but the reader never knows if Mersault was a better person before his murder crime.
This novel shows existentialism because it shows how a man’s actions and thoughts are solely his own, no other outside influences like death or murder will change his way of thinking or his beliefs or lack of. They are the reason they exist and that’s it. The character of Mersault who just thought differently exemplifies that aspect of existentialism. ...more
For each protagonist, each story had a soap opera storyline.
Jason Carillo, the stereotypical confused jock, challenges his taught beliefs with his emoFor each protagonist, each story had a soap opera storyline.
Jason Carillo, the stereotypical confused jock, challenges his taught beliefs with his emotions. Compared to the other characters, his story was given the most attention to. He lives in shame, even addressing others like him with derogatory nicknames that he can’t admit to himself. He adds the sympathetic touch to a straight man who is questioning his sexuality. In one chapter he rants to himself. His mind argues that “He needed to talk to someone about his queer confusion-but who? He couldn’t go back to the meeting, not with Nelson-or Debra-there. His dad? He shuddered His dad would kill him. And his mom had enough to deal with,” (33).
He starts out as the least confident to growing into one that isn’t very confident, but not as hesitant. His rants become less scattered and condemned to having structure. In chapter 22 his mental talk includes him saying “the moment had arrived, and he wasn’t dead or in prison, but alive and free,” (227). As his storyline progresses to being lost in sexual confusion to being more aware of himself, his thoughts also grew in optimism.
Kyle Meeks, with the same “closet” status as Jason, except not as self-loathing as the jock, struggles the most with the reactions from the people around him. He attends a high school with an intolerant bully atmosphere and a home with conservative parents. Kyle’s thoughts always go back to society’s views on homosexuality. During a basketball game for instance he dozes off thinking “the game was over and there was no way he could fight against the outpouring throng,” (104). The way he talks to himself is much more mature than Jason and that is mainly due to the fact that he has accepted himself more than Jason has. But he still has his insecurities as he watches his words carefully each time he talks to someone that isn’t Jason or Nelson.
Nelson Glassman, the most flamboyant of the three teenage boys, that is comfortable expressing himself in bright colors. He follows the stereotype of a flaming homosexual and it gets a bit overwhelming. Though he plays off as this good friend, supportive to Kyle and sometimes Jason, Nelson’s comfort has made him the most selfish of the three characters. He involves himself in shenanigans you’d typically see on TV or read in teen fiction novels.
His language is the most abrasive of the three. His quotes mostly involve profanities, a few “screw yous,” and very sassy “anybody in there’s,” His character can make him easily a crowd hatred but his heart lies in a better place than the three boys even though his words betray his morals. He can say things that offend others easily but Nelson is a lot more aggressive in getting what he wants than the three boys. During the turning point in Nelson’s life, he speaks in front of the school board and says “we wouldn’t need a GSA if everyone accepted and respected-or at least tolerated-people who were different,” (182).
What makes this book unique is that each boy represents a different aspect of teenage sexuality. There is one who is trying to figure out what he’s attracted to, one who is striving for approval in his community, and the other who is fighting for acceptance because he knows who he is. As the three boys attend the same high school, the three stories easily go together but through the book is about love, it also bonds the three boys and their common trait through friendship....more
This book is one where you really have to pay attention to all the characters because they pop up sporadically throughout the story. Since their namesThis book is one where you really have to pay attention to all the characters because they pop up sporadically throughout the story. Since their names aren’t very unique, it makes it hard to match some names to the descriptions later on. It wasn’t my choice to read this at first, a student in my language arts class recommended it to me. I was engrossed with it because as a teenager, I could sympathize with the main protagonist, Clay. His struggles mirrored my own at the time which was the main reason why I was very into the plot. I do recommend it to young adults/adolescents because they cover many parts of high school life in it, such as the reasons to lie, school crushes, and the hardships of friendship. With a story that deals with one of the main causes for teenage deaths, suicide, it explains how much it affects others from a well-written teenager’s perspective. ...more
Robert Fulghum takes the quote "the simple things in life" to a whole new meaning as he writes a quirky autobiography about the things he's learned anRobert Fulghum takes the quote "the simple things in life" to a whole new meaning as he writes a quirky autobiography about the things he's learned and picked up on from the mundane tasks he's done throughout his life.
As a minister, you would think Fulghum's book would be boring as common stereotype of a minister's life isn't very "exciting." But he begins with a credo of his life which changes from times to time. He applies by the kindergarten rules to "take a nap every afternoon," to "be aware of wonder," and even the no-brainer: "say you're sorry when you hurt somebody." Simplifying the laws of mankind into a few sentences gives Fulghum's book the simplicity it needs to match the title.
Throughout the course of the course, separated into chunks, not in chronological order and not actually following a certain structure, Fulghum dissects facts he's picked up and the places he’s been and reflects on the experiences, ending each one with little life advice.
One such anecdote from his adult life about a deaf boy named Donnie who wanted to rake his yard for a dollar but Fulghum was stuck with the fact that he thinks “there is a reason for leaves” and is stuck to reject the young boy’s help. Fulghum uses his past beliefs that “the leaves follow to cover, protect, warm, and nourish the next generation of trees,” (106). But with a solemn heart, he pushes his own beliefs aside to let the boy rake his yard. Finishing the chapter of watching the boy rake, he puts the pile into his compost heap and ends the chapter on the lesson that “the leaves let go, the seeds let go, and I must let go sometimes, too,” (109).
That story can easily be related to the message of tearing yourself down to help others will help both parties. But no where in the story does he actually right out the rules he’s trying to set as a guideline to live life. That way, the book is more autobiographical than a man’s version of what people ought to do to get by in life.
The book is filled with many of these anecdotes, one about Crayons which ends with a reminder to the human race to use their imagination more and one to keep on surviving like the spider that went up the waterspout, a song Fulghum’s sure the audience is familiar with. It’s the common things in life that Fulghum’s general audience knows of but has never given much thought of which is where Fulghum provides his personal input.
Humor is key to Fulghum’s story. When describing love, he adds a fact that his house had raccoons. But the funny part is that he says, even though the audience didn’t need to know that, “for reasons known to God and the hormones of raccoons, they chose to mate underneath the house at three A.M.” (37). It’s not common for a life story to include that minor and visually disturbing image.
But there is a place in his book where his book takes a sentimental turn which adds more personality to the book. While Fulghum writes about his grandfather towards the end of his book or the lack thereof. He begins by making the audience believe that he’s learned a lot because of the ideal and things around him but it seems that Fulghum has learned the most when something, in this case a person that comes with the connotation as being loving and supportive, is absent in his life. With a made-up story of what he would have done with his grandfather that is told like his other factual stories, his last concrete lesson comes from a fictional tale. The chapter ends with him saying “Thinking about the grandfather I wish I had prepares me for the grandfather I wish to be, a way of using what I am to shape the best that is to come,” (185).
While the whole book discusses the tiny golden, silver, brass, and other metal alloy rules that Fulghum has picked up throughout his life, this happens to end the journalistic autobiography with a sharp intake of breath as his life isn’t always shaped by what surrounds you but what you surround yourself with, whether it’s real or in your head.
The book has a unique ending that doesn’t wrap up his story since he still has much to learn but doesn’t summarize his story as if it were the conclusion paragraph of an essay. Instead, Fulghum reminds his readers about the beauty of the simple things in a way that leaves the reader wondering if he’ll ever extend the novel. ...more
This being my first Stephen King, I expected it to be scary. My expectations were met with a standing ovation.
Carrie White suffers from telekinesis whThis being my first Stephen King, I expected it to be scary. My expectations were met with a standing ovation.
Carrie White suffers from telekinesis which is believed in the people in the story, as in real life, as a superstitious belief. By being an outcast, her power is more noticeable as it gives a reason for her to be different, regardless of looks or the way she acts. During the beginning of the novel, she is bullied by the rest of the girls in physical education class in the shower stall and is put under public humiliation. The author can help the readers feel Carrie’s pain as it is easy to write about a teenage girl getting verbally abused by the popular crowd at school. But Stephen King’s language intensifies Carrie’s dark storyline.
He wrote, “suddenly she felt that she must burst into tears, scream, or rip the Something out of her body whole and beating, crush it, and kill it,” (34). For a high school senior to have such violent thoughts, especially since she comes from a small town of Chamberlain makes her story more horror-friendly.
The fact that Carrie White is put in a vulnerable position to be harassed at school just because of her family history is more gut-wrenching to understand since she faces the same verbal slurs against her at home. Her mother Margaret, a very extreme religious woman, she told her own daughter that “as Jezebel fell from the tower, let it be with you,” (99).
Bringing religious comparisons in a horror fiction novel is unique in this book as God is often believed as the Father figure who represents purity and love. But though her mother believes more radical beliefs than regular Christians, she compares her flesh and blood to Jezebel, who is believed to be the biggest witch in the Bible. A mother’s love is shown the exact opposite in this novel and is much more distressing to read since it’s her mom’s beliefs that the community talks about push her daughter to be victimized by popular groups like the Mortimer Snerds.
A girl who seeks revenge for bullied and no in town, besides her mother who labels her as a disgrace, may sound scary storyline wise but Stephen King does a convincing job to tell just one event in Carrie’s life from the build-up to the conclusion with the use of dark and chilling language.
In describing a shower scene in the first chapter he uses the word “writhed” which is uncommon in describing the actions a person takes while cleansing themselves. He wrote, “Girls stretched and writhed under the hot water, squalling, flicking water, squirting white bars of soap from hand to hand,” (4). Hot water makes your body uncomfortable at first but by making your body writhe, King sets the tone by making an uncomfortable atmosphere that the rest of the book follows and also foreshadows what the girls’ fates are in the end.
Foreshadowing is a big part of Stephen King’s writing. In the end when the city of Chamberlain is in a panic, he describe the people as “like an invasion from the graveyard that lay in the elbow crook formed by the intersection of the Bellsqueeze Road and Route 6,” (230). Eventually, the majority of the people meet a horrible fate near the end but he describes them as if they came from a graveyard, a place of death. It shows the lack of emotion from the people in this mob but also shows that they have arrived to greet death. It’s as if they knew what they were coming from, death that was preplanned by Carrie White’s rampage, and they were just making sure death was there.
I believe the scariest part of the book would be the last excerpt which is from a letter that describes another girl just as “special” as Carrie only the words were spelled as if it was written by an illiterate person.
In the middle of the letter, it reads “Annie was giggeling and laffing but I was a little skared,” (276). The reader can tell that this Annie character, who is just introduced in this last chapter, will maybe cause chaos in the city and kill 409 people like she did in one night, just because Annie is creating bad reactions since the start. Stephen King brings the story around full circle and creates another situation where things are bound to go wrong. After reading the incident with Carrie, only the reader can imagine what Annie would be capable of with a unique power. It almost makes your stomach clench in fear. ...more
When I read this book, I felt like I was in a movie. The way the scenes were scattered made it more interesting because it didn’t follow the “B followWhen I read this book, I felt like I was in a movie. The way the scenes were scattered made it more interesting because it didn’t follow the “B follows A, C follows B” format I’m used to reading. On a personal level, I started to think about my own life while reading this. It gave me a powerful message that what we do, even the little things, affects someone out there. You may not realize it but it should always be cemented in your brain that there is a consequence for your actions. This book helped me realize that at a young age. Not everyone could say that they lived a life like Eddie’s, where his pain is fictional and sometimes hard to relate to, but I still felt inspired. Besides how touching it was, I liked how it got to the point o the story from the start. There is a small introduction to tell the reader where Eddie is and what is going on, but right away, you are hit with a dramatic scene between Eddie and the falling cart. I was hooked from the start and this book is definitely my favorite so far....more
This book was very touching to me because of how it showed how much a family can mean to someone.
The main relationship throughout the story is betweenThis book was very touching to me because of how it showed how much a family can mean to someone.
The main relationship throughout the story is between a father and a son but they weren’t bound by blood or by law. Through illegal and immoral actions, Carl Jorgensen made Eddie McMurray, later Sam, his illegitimate son through kidnapping.
Once I read that he was kidnapped, I was very hesitant to read the rest of the book since kidnapping is a crime and is extremely frowned upon. To take a child that is not yours brings more people, especially the real family, grief and hopelessness. But because most of the book is narrated with Carl as the main focus, it’s interesting to see a kidnapper’s point of view and his reasons behind it.
Carl’s actions are based off of a bad past. With an abusive father and an overly sympathetic mother, Carl was bound to maybe take a wrong turn in life by his traumatic experience, especially when his girlfriend had an abortion not in spite of him but for herself. With his world not going the way he planned, his pain is easily summed up in a quote he says in the first chapter. At a nursery, he said “not as handsome as yours,” (5). This is in reference to seeing Eddie, the boy he was planning to kidnap, and it shows that his mind is set strongly on having a family.
Coming from a dysfunctional one and being denied one by a person you love, the author makes it easy to sympathize with Carl even though his actions were wrong.
There are many books that have kidnappers that portray them as perverted and mentally-ill people which is not the case in this book. It is sort of like a Lifetime movie to me by the way it’s written. The story is told with different character on focus and it switches from the past to the present, but keeping the same tense in the writing, that makes the story more theatrical. There is not much room for detail as in describing a room, there is not much description on the room itself and the time frames can be blurry unless we know Sam’s age in a particular scene but that allows us to concentrate on the emotion aspect of the book.
For Amy, the birth mother of Sam, her pain is also expressed by the things she’s said. Unlike Carl, she doesn’t have a family history and not much is said about her. That actually makes her devotion to finding her son much stronger and distinct because then that’s all the reader knows about her. Like Carl, she also says a lot about her character in the things she says.
While her life is falling apart she says “he’s the only thing keeping us together,” (124). As marriage is a strong bond between two people, by Amy’s words to the marriage counselor about how it’s really her missing son that keeps them together, you get a sense of how much Sam means to her. They say that a mother’s love for a child is the greatest love of all and in this book, it holds true for both parents, Carl and Amy.
Many of what the characters say or feel are clichés. For instance when Sam is finally where he belongs he thinks to himself “but Amy’s apartment wasn’t home. And he didn’t think it ever would be,” (345). It’s obvious that Sam would rather be with the man who helped him grow into the young adult he is in that moment. Home is where the heart is and this quote is basically saying that in Sam’s point of view.
Sam also stated at the end: “His dad had been there from the beginning, on the day he was born,” (378). It makes sense to end the book on a positive note and we know that Carl, Sam’s real father because of how much he’s done for him, was there at the nursery when was born. But to restate the phrase brings the story to an end that leaves on a peaceful note because even if the crime that led to the entire story was wrong, it mattered to Sam who was the center of the drama. If Sam is thankful, then the readers know that the crime, as wrong as it was, was worth it.
But the clichés may actually be helpful to the plot. They give it an emotional touch since the book is about a kidnapper so without the hackneyed phrases and romantic lines, the book would make Carl seem more like a bad person than he is. If they weren’t present and Carl didn’t frequently say “that’s my boy” or “I’m proud of you son” then the book would lack the sensitivity that is present in Carl’s heart....more