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