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					Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                          

          Brian Crawford 7th Grade
          7th Grade English

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          The Hobbit – Bryson
          June 21st, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

          The Hobbit written in 1948 by J.R.R. Tolkein is about a hobbit named Bilbo that leaves his peaceful abode in the shire
          to embark on an adventure. Ultimately Bilbo defeats a dragon named Smaug and returns to his home. This book was
          received no differently than any other fantasy novel. The Hobbit follows many elements of the hero’s quest.

          The call to adventure is very prominent in The Hobbit. The first part of the hero’s quest is the call to adventure. In the
          following passage, the call to adventure is recognizable “Now come Bilbo, we have an adventure ahead of us,” this is
          the quote before they embark on the quest. Here is another passage “enough of drinking tea, adventure is afoot.” These
          passages show that the call to adventure is prominent in The Hobbit.

          The helpers that aid the protagonist are also prominent in The Hobbit. The following passage reveals the presence of
          the helpers. “Who am I? I am Gandalf the grey.” Here is yet another passage “Don’t be alarmed, these are my
          companions, they are dwarves.” The helpers Gandalf and the dwarves show that the presence of the helper’s element of
          the hero’s quest is evident.

          Tolkien was creating an enjoyable hero’s journey that worked as an unsuspecting prequel to his greatest work, the lord
          of the rings. No one thought it was a prequel, and that is why he was so successful at it.


          Alice in Wonderland
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          There is only one book that can confuse you by turning things you see everyday into a nightmare of illusions, Lewis
          Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. The exciting book was written and published by the mathematician in 1965. The
          different and fast-paced story has been made into many different versions, such as a children’s movie created by Disney.
          It first takes place in a meadow as a young and imaginative girl named Alice lies in the sun. She begins to see a rabbit
          running around frantically. She decides to follow him down a rabbit hole and begins to fall into the colorful world of
          Wonderland. The story introduces Alice and follows her throughout her various adventures in Wonderland. She meets

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Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                            

          all different kinds of characters such as a mad hatter and a frightful Queen of Hearts throughout her odd journey.

          The novel contains many resemblances to the typical hero’s quest, such as a threshold. Although Alice in Wonderland is
          not usually interpreted as a quest, it is arguable that it could be one because it does contain many similar characteristics.
          One of these characteristics is the threshold. In the story it could be interpreted as the hallway Alice walks through to
          get to the little room with the table and the key. A threshold is a beginning of an adventure. This adventure could be
          anything from cooking a new meal to finding a lost dog in a day to day scenario. The thresholds to these adventures
          could be walking through the door to begin getting out the food for your meal or stepping out of the door on your way
          to find the dog. In the story, the hallway is the threshold because it is her first taste of Wonderland. It is the first thing
          that she can make sense of since she fell down the rabbit hole. The following passage takes place just after Alice falls.
          “Alice was not a bit hurt, and she jumped up on to her feet in a moment: she looked up, but it was dark overhead;
          before her was another long passage and the White Rabbit was still in sight, hurrying down it.” This quote shows that
          after she has gone through the long and confusing process of falling far down the rabbit hole, she is still curious as to
          what the rabbit is doing and so she captures on the opportunity of adventure. This is why this is considered the
          threshold, or the main threshold, of the story.

          The story is confusing and complicated because of the many hidden mathematical references. Alice in Wonderland may
          have one of the most simple plots in the world, or lack thereof, but truth be told it is more complicated than it seems.
          Originally, Lewis Carroll went to school to be a mathematician, not a writer. In his stories, especially Alice in
          Wonderland, you can see his mathematical references everywhere. It is not quite clear what the author is trying to
          accomplish with these riddles. Sometimes they can enhance the story and make it more fun and mysterious, but most of
          the time it confuses the reader and makes the story harder to read. The following is a conversation in which there is
          mathematical riddle:

          “And how many hours a day did you do lessons?” said Alice, in a hurry to change the subject. “Ten Hours the first
          day,” said the Mock Turtle: “nine the next and so on.” “What a curious plan!” exclaimed Alice. “That’s the reason
          they’re called lessons,” the Gryphon remarked: “because they lesson from day to day.”

          This riddle is like many you can find hidden throughout the story. They all seem simple but can be very confusing and
          frustrating for the reader, especially since Alice in Wonderland has often been made out into a children’s story.

          It is unclear what Lewis Carroll is trying to accomplish with Alice in Wonderland. Some claim that the story was made
          for children, but from its eerie undertones and questionable references the story does not seem to be made for kids.
          Aside from that, the story has no real plot even though it is witty and creative. If the book was made to be a fun story
          with riddles that was made for kids, it is mostly successful. But, other than that it does not seem to be made for any
          reason in particular, thus questioning its success in the world as a novel. We can conclude that the book could be more
          successful if it took off the official title of novel and took on a role of a children’s story.


          Red Scarf Girl
          June 21st, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

                                                         Red Scarf Girl Book Review

          The ALA award-winning novel, Red Scarf Girl, published in 1997, tells the true story of author Ji-li Jiang growing up
          in Shanghai, China. Jiang lived in China during the Cultural Revolution, and this memoir tells the story of China’s
          revolution, a loving community, a brave girl, and the decisions that are made that will change her home country forever.

          The novel, Red Scarf Girl, is about a twelve year old girl, Ji-li Jiang, who lives in Shanghai, China. Ji-li grows up in the
          1950s with her grandmother, father, mother, siblings, and housemaid. Ji-li’s world begins to fall apart when her
          classmates discover that her grandfather was a landlord. With leader Chairman Mao promoting China’s Cultural
          Revolution, Ji-li is torn about whom she should trust, her compassionate family or her pressuring classmates. When her

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Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                          

          father is arrested for being named a landlord, her family faces many obstacles. From Red Guards searching her house to
          finding her name in an insulting Da-zi-bao poster, Ji-li must find the strength to be faithful to her moral beliefs.

          The novel’s character development creates the story’s realism. Ji-li’s character begins as an impressionable young girl
          whose dream is to join the Central Liberation Army Arts Academy. Consider the passage where readers see Ji-li’s
          disappointment and disgust at her family after she finds out that her grandfather was a landlord. “Suddenly I wish I had
          been born into a different family. I hated Grandpa for being a landlord” (69). This quote reveals Ji-li’s juvenile acts
          against her family as she is pressured by her classmates. She does not know how to handle the rumors and disrespectful
          comments people make about her “rightist family”. As the story progresses, Ji-li matures and her morals change. Here
          is a quote in which readers see Ji-li’s character growth. “When I was seven, Grandma watched and waited for me…
          Now it was my turn to watch her and take care of her. I no longer worried that she was a landlord’s wife. She was my
          grandmother” (263). This passage shows Ji-li’s growth and maturity. It is significant that Ji-li realizes that her family’s
          safety is more important than her reputation and her dream of being a Liberation soldier.

          The novel educates readers about China’s Cultural Revolution and the impact it had on peoples’ lives. Although
          Chairman Mao was seen as a god, his ideas could be taken too seriously by supporters. Here is a quote in which Ji-li’s
          best friend, An Yi, is heartbroken after her grandmother committed suicide. “I heard An Yi’s grandmother’s name and
          shuddered. An Yi’s grandmother had jumped out the window.

          My lips trembled and my teeth began to chatter” (113). These tragic memories that Jiang incorporates into the novel
          educates readers in the struggles that citizens faced. Consider the passage where Old Qian, Ji-li’s neighbor is being
          punished by the Red Guards when he does not give up his bicycle to a soldier. “Several angry Red Guards pushed Old
          Qian roughly out the door…He shouted something in the old man’s face… He kicked the cane out of Old Qian’s hand
          and savagely pushed him down on his knees…” (110). This quote shows the terrible actions that were taken against
          citizens, and the terrible memories that Jiang kept with her throughout her life.

          The lasting effect that Red Scarf Girl has on readers is why the novel has been successful. Jiang creates a friendship
          between Ji-li and readers. Readers share Ji-li’s sorrows during her struggles, and grow with her as she defines her
          opinions and learns from her mistakes. Jiang teaches readers valuable lessons throughout Ji-li’s journey.


          The Diary of Anne Frank
          June 21st, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

          “The Diary of Anne Frank” was a groundbreaking play that explored the horrid time of the Holocaust in World War II.
          It is modeled off of the book “The Diary of a Young Girl.” The play was adapted and dramatized by Frances Goodrich
          and Albert Hackett. It was first published in 1955. The play is about an adolescent girl in the time of World War II. She
          and her family are forced to hide in an office building to escape being sent to a concentration camp. Her family decides
          to take in another Jewish family, the Van Daans, because of their prime hiding spot. They have a boy two years her
          senior. Being confined in a hiding place, her emotions are turbulent and ever changing. She ends up falling in love with
          Peter and stirring feuds with the rest of his family. The Franks end up taking in another Jew that creates even more
          turmoil. Anne, meanwhile, stays sane by means of writing in a journal about what happens in her house and her
          emotions. She and their new guest are forced to share a room, which feeds the tension. The Nazis eventually find them
          in their hiding place to take them to a concentration camp. When the play was first shown it was popular because of its
          realistic tone and its window into the horrors of World War II.

          The characters were well developed because of the turmoil that they had to endure and the challenges they had to
          overcome. Because the characters make up the plot, to make the play interesting, the characters have to be
          well-developed. The success of this play backs up this claim because if the characters were not well-developed, then the
          play would have been dull. Anne develops the characters with her personality and her comment reigns true, “I know
          everyone too well in this cramped space.” Her presence changes the air in the room. Being forced to be held captive by
          fear where you could never go outside really changes the characters. Also, the fear of being caught sends them into a

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Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                           

          never-ending spiral of terror and changes them even more.

          Although adolescent, Anne has a surprisingly mature view on the world. Being cooped up in a windowless space
          behind a bookcase has given her a lot of time to think. The situation that her family is in has forced her to act like an
          adult. The pressure that is put on her family is completely overwhelming and she ends up having bursts of immaturity,
          but for the most part, she is as mature as any of her other house mates. Mrs. Van Daan goes over the edge with all of the
          pressure and she ends up barely being able to hold on to her sanity. Her temper is very short with Anne throughout the
          entirety of the production, “Why can’t that silly little girl hold her tongue?” It is understandable that both families have
          feuds because of their frequent mood swings. Anne, overall, keeps her head held high through the play and this is
          significant because, had she fallen apart, her family would have been even worse off, considering the circumstances.

          The author of the play was aiming to recreate the scene of WWII. This recreation is only successful when the actors and
          actresses accurately represent their characters. Otherwise, the play is historically accurate, but the tone of the re-life
          situation would be inaccurate.


          the saint of dragons-noah
          June 21st, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

          The Saint of Dragons is an exciting, fast action and mysterious book that was written by Jason Hightman in 2004. The
          plot is about a boy named Simon who is an orphan outcast in his rich community. He lives in England next to a
          lighthouse, which his foster parents, who are an older couple, run. It is Halloween and Simon is at a party when a
          mysterious man in white shows up claiming that he is Simon’s father. Simon, being a curious boy, is about to meet the
          man in white when a horse and knight gallop in and sweep Simon away. Simon then learns that the knight is his father,
          Aldric, who is a dragon hunter on a mission to defeat every dragon alive. Simon is reluctant at first but as the story
          unfolds Simon must learn his father’s trade and take his place as the last dragon hunter.

          Hightman’s descriptions add to the mysteriousness of the story. In this quote Hightman describes a castle in a place
          called the graveyard of dragons, “a castle in the snow. It had clearly been through some terrible times. Little was left of
          its crumbling towers. Ice had formed into unearthly shapes atop its decrepit walls”. When Hightman describes the castle
          he leaves out some details that let you imagine such as the “unearthly shapes” made of ice. The mysteriousness that the
          descriptions add also adds to the story to make it more intriguing. Here is another quote that is describing Simon’s
          home before he is taken away, “There was a chill in the air that was worse than normal for this time of year, and a fog
          hung around the Bay, and the houses in the Bay, with a cruel persistence. The trees seemed to hunch over in sadness
          and wish for their leaves back to keep them warm”. This is a lot more descriptive than the castle yet here Hightman is
          setting the mood for the rest of the story.

          The Saint of Dragons follows the hero’s journey. Simon begins as an orphan boy who is a little bit lost in the world and
          is also very curious about what is outside his community. The call to adventure is when his father, Aldric, comes to his
          school on Halloween and takes him away to his boat. The threshold to adventure is when Simon and Aldric are leaving
          the school and are ambushed by the mysterious man in white. The most important part of the hero’s quest is of course
          the boon or quest, which is to kill all of the dragons left in the world. The Saint of Dragons follows the hero’s quest
          guidelines completely. The effect that this adds to the story is that you know what is going to happen next. This can be a
          bad effect or a good effect. For this story though, it is a bad effect.

          Hightman’s story is well written and is a good read. Even through the predictability of the story there are some twists
          that occur. Hightman is able to keep the reader hooked through out the entire book and he is able to produce a story that
          is not quiet realistic but believable. This intense novel is one that everyone should read.


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Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                           

          The Skin of Our Teeth Book Review (by Kian)
          June 21st, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

          For this book review, I read the play The Skin of Our Teeth, a 1942 play by Thornton Wilder. The Skin of Our Teeth is
          about a family of four living in Excelsior, New Jersey. Although no exact year is mentioned, it is evident that it is set
          sometime in the mid-20th century, although it is mixed with prehistoric times, as the Ice Age is coming, the alphabet
          and multiplication table are just being invented, and dinosaurs and mammoths are an everyday sight and are even
           considered pets. The family consists of George Antrobus, the inventor of the wheel, among other useful things, his
          wife Maggie, a stern mother who has been married to George for “only” 5,000 years. Their two children are Gladys, an
          intelligent child who is favored by her father, and Henry, whose real name is Cain. Earlier in the family’s lives, Henry
          had killed his brother Abel, because he was angry that his father preferred Abel. There is also Sabina, the Antrobuses’
          house-maid, who is rebellious. Together, they survive a large storm, a seven-year-long war, and a threat to the family
          when Sabina asks George to leave Maggie and marry her. In the play, the actors are aware that they are acting,
          sometimes stopping mid-sentence to comment on or explain the current scene. The Skin of Our Teeth received the 1942
          Pulitzer Prize, among with many good reviews, many of them commenting on the chaotic and strange nature of the

          Several times during The Skin of Our Teeth, there are Biblical references, which give helpful parallels where the play
          might seem confusing, or when a certain element that had happened before the play was not explained. For example,
          when the refugees visit the Antrobuses, an old refugee asks Mrs. Antrobus how many children she has, to which she
          answers two–a boy and a girl. “I understood you had two sons, Mrs. Antrobus,” comments Moses, an old Jewish
          refugee. (41) This triggers Mrs. Antrobus‘s memories of Abel, her dead son, whom she loved greatly, and she suffers
          blindly, calling his name. Later, when Mrs. Antrobus is calling Henry, she calls him Cain. As seen in different parts of
          the play, Henry is capable of killing and injuring people with his slingshot, and it is suggested that he had done the same
          to Abel, his brother. If one makes parallels from the play to the Biblical story of Abel and Cain, then one could say that
          George and Maggie Antrobus are parallel to Adam and Eve. When Mr. Antrobus sends a singing telegram to Mrs.
          Antrobus for their wedding anniversary, it is addressed to Eva, while Mrs. Antrobus’s name is Maggie. This element
          allows the reader to make parallels between the play and the Bible, when parts of the play are confusing, or something
          is being talked about that happened before the time-frame of the play, such as Abel’s death.

          An element of the play that is somewhat chaotic but adds reality to the characters is the character personality changes.
          The characters often change drastically from an act to another, previously loving someone, then later wanting to kill
          them. An example of these changes of behavior is Henry Antrobus. Before the storm and the seven-year-long war that
          ensues, Henry was a normal child, going to school and loving his parents. However, he had a slingshot, which he
          continually shot at people, once killing a boy of his age. After the storm and the war, it is revealed that Henry is the
          enemy. Henry then says that he wants to kill his father. “I’ll kill him so fast. I’ve spent seven years trying to find him;
          the other I killed were just substitutes,” he says to Sabina. (104) He later adds that he wants to burn his father’s books,
          and that the last thing he wants is love and compassion; he wants everyone to hate him. He adds that he doesn’t belong
          to anybody, that he doesn’t live anywhere, and he only went home for food, before collapsing on the couch and
          sleeping. When he wakes up, he talks to his father, and gets very angry, telling his father he cannot be told what he must
          and must not do, and then attempts to strangle him. This rapid character change, among many others, give the
          characters a more realistic personality, although not fully realistic. They also help to learn about the deeper sides of the

          In this entire play, Thorton Wilder was probably trying to show the life of many modern- day families, except much
          more eccentrically. Many elements of the play are similar to family life, such as the children disliking their parents as
          they get older. Thorton Wilder was successful in showing family life in a strange, chaotic play.


          June 21st, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

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Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                           

          The Honorable Urashima Taro
          The Honorable Urashima Taro is a play by Coleman A. Jennings. Jennings published The Honorable Urashima Taro in
          1972. The play is based on two Japanese folktales. It is about a man named Urashima Taro. He is a fisherman. One day
          he comes across a turtle. The turtle tells him that he needs to go save the underwater kingdom from a gigantic scorpion.
          He thinks about it for a while, and then he goes to the kingdom. He gets there while the scorpion is attacking. The
          scorpions eyes burn him and he is then told to rest. After his rest, he is given an arrow and told to kill the scorpion. He
          goes to the scorpions mountain while it is sleeping and shoots it with two of his arrows. This wakes up the scorpion and
          angers it. He is burned by its eyes again and told to rest. While in rest, the scorpion comes back. He defeats the scorpion
          by licking the arrow and saves the kingdom. He then goes back home. When he gets back he realizes that he has spent
          thirty years under the sea. The turtle asks him to come back, but he says no. This book was well liked among university
          professors, but was never famous in the eye of the public.
          The play follows the hero’s quest. This is shown in the beginning when the turtle tells him that, “The sea world is in
          great danger of being completely destroyed.” (p. 18). This is the call to adventure. When he enters the water, the
          threshold of adventure is revealed. Taro then decides to attack the scorpion, but he fails because of the scorpion’s eyes.
          He says, “I can’t hold the bow—my hands are burning.” (p.27). This is a test that teaches him that you can’t look at the
          scorpion. As the reader can see, he fails this test. The final confrontation is when he defeats the scorpion. “You have
          freed us! The Sea Scorpion is dead!” (p. 33). This is what the fish say when he destroys the scorpion. The exit of the
          threshold of adventure is when he gets back on the beach. The boon is a box that is given to him. The box is special.
          “The box, which was left on stage, takes on a glowing brilliance…” (p. 42). This is significant because the story is only
          the bare skeleton.
          The play uses a minimalist stage and minimalist costumes to its advantage. The lack of background is used to enhance
          the effect of swimming through water. “(…Two or four SEA CREATURES enter with lengths of blue billowing
          fabrics…)” (p. 20). The minimalist stage is also used to show how big something is. This is show in the case of the
          scorpion. It has “search lights” for its eyes. “The blinding red lights of the SEA SCORPION’S eyes search the stage.” If
          the scorpion had a costume that humans could hold, then it would be smaller. If the stage had a background or costumes
          then the water wouldn’t have been as life like and the scorpion wouldn’t have seemed so immense.
          The author was successful at what he was attempting. He managed to create a play that reenacted a Japanese folktale.
          Although it wasn’t famous, he managed to fulfill what he was attempting.

          Tags:by James S

          The Silmarillion
          June 21st, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

          In 1917, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, then a soldier in World War I, began composing a mythological account that
          would later become The Silmarillion. Throughout his life, Tolkien worked on The Silmarillion, even until he died in
          1973. The Silmarillion is the mythology of Middle Earth depicting the first age of Middle Earth, and the saga of the
          Silmarils, magical gems carved by Feanor. Throughout his life, Tolkien had tried to get The Silmarillion published, but,
          even after the success of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, publishers rejected his manuscripts. It was not until
          1977, when The Silmarillion was published posthumously, having been edited by Tolkien’s son, Christopher. Because
          the book is much more serious than Tolkien’s past writings, the elvish names are more complex, and The Silmarillion
          appeared to be a collection of stories that are not always connected by an overall plot, critical reception was mostly
          negative. However, among Tolkien fans, The Silmarillion became a necessary key to understanding Tolkien’s Middle

          In Quenya, a dialect of elvish, Silmarillion means of the Silmarils. Though TIME magazine believed, “There is no
          single, unifying quest,” Quenta Silmarillion (Story of the Silmarils,) which comprises of most of the novel, is, as the
          title suggests, the stories of elves, men, and sometimes dwarves, that all connect to the fate of the Silmarils. Starting
          from the creation of Middle Earth, Quenta Silmarillion recounts how Feanor forged the Silmarils, how they were stolen,
          the oath of his sons, and the war that followed. While throughout the story, the characters changed, the overall
          theme–the war and the Silmarills–remained. But Quenta Silmarillion only comprises of three-quarters of the novel. The
          other four parts–Ainulindale, Valaquenta, Akallabeth, and Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age–all have nothing or

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Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                              

          little to do with the Silmarils. If the novel must be looked at in its entirety, a singular plot is not apparent. But since the
          other sections of The Silmarillion seem more like epilogues and prologues than parts of the story, the longest story
          being 26 pages long, Quenta Silmarillion, which contains most of the book, does posses a single, unifying quest.

          Tolkien has also been criticized on the complex and somewhat archaic language in The Silmarillion. Tolkien’s use of
          long, sprawling sentences, and liberal application of antiquated words–such as whence, promptings, and forfeited–may
          have seemed alien in the 1970s. However sentences like, “Wisest of the Maiar was Olorin. He too dwelt in Lorien, but
          his ways took him often to the house of Nienna, and of her he learned pity and patience,” may not have been unnatural
          in Middle Earth. Tolkien’s characters certainly used such language. In the case of The Silmarillion, obsolete language is
          only part of the environment Tolkien creates in Middle Earth.

          What sets The Silmarillion apart from Tolkien’s more famous work is the level of detail. In Tolkien’s more famous
          works, he reveals mythology of middle earth primarily through songs and poems. This gives The Lord of the Rings
          and The Hobbit a more light-hearted feeling that is usually received better. Conversely, The Silmarillion offers
          meticulous detail that was described by The New York Review of Books as “an empty and pompous bore.” Nevertheless,
          the copious description effectively provides a deeper understanding of Middle Earth, and all of Tolkien’s writing.


          June 21st, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

          The novel I chose to read was Bram Stoker’s Dracula, originally published in May, 1897. The novel, written in the form
          of letters and journal entries, begins with Jonathan Harker traveling to Castle Dracula. He becomes trapped here, and
          frightening events that Jonathan observes motivate his eventual escape. Later, his wife Mina’s friend Lucy is becoming
          sickly and pale. Lucy’s husband Arthur Godalming, her two former suitors Quincey Morris and Dr. Seward, and Dr.
          Van Helsing all attempt to save her, but to no avail. However, after she is thought to be dead, they discover she has
          become a vampire and that the Count Dracula had caused this. After this is realized, the characters band together to kill
          and bring peace to first Lucy and then the Count himself.
          Because the horror genre was new at the time, Dracula was highly different from the majority of books available. Its
          individuality caused it not to immediately be a hit, though later it became wildly popular and today is a classic.
          One of the key reasons for Dracula’s massive popularity is the fact that the novel contains certain elements of the hero’s
          quest. The hero’s quest is a common format for adventure novels, and helped to create more action in Dracula. One
          example of where the hero’s quest is used is on page 209. Here, Dr. Van Helsing has figured out that Lucy was killed by
          a vampire and has become one. Now Dr. Van Helsing is speaking to Dr. Seward, explaining to him Lucy’s situation.
          “You think then that those so small holes made in the children’s throats were made by the same that made the holes in
          Miss Lucy?”
          “ I suppose so.” He stood up and said solemnly.—
          “Then you are wrong. Oh, would it were so! But alas! No. It is worse, far, far worse.
          “In god’s name, Professor Van Helsing, what do you mean?” I cried.
          He threw himself with a despairing gesture into the chair and placed his elbows on the table, covering his face with his
          hands as he spoke:—
          “They were made by Miss Lucy!”
          This, when Dr. Van Helsing and Dr. Seward figure out that Miss Lucy has been turned into a vampire, along with when
          they realize that Count Dracula is the one who did so, makes up the call to adventure. This is just one example of the
          many aspects of the hero’s quest seen in Dracula.
          Also contributing to Dracula’s popularity is its journal entry format. The fact that the story is told in journal entries and
          letters is not only convenient for point of view shifts, but it also provides insight from each character. It gives the reader
          a more personal experience, so that they get to know all of the characters on a different level than if the whole story had
          been told from one character’s perspective. The reader also gets to hear each character’s opinion as opposed to just one
          opinion, giving the reader full understanding of the situation. One example of this is on page 143, in an excerpt from
          Lucy’s diary. “Oh, the terrible struggle that I have had against sleep so often of late; the pain of sleeplessness, or the pan

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Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                          

          of the fear of sleep, with such unknown horrors as it has for me!” This shows how, though she is struggling, she does
          not know quite what is happening to her. If this had not been a journal entry, it would have been much less personal and
          the reader would not get the same experience as they now do.
          Overall, Bram Stoker was incredibly successful in writing Dracula. Not only were his journal entry style and hero’s
          journey format highly effective, his novel is now beloved by many. All of the aspects mentioned above contribute to
          Dracula’s popularity, and have led to it becoming a classic.


          The outsiders
          June 21st, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

          The book The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton was published in 1967 on April 24th. It is the story of 14 year old Ponyboy
          Curtis and his interesting life. Him and his friends are part of a gang called the greasers. They wear black jackets and
          have grease in their hair (thusly the greasers). The book starts off with him walking away from a movie theater only to
          be stopped by some Socs. The Socs (short for Socials) are a rival gang. They are all rich in contrast to the greasers who
          are somewhat poor. The Socs beat Ponyboy and threaten to kill him but some greasers come and save him. Some of the
          greasers are Ponyboy’s brothers Darry and Sodapop. Ponyboy and Sodapop are living with Darry because their parents
          recently died in a car crash. Later on, Ponyboy and another greaser Johnny are sitting around a fountain when some
          Socs come along. The socs are angry at Ponyboy and Johnny because they talked to their girlfriends. The socs grab
          Ponyboy and nearly drown him but Johnny stops them by stabbing a Soc named Bob. Johnny and Ponyboy freak out
          and run to their friend Dally for help. He helps them escape to a hideout (an abandoned church) outside of town where
          they stay for a while until Dally comes to meet them. Before heading back after Johnny decides he will turn himself in,
          they go back to the hideout and see it is on fire with a school group inside. Ponyboy and Johnny rush in and save
          everyone but Johnny is hit by a falling roof timber just as he is climbing out himself. The boys who are now heroes are
          rushed to the hospital of their home town in an ambulance. Much more happens but i don’t want to give to much away.

          The book has characters that seem real. The characters show emotions like fear and pride. They are brave and heroic
          but also frightened and worried. They do reckless things and smart things as well. For instance, in the book, Ponyboy
          says “I swallowed five aspirins, though, when Darry and Soda weren’t looking. I do that all the time because I can’t
          sleep very well at night. Darry thinks I take just one, but I usually take four. I figured five would keep me going through
          the rumble and maybe get rid of my headache.” before a big fight. This shows that he is nervous about the fight and also
          has some issues that are unresolved preventing him from sleeping easily. Also after the death of one of the characters,
          Dally commits suicide by pulling an unloaded gun on some police officers after robbing a grocery store. This quote
          shows how it happened “Dally raised the gun, and I thought: You blasted fool. They don’t know you’re only bluffing.
          And even as the policemen’s guns spit fire into the night I knew that was what Dally wanted. He was jerked half around
          by the impact of the bullets, then slowly crumpled with a look of grim triumph on his face. He was dead before he hit
          the ground.”. This shows that the characters can be reckless and stupid but also heartbroken and sad. The realness of the
          characters greatly increases the appeal of this book to me and probably most readers.

          The book could be used as a metaphor for any number of other situations. For instance, the Socs could be the
          communists and the greasers as the democratic countries. Or, the Socs could be the democrats and the greasers the
          Republicans. For instance the quote “Greasers can’t walk alone too much or they’ll get jumped, or someone will come
          by and scream “Greaser!” at them, which doesn’t make you feel too hot, if you know what I mean.” is like a template.
          Group A can’t walk alone too much or they’ll get jumped, or someone will come by and scream “Group A!” at them,
          which doesn’t make you feel too hot, if you know what I mean. This is what the quote looks like in template form. This
          shows that this book could be used for almost any conflict which makes it more fun to read twice.

          The author is quite successful in writing a very good book. The book is well structured and is good at making an
          impression. The book also is similar to the book Animal Farm in the sense that it could be interpreted in more than one
          way. Overall, this book seems like a good book to read.

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Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                            


          Irene S. – The Egg and I
          June 21st, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

          The Egg and I by Betty MacDonald was first published as a novel. An instant best seller, this book sold over 1,300,000
          copies. The play I read was based on MacDonald’s novel, and dramatized by Coulter Martens in 1958.

          The Egg and I follows the life of the MacDonald family after they move from the city to the Olympic Mountains to
          raise chickens. The four protagonists are Betty, Don, Joan, and Anne. Joan and Anne are the daughters of Betty and
          Don MacDonald. In their new home, the family plans to become wealthy by selling eggs, but soon learn that this is no
          easy feat. Waking up at 4:30AM, tending to the always-needy chicks, and managing without indoor plumbing or
          telephones, the characters encounter many difficulties in obtaining their goal.

          In The Egg and I, the stove is a character. Throughout the play, Betty forms a relationship with an old wood-burning
          stove. “[From this first moment of introduction, the stove is not an inanimate object to BETTY, but a definite
          personality in whom she senses immediate antagonism]” (31). Every time Betty tries to use the stove, something
          unfortunate happens to her. “[As she holds wood ready to toss in, she bends over stove and lifts lid. A puff of black
          smoke hits her in the face... With a little cry she drops both wood and poker and steps back, then turns to face
          audience]” (30). There are three or four encounters that Betty has, all of them resulting with either the stove door hitting
          her in the shins, or the ashes spraying soot on her face. The play not only uses Betty’s relationship with the stove as a
          humorous effect, but also to demonstrate her frustration with her new home. “[Turns to stove again, shaking her fist.]
          You fiend! [Turns toward front, bumping her leg on tin tub at L C. She clutches her leg, hopping on one foot, and
          speaks with a trace of humor in her voice.] So this is freedom!” (30). Because Betty can have such interaction with the
          stove, the appliance is a character.

          The Egg and I is written to be preformed in the same manner time and time again. This is evident not only in the
          detailed stage directions for the actors, but in the overall level of description. There are six pages describing the general
          appearance of the set and depicting its’ characters, along with another half-page before each act. However, much of this
          detail is not mentioned in the characters’ lines. Perhaps this is why the author added so many descriptors as to exactly
          what the characters and the set should look like. For example, some of the more particular set elements include “old
          coffee cans on top of refrigerator and on floor D L” (9) and “container of fruit juice in refrigerator” (9). Although it may
          not be essential to the plot that the alarm “is the intermittent type which rings a while, stops, then rings again,” (31) it
          allows performance of this play to be straight-forward in directly representing the book, along with providing images to
          the reader as to what the performance would look like to the audience.

          The author describes Betty’s relationship with the wood-burning stove thoroughly. In fact, the author states outright on
          page 31 that to Betty, the stove is no mere appliance. In doing so, the author has set up all the elements necessary to
          present the stove as a character. As far as the detail of The Egg and I, one may find the excessive detail difficult to read,
          but it allows the reader to see the play in his/her mind and experience it exactly as the author intended. If The Egg and I
          were to be preformed, all the required elements are there for the director to see, and it is then up to him/her to decide
          whether to perform the play as suggested by the author. Therefore, in both depicting the stove as a character and
          providing detail sufficient to represent the same rendition of The Egg and I over and over again, the author is


          Romeo and Juliet
          June 21st, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

                                                               Romeo and Juliet

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Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                           

           Romeo and Juliet is one of the best known works of English literature. Written by playwright William Shakespeare in
           1597, the tragedy takes place in Verona, Italy. The two houses—the Montagues and the Capulets—are feuding. Romeo,
           a Montague, meets Juliet, a Capulet, at a ball, where the two fall immediately in love. However, when a fight arises
           between the Montagues and Capulets, Mercutio, Romeo’s friend, is slain by Tybalt, a Capulet. Romeo, avenging
           Mercutio’s death, kills Tybalt. Romeo is then banished for killing Tybalt. Meanwhile, Juliet, upon hearing that she must
           marry someone other than Romeo, becomes desperate and heads to the Friar Lawrence who gives her a potion to make
           her appear dead until Romeo arrives. Friar Lawrence also sends a message to Romeo, explaining the goings-on.
            However, Romeo, upon hearing of Juliet’s “death” before receiving the letter of explanation buys a poison from an
           apothecary to end his life. Romeo, arriving before Juliet awakens, is intercepted by Juliet’s would-be suitor, Paris. The
           two duel and Romeo kills Paris, and then drinks the poison. Juliet, awakening to find Romeo dead, stabs herself. T he
           Montagues and Capulets decide to make peace in order to avoid anything happening again.

           The success of the plot is due in part to errors made by the characters. For instance, the outcome of the story is changed
           when Friar Lawrence sends a messenger to deliver the letter explaining Juliet’s apparent death to Romeo. However,
           officials turn the messenger away, and the messenger, unknowing of the importance of the letter, turns back. Friar
           Lawrence says of the mistake, “Unhappy fortune! By my brotherhood, the letter was not nice but full of change, of dear
           import, and the neglecting of it may do much danger” (219). If this mistake had not occurred, Romeo would have come
           for Juliet, and the two would have escaped together, making the plot less original and complex. A plot-changing
           mistake is also shown when Romeo attempts to stop Tybalt and Mercutio while they are battling, allowing Tybalt to
           stab Mercutio. This later leads to Romeo killing Tybalt and his banishment. Romeo’s remorse and the effects of his
           mistake are shown when he says of banishment, “Yet “banished?” Hang up philosophy. Unless philosophy can make a
           Juliet, displant a town, reverse a prince’s doom, it helps not, it prevails not” (143). Here, Romeo describes the
           consequences of his actions. If they had not occurred, they would not have necessitated Romeo’s banishment and
           therefore the subsequent events would not have occurred, making the story less successful.

           The play’s successful character development is due to Shakespeare’s use of varied speaking styles in dialogue. For
           instance, the reader is given an idea of Romeo’s personality when Romeo says, “Oh, she doth teach the torches to burn
           bright! It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night” (53). Romeo’s speaking in verse conveys an elegance that would
           otherwise be hard to show through acting. Also, Juliet’s nurse conveys a different personality through her speech. For
           instance, she says, “How sound is she asleep! I needs must wake her.—madam, madam, madam!” (197) Here,
           Shakespeare conveys a more lowly character, creating a distinct difference between characters. The use of varied
           speaking styles is effective in making the characters and ultimately the plot more vivid.

           Shakespeare is ultimately successful in both plot and character development. By using errors made by characters as plot
           developers, Shakespeare is able deepen the story by turning small mistakes into unpredictable outcomes. Also, by using
           the character’s dialogue to develop characters, Shakespeare effectively shows the reader more about the personalities of
           the characters without descriptions or unnecessary detail. Overall, the play is effective in accomplishing these elements.


           Driving Miss Daisy
           June 21st, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           Driving Miss Daisy was published in 1987 and written by Alfred Uhry. Driving Miss Daisy is a widely celebrated play
           that takes place in the Deep South just prior to the civil rights movement. Driving Miss Daisy is about a rich, stern and
           sharp tongued old Jewish woman named Daisy. Daisy is getting too old to drive, so her son, against her wishes, hires a
           colored man named Hoke to drive her around. At first glance neither Hoke nor Daisy likes the other. Daisy thinks that
           Hoke is after her money and is a thief. Hoke however gathers from Daisy’s coldness that she is prejudiced toward
           colored people.

           Driving Miss Daisy is about two very different people who learn to love each other. When Daisy and Hoke first met,
           their relationship was only out of necessity. Hoke needed a Job and Daisy needed to get around. This quote by Hoke

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Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                            

           was just after he was hired by Daisy. Daisy realizes that she needs him so she has him drive her to the grocery store.
           This quote shows their beginning relationship was formed by need. Hoke: “How bout this, while yo goin on the trolley
           to the Piggly Wiggly, I hose down yo’ front steps?” Daisy: “All right. Hoke: All right I hose down yo’ front steps?”
           Daisy: “All right the Piggly Wiggly. And then home. Nowhere else.”

           However Daisy and Hoke began to put aside their differences and become friends. One day the roads were icy and Miss
           Daisy was trapped in her house. It was Hoke’s day off. Even so, Hoke drives to help Miss Daisy out. Hoke: “Oh, I stop
           at the 7-11. I figure yo’ stove out and lord knows you got to have yo’ coffe in the mornin’.” Daisy: “How sweet of you

           After Hoke and Daisy become friends they began to love each other. This is best shown in the final scene when Hoke
           visits Daisy at the hospital. Daisy is 92 at the time. Daisy: “How are you?” Hoke: “Doin’ the best I can.” Daisy: “Me
           too.” Hoke: “Well thass all there is to it, then. Looka here you ain eat yo’ Thanksgiving pie.” (Daisy tries to pick up her
           fork. Hoke takes the plate and fork from her.) “Lemme help you with this.” (He cuts a small piece of pie with the fork
           and gently feeds it to her as the lights slowly fade out.) It is imperative that Daisy and Hoke love each other in Driving
           Miss Daisy. One of the basic functions of humans is to love, to belong. Without belonging, life is hard. When readers
           read Driving Miss Daisy they see Daisy and Hoke, two very different people, begin to love each other. Without Daisy’s
           and Hoke’s love, the play would be dull and lifeless.

           Daisy, an isolated elderly woman, learns to be open to Hoke. The following quote displays Daisy embarrassed that her
           son realizes her affection for Hoke. Boolie: “Hello? Have I got the right number? I never heard you say loving things
           about Hoke before.” Daisy: “I didn’t say I love him, I said he was handy.” Boolie: “Uh Huh.” This next quote clearly
           illustrates Daisy opening up to Hoke as she recalls a dear happy memory from her childhood. Daisy: “I remember the
           first time I ever went to Mobile. It was Walter’s wedding, 1888.” Hoke: “1888 you weren’t nothin’ but a little child.
           Daisy: I was twelve. We went on the train. And I was so excited. I’d never been in a wedding party and I’d never seen
           the ocean before…” If Daisy had not opened up to Hoke, she never could learn to love him. If she never loved Hoke,
           then an essential aspect of the play would be lost.

           Driving Miss Daisy was an overwhelming success. The play’s sensational value lies in Alfred Uhry’s phenomenal skill
           at character development. Daisy starts out as a stern and grouchy old woman but slowly becomes nicer and softer as
           Hoke weaves his way into her heart. Hoke however never changes in the play. He doesn’t have to. He is someone that a
           person can always rely on, unmoving and constant.

           As soon as Driving Miss Daisy was published in 1987 people could not get enough of this great play. Driving Miss
           Daisy was a great success.


           A Doll’s House
           June 21st, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House was published in 1879. Throughout Ibsen’s many published plays, A Doll’s House could
           be categorized as one of the most dramatic. At the beginning of the play Nora, the main character, is preparing for
           Christmas, while speaking with Helmer who views her as a misguided, unappreciated, frivolous-spending housewife,
           and is treated as such. Mrs. Linde, an old companion of Nora’s, enters shortly after and tells her of the tragic life she
           had previously experienced, while Nora speaks of the luck that her family no longer has to be frugal. Eventually, Nora
           admitted the shocking secret that she illegally borrowed money to save her husband’s life (who is unaware of this) to
           Mrs. Linde, by having moved in another area in Europe for a year, as a medical trip. As she was there, Mrs. Linde also
           mentioned that she had came in search of employment and Helmer tells her that he can give her a position at the bank
           where he had been working. After Mr. Krogstad, a man who had worked at the bank, left the study, he spoke to Nora of
           the crime committed; this scene contains dramatic irony as it is discovered that Krogstad knows Nora forged the
           signature on the check in order to save her husband, for he was sick. Krogstad also mentioned that he knew he was
           close to being fired and told her to convince her husband to have him save Krogstad’s job; after she refused, he

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Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                             

           blackmailed her. The blackmail was to send Helmer a letter revealing Nora’s wrong doing. Later on, ,Dr. Rank (a family
           friend) entered to discuss matters with the both of them that he is violently ill and will soon pass on. In the third act,
           Helmer read the letter an became angry with Nora until he received a second letter stating it was not needed for them to
           pay back to money taken back. Helmer soon forgave Nora, but by this time, she decided to leave Helmer.

           This play has a dramatic twist that proclaims the daily life a woman of the 1870’s would have wanted to have been
           facing. When it was first released, A Doll’s house was called one of the first feminist plays, it was controversial for its
           criticalness of the normal family of the time.

           At first glance, the reader of A Doll’s House could easily label characters, but as the reader continues, it is apparent that
           the characters have taken new aspirations. For example, at the beginning of the play, Nora speaks to her husband as if
           all she wishes to do is spend money, but later in the play it is revealed that really she is a smart women with good

           ‘Don’t be horrid. I do save, all I can.’

           ‘(With a laugh). All you can. That’s right. The whole trouble is, you can’t.’

           ‘(Smiling gently an playfully). Oh Tarvold, songbirds, squirrels, you know how we spend and spend.’ (p.5)

           A Doll’s House has some of the same qualities that a hero’s cycle consists of. The hero’s cycle is a cycle pertaining to
           the common themes of an adventure story. The traits that A Doll’s House has that are also described in a hero’s cycle
           are the main battle. The main battle is when Helmer reads the letter describing the borrowed money. Helmer is outraged
           and tells Nora she is not fit to raise his children. Nora overcomes this when Helmer receives another letter-as previously
           mentioned-that states Mr. Krogstad will take back the contract. This is when the main battle takes place, where Nora
           must decide to stay or leave. She leaves through the threshold as the hero’s cycle calls it. This threshold is disguised as
           the apartment’s front door for she has no pity for her husband after he asks her to stay. This scenario is explained on
           page 101 and 102.

           This is significant because is illustrates how almost any story can fit within any of the elements of the hero’s cycle.

           Ibsen was successful in describing the life of a common family living in the 1870s. He explains the hardships and
           necessities that the family faces. Ibsen makes A Doll’s House a concrete example of families in the 1870s.


           A Lesson Before Dying (book, not play)
           June 20th, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           Earnest J. Gaines’s eighth novel, A Lesson Before Dying, was published in 1993, and enthusiastically received by the
           public. Set in the late 1940s, the story is told from the point of view of Grant Wiggins, the school teacher for a small
           town in the deep south. Grant is set to the difficult task of rebuilding the crushed self-image of Jefferson, the black man
           falsely accused of murder, and who has been sentenced to death by electric chair.

           A Lesson Before Dying provides a profound and complex examination of impending death. Near the end of the book,
           Jefferson writes in his journal about his feelings and observations of the day and night before his scheduled execution.
           He writes about the sunset, and how he knows it will be the last he ever sees. “sun goin down an i kno this the las one
           im gon ever see but im gon see one mo sunrise cause i aint gon sleep tonite”. Earlier, he records, “i jus cant sleep no mo
           cause evertime i shet my eyes i see that door an fore i git ther i wake up an i dont go back to sleep cause i dont want
           walk to that door no mo cause i dont know wat back o ther if its wher they gon put that cher or if it spose to mean def or
           the grave or heven i dont know”. Gaines uses Jefferson’s journal as an alternate view to Grant’s first-person account.
           While the journal is written as though it were for Grant, Gaines actually aims it at the reader to open the point of view
           of one about to die undeservingly.

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Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                            

           In this book, Gaines conveys the utter contempt of whites for blacks in the 1940s in the deep south. In Jefferson’s trial
           at the beginning of the book, the judge and jury completely disregard Jefferson’s highly plausible and honest tale
           simply because they cannot believe a black man. Jefferson’s lawyer does not make any true effort to defend him either,
           claiming that Jefferson was too stupid to have schemed up the murder and referring to Jefferson as a hog and a
           fool instead of a man. “Gentlemen of the jury, look at this—this—this boy. I almost said man, but I can’t say man. Oh,
           sure, he has reached the age of twenty-one, when we, civilized men, consider the male species has reached manhood,
           but would you call this—this—this a man? No, not I. I would call it a boy and a fool. A fool is not aware of right and
           wrong.” This passage shows that Jefferson’s lawyer did not believe a word of what his client was saying, did not care if
           Jefferson died or lived, considered him as nothing more than a boy, a fool, and a hog. Based on Grants telling, so did
           every other white man and woman in the courthouse at the trial. Grant Wiggin’s later questions whether a room full of
           these whites watching a white jury and a white judge condemn a black man is really just or not.

           Gaines is highly successful in telling the story of many real-life figures through two fictional ones. While the story
           focuses directly on Grant and Jefferson, Gaines is actually telling the story of all of the real black men who were
           unfairly sentenced to death in the deep south, using Grant as a window into Jefferson’s feelings. By centering A Lesson
           Before Dying on the growing bond between two black men, Gaines actually tells the story of the Jeffersons who did not
           have a Grant.


           Driving Miss Daisy
           June 20th, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           Alfred Uhry sets his 1987 play, “Driving Miss Daisy”, in Atlanta during the 1950s. It is about Daisy Werthan, a
           72-year-old woman, living in Atlanta, Georgia, with her African American housemaid, Idella. One day, she crashes her
           Chrysler. As no insurance company is willing to insure her, her son Boolie is forced to hire a chauffeur. Miss Daisy
           refuses to have one because she doesn’t want her friends to think that she is so “well off” to afford a chauffeur or is too
           old to drive. However, without a chauffeur, she is unable to perform simple errands like going to the supermarket or
           going to the local church. Her son, Boolie finds a chauffeur, Hoke Colburn, to drive her. Miss Daisy feels like she
           doesn’t need a chauffeur, let alone an African-American, and as a result, is very reluctant to have Hoke driving her
           around. This play and movie was very well received by the public; garnering four Academy Awards awards and nine
           At one of the significant scenes in the story, Miss Daisy does the right thing by helping Hoke with his illiteracy. At this
           point, Daisy allows Hoke to drive her around very occasionally, but does not want him involved in her life. Simply put,
           she doesn’t like him. Some months later, Hoke and Miss Daisy are placing flowers by graves in the cemetery. She asks
           him to put a bunch of flowers by the Bauer grave. Hoke stands there deeply embarrassed and says, “I cain’ read.” Daisy
           replies, “… If you know your letters then you can read. You just don’t know you can read. I taught some of the
           stupidest children God ever put on the face of this earth and all of them could read enough to find a name on a
           tombstone. The name is Bauer. Buh buh buh buh Bauer…” Daisy sees Hoke embarrassed. She decides to help him
           overcome that obstacle and this brings them closer together.
           At the last and most significant point in the story, Hoke still feels the need to help Daisy even though he is too old to
           drive her around places. Daisy has learned to live with Hoke and wants him to be with her every day because she
           prefers his company over other people’s. Since Idella has passed away, she relies on him to do almost everything for
           her. In Miss Daisy’s house, Daisy cannot pick up her fork to eat her pumpkin pie. Hoke says, “Looka here. You ain’ eat
           yo’ Thanksgiving pie. Lemme hep you wid this.” Although Hoke does not drive Miss Daisy anymore, he is there
           because Miss Daisy likes him being with her to keep her company. Miss Daisy appreciates Hoke being willing to be
           with her because she does not have anybody else to talk to. Daisy and Hoke have a very strong friendship and Daisy
           knows that Hoke will be with her as long as possible.
           Although the play was short, Uhry’s writing displayed the strong friendship between a slightly racist, rich woman and a
           friendly, compassionate man in an eloquent manner. At first you can see Miss Daisy not liking the idea of a chauffer
           driving her around. But in the middle and the end, you can see that Miss Daisy relies on him to do almost everything for
           her. This play is very powerful and I would definitely recommend this play to every one of my peers.

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Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                           


           The Second Foundation – Isaac Asimov
           June 20th, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           The Second Foundation by Isaac Asimov is the all-encompassing conclusion to his epic Foundation trilogy. The story is
           comprised of multiple strands of narration; one chronicles the discussion taking place at the heart of the elusive Second
           Foundation itself, and another is the tale of a rebel’s ultimately futile last attempt to bring down the tyrant called the
           Mule. These threads all eventually wind up wrapping together in yet another intricately woven Asimov conclusion.
           When it was originally released in 1953 was sufficiently universal to draw many non-science fiction readers into the
           genre entirely, and the series was praised many times for the level of detailed thought that went into its world.

           This work was tailored to draw one in to the story. More than character development, the tale has an exceptional
           amount of detail and depth of setting which is critical to the reader’s immersion. Although the other books in the series
           have similar grandeur and richness, Second Foundation has something else. Although it is a sequel, and therefore would
           not need to be bigger or better for it to maintain a reader base, Asimov elevates the reader’s perception so much more
           that new readers are drawn in completely, as we see in this quote:

                         And it is the word “known” that is the catch. To any who know the starfield well, from one
                         certain reference point, stars are as individual as people. Jump ten parsecs, however, and
                         not even your own sun is recognizable. It may not even be visible.

                         The answer was, of course, spectroscopic analysis. For centuries, the main object of
                         interstellar engineering was the analysis of the “light signature” of more and more stars in
                         greater and greater detail. With this, and the growing precision of the jump itself, standard
                         routes of travel through the galaxy were adopted and interstellar travel became less of an
                         art and more of science.

           In this quote we can see the depth of the world Asimov sets up for the reader. It contains its own challenges, not only
           for Asimov in making the plot cohere, but presented as yet another catalyst for the reader’s immersion.

                         The other notable attribute of Asimov’s painstaking work is the dialogue. It is more than
                         just a tool to move the plot along. It moves emotions without descriptions and is important
                         in its own right.

                         “It,” faltered the Student, “is a Rigellian integral, using a planetary distribution of a bias
                         indicating the presence of two chief economic classes on the planet, or maybe a Sector, plus
                         an unstable emotional pattern.”

                         “And what does it signify?”

                         “It represents the limit of tension, since we have here,” – he pointed, and again the
                         equations veered -a converging series.”

                         “Good,” said the First Speaker. “And tell me, what do you think of all of this. A finished
                         work of art, is it not?”


                         “Wrong! It is not..”

           In the above passage Asimov evokes the tension of being a student. This piece of dialogue also contains a twist
           characteristic of real world interactions; when the student follows the professor’s words blindly the professor rebukes
           him with a misleading turn. This sets the reader up for a revelation without seeming simply expository.

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Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                           

           Asimov plays carefully with these techniques many times throughout the book and is successful in accomplishing his
           aims. The reader is drawn into the world and experiences the complexity of the world Asimov has created fully.


           June 20th, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           Skellig is a novel that was written by David Almond in August 1998. The book tells the story of a boy named Michael,
           whose family moves from their home on Random Road to a new house that is not only uncomfortable, but largely
           unsafe. The most unstable of rooms is the garage, which is so precarious that the family has scheduled it for demolition.
           Michael is shocked to discover a man in the garage, stricken with arthritis and close to death. The man continually asks
           Michael for oddly specific foods and drinks, as well as aspirin tablets. To make matters worse, Michael’s newly born
           baby sister is extremely sick, and her survival is not likely. As Michael tries to make it through the following weeks, he
           continues to learn about his house, his neighbor, the mysterious man in the garage, and himself as well. Skellig received
           the Carnegie medal in 1998.

           Skellig is a book which attempts to stray away from typical genres and plotlines, hiding even the most important
           information until the time has come to reveal it. For instance, on page 19, the man in the garage asks Michael to bring
           him “27 and 53.” not until the following chapter does Michael discover that 27 and 53 are numbers on a restaurant
           menu, and that the man has been asking for spring rolls and pork char sui. Because of this, the book is not for everyone.
           Some readers will be confused as to what is going on, instead of enjoying the book.

           A very important character in the book is Mina, Michael’s neighbor. He often feels awkward around Mina, particularly
           near the beginning of the novel, when he first meets her. When Michael visits Mina in her yard, he wants nothing more
           than to leave. “I stared back at her. I didn’t know what to say. I wanted to get back over the wall and go home again.”
           (90) With the character of Mina, Almond is trying to represent the anxiety all of us have with our friends and daily lives
           in general. However, later in the book, Michael and Mina become extremely close friends, representing overcoming
           these problems. This character greatly affects how well the reader identifies with the protagonist. In all stories, it is
           important for the main character and reader to have something in common, even when much of the book does not make
           sense until later.

           Mina is Almond’s way of providing this familiarity to the reader.

           As with most written works, not all people who read this book will enjoy it. Some will find it too confusing, some will
           wish for a more specific plotline. However, all people who enjoy reading should give this book a chance. Even those
           who are confused by the story or metaphors can at least enjoy the way Almond implements these colorful characters
           and helps the reader relate to them. Almond greatly succeeds at his attempt to avoid what is typical or expected in
           novels, and all that must be done to prove that is to look at the medals stamped onto the front cover.


           Driving Miss Daisy Book Review
           June 20th, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           Driving Miss Daisy, a play by Alfred Uhry, was published in 1986. It is about Daisy Werthan, a 72-year-old Jewish
           woman, who is now in need of a chauffeur after crashing her car. Her son Boolie then forces an African-American
           chauffeur, Hoke, upon her. Daisy does not utilize Hoke’s services at first. When she finally lets him drive her to the
           store, she insists upon him waiting in the car. Relations between the two become smoother. By the end of the play, when
           Boolie and Hoke come to visit Daisy, who is 97, she quickly requests Boolie to leave. She and Hoke, who is 85, then
           converse, jokingly inserting derogatory phrases they used to use. Hoke then feeds her her pie as the lights fade. The

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           play was received better than the author expected. The play was first staged in small 74-seat non-profit theatre.
           However ticket sales were high and after an extension of the run, the production was moved to a larger theatre. The play
           was then turned into a movie, which starred Morgan Freeman. The play was originally going to be a small production
           that Uhry thought only his family members would like. But being turned into a movie and traveling all around the
           The play accomplishes a feeling of differences between races. Not only in speech styling, but there are small references
           to racial differences within the dialogue. The styling of speech differences makes the play more authentic if the reader
           is simply reading the text, and not watching it be performed. An example is as follows, “DAISY: Why Hoke! I’d be
           ashamed! HOKE: I ain’ no dog and I ain’ no chile and I ain’ jes’ a back of the neck you look at while you goin’
           wherever you want to go.” Daisy’s speech in that passage is very clean and formal, while Hoke uses slang and leaves
           consonants off the end of his words. Though the book is set in pre-civil rights movement Atlanta, the tensions between
           Hoke and Daisy are not very evident, which plays an important role in the development of the characters. In those
           times, two people such as them would not normally be best friends. But the racial tensions enter the text when Daisy
           has invited Boolie to go to a banquet at which Martin Luther King Junior was set to speak. “DAISY: Boolie, if you
           don’t want to go, why don’t you just come out and say so? BOOLIE: I want to go. You know how I feel about him.
           DAISY: Of course, but Florine—. BOOLIE: Florine has nothing to do with it. I still have to conduct business in this
           town. DAISY: I see. The Werthan Company will go out of business is you attend the King dinner?” This quote suggests
           that if Boolie were to attend the banquet, and others were to find out about it, it would be bad news for his business.
           This is evident of the racial tensions because if a white were to support King, whites would boycott the business
           because of racial segregation and prejudice.
           The play feels more realistic because of references to current events within the dialogue. There are a few instances in
           which there are references to current events. One of these is a reference to a bombing of a Jewish temple. “HOKE: You
           cain’ go to temple today, Miz Daisy. DAISY: Why not? What in the world is the matter with you? HOKE: Somebody
           done bomb the temple.” Now whether or not this event actually happened I have not determined, but a reference to an
           event outside of the plot line gives the feeling of a more realistic story, because, commonly, the storyline simply focuses
           on the character and does not ever leave the character. This reference has some effect on Daisy, but is also part of the
           setting of the play.
           Uhry was successful at creating a realistic story. He did this by writing realistic speech styling of the time, and by
           creating a realistic atmosphere using events not pertaining to or created by the characters themselves. These assist in
           backing up the setting of the story, 1948 to 1973 Atlanta, because during this time, there were surely some scary
           moments for a person similar to Daisy. These all contribute to a more realistic play.


           Bad Seed
           June 20th, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           Bad Seed, is originally a novel by William March, written in 1954. This book was then nominated later in 1955 for a
           National Book Award for Fiction. It then became a play written by Maxwell Anderson, and turned into a film directed
           by Mervyn Leroy.

           Bad Seed was written by William March in 1954. The book won a National Book Award for Fiction in 1955. It then
           became a play written by Maxwell Anderson, and turned into a film directed by Mervyn Leroy. The plot begins with an
           eight year old girl named Rhoda Penmark, living with her parents, Christine and Kenneth Penmark. After a suspicious
           death of a classmate, Christine begins to wonder if Rhoda was the murderer, and if there will be more deaths in the
           future. The plot of the play moves along quickly from the start and employs characters that are highly realistic.

           Kenneth leaves for Washington D.C. as a colonel, leaving Rhoda and Christine at home for a long time. When Rhoda’s
           classmate Claude Daigle wins the school penmanship award, Rhoda is prepared to do anything to get the award she
           thinks she rightfully deserves. She pushes Claude off a dock and drowns him to get the award. When Christine looks
           through Rhoda’s “treasure chest,” she is mortified so see Claude’s penmanship award in the box. Christine goes back to
           the pier and drops the penmanship award back into the water. “I drove out to Benedict today to see Miss Fern. And then

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           I mad and excuse to go on the pier alone—and dropped the medal in the deep water there.” (76).

           Leroy, the maintenance man who lives in the Penmark’s basement, has had a feeling that Rhoda is a killer. Leroy teases
           Rhoda to try to find out if she killed Claude. “I know what you done to the boy when you got him on the wharf. You
           better listen to me if you want to keep out of trouble” (45). “It was his fault. If he would have given me the medal like I
           had asked him to I wouldn’t have hit him!” (65). Rhoda becomes scared of Leroy, so she locks him in the cellar and
           sets it on fire. To cover up her deed, she begins to play her favorite tune, “Au Claire de la Lune.” She hears a blood
           curdling scream, and then nothing. Leroy was burned to death. Rhoda then confesses to her mother about killing Leroy.
           “The fire was in the garage! Where Leroy was!” (72).

           After the confession, Christine gives Rhoda some “new vitamins,” which are actually sleeping pills, in an attempt to kill
           her. When Rhoda is put to bed, Christine shoots herself with the family gun. The next day, Rhoda recovers completely
           from her overdose of sleeping pills, while Christine stays in the hospital to recover from her gunshot wound. Colonel
           Penmark takes Rhoda home and takes care of her. While Colonel Penmark is on the phone with Christine, Rhoda walks
           over to the pier and tries to retrieve the penmanship award medal. She gets struck by lightning, and falls into the water
           and dies. The plotline is very solid and fast-paced throughout the play.

           Part of what makes Bad Seed so compelling is that the characters seem so real. Some of their characteristics are like
           those of an everyday family. Christine has a motherly aspect, and Leroy has more of a detective characteristic. Rhoda is
           more adult because she of her evil desire to kill people, but in the long run she is very childish in the way that she has to
           possess things. The realism allows the reader to relate to the characters and make this play enjoyable to read.

           Overall, Bad Seed was a successful book, play, and film. William March’s story of a murderous child was very new in
           that era. The plotline is suspenseful and contains a fast-paced plot with very realistic characters. This play will not
           disappoint you.


           Twelve Angry Men
           June 20th, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           In Twelve Angry Men, written by Reginald Rose, a man is murdered. The obvious suspect is his own son who the night
           of his father’s death had fought with his father and left the house. The murder weapon – a knife—was identical to the
           one the defendant bought after leaving the houses. The man who sold the knife said it was one of a kind. This is only
           one piece of evidence from the many pieces of evidence that point to the boy’s guilt. The story begins in the jury room
           where the jury has just entered. They begin by taking a vote. The results are eleven to one guilty. After this one man
           points out a few pieces of evidence one of the other jurors change their vote to innocent. The play written in 1954 it
           didn’t debut until 2004. Multiple films have been made out of this story before the debut of the play.
           The story efficiently uses the hero’s cycle. The one difference is that instead of having one hero the entire jury is
           collectively the hero. The threshold to adventure is the door to the jury room. The call to the adventure is the necessary
           decision on weather the boy is guilty or innocent. The helpers and the challenges are the pieces of evidence and the
           different testimonies. They help because they move the jury closer to a conclusion but they also hinder because with
           every piece of evidence there is a debate and as the story progresses the debates become more and more intense and
           heated. The elixir is the decision, which they must bring back to the courtroom.
           Rose cleverly gives very little information to make the story more like a mystery story; this makes it more interesting.
           In the beginning the jury has heard all of the testimonies and knows all of the evidence but the audience does not. Also
           the author does not give the jurors any names. This detail differs from the movie where you learn the names of a few
           The author was successful in his goal to write an interesting play but he was also successful in talking about going
           forward with doing the right thing and doing what you believe in.


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Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                             

           An Inspector Calls
           June 20th, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           An Inspector Calls is a play written by J.B. Priestly in 1945. The play is set, however in England in 1912, in the living
           room of the rich middle class Birling family. The characters include Arthur Birling, the prosperous head of the family,
           Sybil Birling, his wife, who is obsessed with the appearance of her family, Eric Birling, the alcoholic son, and Eva
           Birling, their slightly more sensitive daughter, who is engaged to the well-to-do Gerald Croft. The main character in the
           play is Inspector Goole, the mysterious man who appears in their home to question them about a certain young woman.
           The young woman herself, Eva Smith, doesn’t have any lines, as she supposedly dies at the beginning of the play, but
           she should be mentioned because of her importance to the plot.

           The Birlings are having a dinner party with Gerald Croft when the mysterious Inspector Goole visits their party to
           inquire about the recent suicide of Eva Smith, who he reports was found dead after having drunken a bottle of
           disinfectant. Although each of the Birlings at first denies any association with Miss Smith, he questions each of them
           individually and shows them a photo of her and they all admit to having done her some kind of wrong. The Birlings
           range from being defiant to heartbroken when Goole leaves, but all of their mindsets change when they discover that
           Goole is not a real police inspector and that there is no dead woman in the infirmary. They soon begin to think that
           Inspector Goole’s visit was a hoax until they get another call from the infirmary, telling them that it has just received a
           suicide victim of the same description as Eva Smith into their care.

           This play was received well, and hailed as J.B. Priestly’s greatest work. It has been critiqued as an advocation for better
           treatment for the working class woman, a political commentary on socialism and capitalism, a satire, and drama. It has
           gone in and out of fashion and was even made into a movie.

           An Inspector Calls is a haunting play which effectively sends Priestly’s messages, among them the fair treatment of the
           working class woman. Throughout the play Inspector Goole uncovers the Birling’s harsh treatment of Eva Smith, from
           Arthur Birling firing her for asking for higher wages (Page 15), to Sheila Birling getting her fired from a department
           store out of jealousy (Page 23), along with a variety of other injustices towards her. Inspector Goole states that it was
           the combination of these events that caused Eva Smith to commit suicide, and it is easy to see why. J.B. Priestly paints a
           picture of the average working class woman through Goole’s and other’s descriptions of Eva Smith, and then moves the
           reader to pity for her.

           Another objective that An Inspector Calls accomplishes is the mocking of the Socialist Ideal. Before Inspector Goole’s
           visit, Arthur Birling is giving this lecture to Eric and Gerald; “…But what so many of you don’t seem to understand
           now, when things are much easier, is that a man has to make his own way – has to look after himself – and his family
           too, of course, when he has one – and as long as he does that he won’t come to much harm.” (Pages 9-10) Of course,
           immediately after this speech, Inspector Goole disproves everything that he says, for if even one of the Birlings or
           Gerald Croft had looked out for Eva Smith, she might have regained the will to live, and their “looking out for
           themselves” costs them morally, and will doubtless cost them reputationally as well.

           J.B. Priestly does an excellent job getting his points across in An Inspector Calls, it is well thought-out, and deeply
           thought provoking. Although the play features only dialogue, it is powerful and dramatic.


           The Iliad By Benjamin Simontov
           June 20th, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           The Iliad starts out with an apple that has an inscription that says “to the fairest of them all” the three goddesses who
           found the apple immediately thought it belongs to them. The goddesses are Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite. Because they
           cannot agree on who the fairest of them is they go to Zeus to decide. Zeus does not want this so he tells them to go to

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Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                           

           Paris, a farmer boy who is actually prince of Troy, to decide. The goddesses then go to Paris and tell him to decide.
           They each bribe him with riches. But he chooses Aphrodite because she offers him Helena of Sparta, who is the “fairest
           women in all of Greece” and the moment she looked at him she would fall in love with him. Paris then goes to Sparta
           with his brother Hector and he woos Helena. She goes with him to Troy and they get married. This makes her husband
           Menelaus very angry. He asks Agamemnon to help recapture her. This starts the Trojan War. Agamemnon summons all
           the Greek kings, and Achilles, who was dipped into the river Styx by his heel, which made him almost invincible, and
           tells them to gather their armies and to sail to Troy. When they get there they find that the wall is impenetrable. They
           siege Troy for many years, in which Hector was slain by Achilles. Eventually Odysseus comes up with the plan of
           making a huge Horse that would hold Greek men inside. The Horse’s purpose was to be an offering to the Trojans as a
           sign of defeat. The Trojans took it into their city but in the dead of night the Greeks came out of the horse and killed
           everyone is the city and burned Troy to the ground. Achilles was killed by Paris to a lucky shot by a poison arrow to the
           heel of his foot. Troy was destroyed and the remainder of the survivors of Troy fled and was prophecied to have
           founded Troy.

           I really enjoyed this read. It had many surprises which I didn’t see coming. Like when Ajax wanted to kill Odysseus,
           but Athena put an enchantment on him which made him kill all the sheep the Greeks had instead, but on finding out
           what he did killed himself on his own sword. The book also had lots of background stories which all led to the Trojan
           War. One was Paris. He was born of royal blood but sentenced to death because he was fated to destroy Troy. The
           person meant to kill him couldn’t bring himself to do so and tied him to a tree instead. There a farmer came and found
           him and decided to raise him as his own. The book being translated from Greek is extremely hard to understand,
           because of how it’s written. Fortunately the book has a paragraph in the beginning summarizing what happens in the
           chapter. In summary I though this book was great and that Homer may have been blind, but made great stories.


           20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Book Review – Monica
           June 20th, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, written by Jules Verne in 1870, was one of the first science fiction novels. The story’s
           protagonist is Professor Arronax, a lecturer at the Museum of Paris. On a trip to the U.S. he is asked by the government
           to go on an expedition to find an elusive creature that has been attacking ships around the world. On the boat he and his
           servant, Counseil, meet Ned Land, a renowned harpooner. The creature attacks the ship after Ned Land spots it and
           attempts to harpoon it. In a flurry of confusion, Professor Arronax, Counseil, and Ned Land are thrown from the ship.
           After wading for a while they discover a metal surface beneath them. The hatch opens and they are taken captive by
           Captain Nemo, an eccentric submarine operator. In the 1800s the story was well received and it still is today. People
           thought it was fantastical and mysterious. When the novel was published, however, people still had lingering fear after
           the American Civil War. They realized how scientific technology and creations could be used against humanity.

           Jules Verne accomplishes describing a new level of technology for a book written in the 19th century. Consider this
           passage in which Captain Nemo describes the Nautilus, a true feat of engineering: “Its [the submarine] lines are
           sufficiently long, and its curves prolonged enough, to allow the water to slide off easily, and oppose no obstacle in its
           passage. These two dimensions enable you to obtain by a simple calculation the surface and cubic contents of the
           Nautilus.” (p. 70) This description for a reader in the 1800s would be unfathomable. Not just the area and length itself
           are large, but the fact that one could calculate the surface and cubic contents of the vessel with certain measurements
           would be extraordinary. This next passage also illustrates a new level of technology in literature. In the excerpt Captain
           Nemo invites the three prisoners to go hunting with him. They venture through an underwater forest called the Island of
           Crespo and they are first outfitted with diving apparatuses: “The apparatus was constructed expressly to resist
           considerable pressure. The texture of the waistcoat was held together by bands of copper, which crossed the chest,
           protecting it from the great pressure of the water, and to evade pressure so one could still breathe so far underwater,
           leaving the lungs free to act.” (p. 90) The amazing technology of this apparatus is apparent. Verne explains this in even
           greater detail in the story; Verne’s interest in engineering shows throughout the whole book.

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Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                           

           The novel accomplishes a “man versus nature” theme. Throughout the novel there is a desire to find what is attacking
           ships. Nemo also strives to create an atmosphere in a foreign land. Consider this next passage in which Verne creates an
           atmosphere of interest regarding the sea creature: “Merchants, common sailors, captains of vessels, both of Europe and
           America, naval officers of all countries, and the governments of several states on the two continents, were deeply
           interested in the matter. For some time past, vessels had been met by ‘an enormous thing.’” (p. 3) The reader can tell
           that there is an impending search for this mysterious creature. Two continents are curious about it, but there are
           probably even more sights of this animal elsewhere. Another passage describes how Captain Nemo tries to make a
           completely different atmosphere livable: “It consists of a resevoir of thick iron plates, in which I store the air under a
           pressure of fifty atmospheres.” (p. 86) Nemo is explaining his apparatus that he perfected. It is made so that you can
           breathe easiliy under so much pressue underwater. He is succeeding at making an area inhospitable habitable.

           Jules Verne was extremely successful in introducing a new era of technology into the world. Most people in the 19th
           century were not subjected to new technology. At the time of publication of 20,000 Leagues, the horse and carriage was
           still the main method of transportation. Submarines were not very popular and for common people cars were
           semi-popular in transportation and railroads were on the rise. Verne created what was not short of an alternate
           universe—a universe existing below the water; a place where not much was known. The sea was an unfamiliar area at
           the time, just like the creature was mysterious and unknown in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.


           The Miracle Worker-Caroline
           June 19th, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           The play The Miracle Worker written by William Gibson was published in 1960. It is about Helen Keller, who, when
           she was just a baby, caught a horrible disease leaving her deaf and blind. Because of Helen’s disabilities, her family
           would give her whatever she wanted to avoid tantrums because they could not communicate with her. Her family
           consisted of her mother, Kate Keller, her father, Captain Keller, her brother James, and her Aunt Ev. When Annie
           Sullivan came to live with the Kellers to try and teach Helen, she quickly noticed that whenever Helen did not get what
           she wanted, Helen would kick and scream. This play is not only about Annie trying to tame the unruly child but also
           about Annie trying to let go of her past. The play was received without enthusiasm. Most critics agreed that parts of the
           play were good however parts of it were bad. Overall, the play was rated as mediocre.

           This play shows that even people with handicaps can learn just as much as people without handicaps can. Helen has
           two handicaps, as explained in the introduction. The whole story is about her trying to learn to communicate, something
           a baby would learn in its first few years of life. The following quote is when Helen finally understands sign language.
           “Annie: Water, W, a, t, e, r. Water. It has a-name- (And now the miracle happens. HELEN drops the pitcher on the slab
           under the spout, it shatters. She stands transfixed. ANNIE freezes on the pump handle: there is a change in the sundown
           light, and with it a change in HELEN’S face. some light coming into it we have never seen there, some struggle in the
           depths behind it” and her lips tremble, trying to remember something the muscles around them one knew, till at last i
           finds its way out, painfully, a baby sound buried under the debris of years of dumbness) HELEN: Wah. Wah.” Although
           Helen is blind and deaf, she is still able to make the connection a child without handicaps would have, it just took Helen
           more time. This is significant because if researchers had not known that deaf and blind people were teachable then they
           would have never further developed sign language and this would result in many people not being able to communicate
           their thoughts and ideas.

           Annie Sullivan’s persistence is what made Helen Keller who she became. Helen had learned many things from
           Annie Sullivan like sign language, however the most important thing she learned form Annie is the power of not giving
           up. Annie determination is shown in the next quote. “ANNIE: Maybe. I don’t know what else to do. Simply go on, keep
           doing what I’ve done, and have-faith that inside she’s- That inside it’s waiting. Like water, underground. all I can do is
           keep on.” This is significant because when Helen was older, she learned to speak orally however she could have never
           done this without determination and perseverance and Annie Sullivan helped instill these two traits.

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Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                            

           Gibson does of nice job of developing characters, especially Helen. She has no lines and yet her personality definitely
           stands out. Gibson also uses alot of stage direction in his writing which helps the reader visualize whats happening.
           Through character development Helen Keller had a voice.


           The Awakening
           June 19th, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           The Awakening is a novel that is written by Kate Chopin. It was first published in 1899. The Awakening is about Edna
           Pontellier who is vacationing on Grand Isle for the summer with her family—her husband and two sons. She spends her
           time with her friend Adele Ratignolle and a young man named Robert because her husband leaves for work. Edna and
           Robert begin to fall in love, but he leaves to Mexico to pursue business. Robert does this because he senses that any
           relationship between them would not work out. Edna persuades herself to accept her duties as a mother and wife
           although she desires social freedom as well. She and her family return to their home of New Orleans. Edna isolates
           herself from the community and is not active in all of the traditional duties of a mother. Her husband thinks that she has
           a mental problem, but the doctor assures him that she is fine. Edna is left alone when her husband travels to New York
           and her children are sent to stay with her husband’s mother. Edna reaches out to other people and finds that one person
           is in contact with Robert and is getting mail from him. She finds from the content of the letters that he is thinking of her.
           Robert eventually returns to New Orleans and tries to avoid Edna. He confesses his love for her and the true reason that
           he left for Mexico. Edna is then called away to help Adele and when she returns, she finds a note from Robert that says
           that he has left and will not be coming back. Devastated, she goes to Grand Isle to a place that she shares memories
           with Robert and allows herself be overtaken by a harsh fate.

           This novel accomplishes character development. This is apparent throughout the novel, especially, of Edna Pontellier.
           At first, when her husband is reproaching her with her habitual neglect of the children for not realizing that one of them
           had a fever, she leaves the room. “She soon came back and sat on the edge of the bed, leaning her head down on the
           pillow. She said nothing, and refused to answer her husband when he questioned her (7).” Edna begins to cry and leaves
           to the porch. Her tears do not stop running down her cheeks. She does not understand why because she believes that,
           “Such experiences as the foregoing were not uncommon in her married life (8).” This shows Edna’s fragile mindset and
           lack of strong nature. Later, Edna decides to swim. “A feeling of exultation overtook her, as if some power of
           significant import had been given her to control the working of her body and her soul. She grew daring and reckless,
           overestimating her strength. She wanted to swim far out, where no woman had swum before (37).” This shows Edna’s
           new boldness that is not apparent in the beginning. This is significant because Edna’s confidence and development is
           what leads her to have strong beliefs of freedom. This also contributes to the plot because Edna’s beliefs are very
           different from those of the society and create a setback for her as she acts the way that she believes is right.

           This novel accomplishes convincing and realistic detail and description. For example, in the scene in which Edna goes
           swimming there are both of these elements. The people are walking toward the beach where there is a band playing at a
           nearby hotel and smell something. “There were strange, rare odors abroad—a tangle of the sea smell and of weeds and
           damp, new-plowed earth, mingled with the heavy perfume of a field of white blossoms somewhere near (36).” This
           description includes visual images even though it is describing an invisible odor. This can help the reader sense what
           the characters are smelling. The text goes on to describing the scene that the people are witnessing. “…the night sat
           lightly upon the sea and the land. There was no weight of darkness; there were no shadows. The white light of the moon
           had fallen upon the world like the mystery and the softness of sleep (36).” This description not only puts an image in
           the reader’s mind, it also makes them think about the meaning of the wording. Such as “the softness of sleep”, sleep is
           something that all readers can relate to. The reader must think about and imagine what the softness may look like. The
           details and descriptions are significant because they let the reader understand more of what the scene may feel like. It
           helps the reader feel as if they are in the story with the characters.

           Chopin accomplishes effective detail, description, and character development. There is a balanced amount of expressive
           text and text that is more featureless. The character development is very clear and plays a large role in the overall plot.

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Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                             

           It successfully holds a meaningful message about social freedom and gender roles. This novel is effective in expressing
           a strong message and gracefully intertwining vivid detail.


           Wind In the Willows- Lizzie Ames
           June 19th, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           The Wind in the Willows is the story of Mole, River Rat, Badger and Toad. This tale takes place in an animal version of
           pastoral England created by the author, Kenneth Grahame. This representation of human life was very well received
           now and is still popular today. Although this book was published in 1908, the plot line can still be related easily to
           modern day texts. In the novel, Mole is learning about the world around him. In his discoveries, he encounters River
           Rat, a well-developed character, who has a bungalow by the river. River Rat has spent all of his life floating down the
           river on his little boat enjoying himself and his care-free lifestyle. Mole and River Rat get along very well, both sharing
           the same simple pleasures, but their friend Toad isn’t that elementary. Toad has a fancy for switching hobbies and
           pleasures quickly. Toad convinces Mole and River Rat to go with him on his latest adventure with his new prized
           possession: a caravan. During their travels, the caravan gets run over by a motorcar. Rather than being upset, Toad is
           amazed and instantly has a craving for a motorcar. Later in the story Mole gets lost in the woods on his way to Badger’s
           house. River Rat gets worried and decides to go look for him. He finds Mole hiding under a tree and they are both lost.
           They are saved when they happen upon Badger’s house. As they are warming up by the fire River Rat notifies Badger
           that Toad has crashed six motorcars and has been hospitalized three times. The three decide that once spring comes,
           they will fix the problem to the best of their ability. Not long after, Toad is charged with twenty-years in prison for
           reckless driving. The adventurous tale follows these four friends and a motorcar, all discovering their own escapade
           through their strong friendship.
           This book is made for both the adventurous type and ones with an itch for lazy summer reads. The relaxed tone
           Grahame projects at the beginning of the book is artfully spun into a whirlwind of excitement. In every chapter there is
           an undertone of a different emotion, without an explosion of sorrow, rage, etc. For example, in chapter three, when
           Mole and River Rat get lost in the woods, Grahame makes a point of crafting the feeling of hopelessness in his writing,
           giving you the perspective of the character. “…. They pulled up, dispirited, weary, and hopelessly at sea, and sat down
           on a fallen tree- trunk to recover their breath and consider what was to be done…. The snow was getting so deep they
           could hardly drag their little legs through it, and the trees were thicker and more like each other than ever.” Page 50. By
           writing in that way he gives a 3rd Dimension to his writing. Not only does he have words and drawings, but the writing
           also produces feelings. By creating that point of view, an author can make their stories into a popular read.
           The Wind in the Willows is special because it can generate so many feelings, but it can also put you in the place of the
           characters. Explaining the situation with the same level of detail as that character would, almost, like they are telling the
           story of themselves.
           The story can create different moods and then can change them so quickly, keeping the reader on their feet. For
           example, “Toad is busily arraying himself in those singularly hideous habiliments so dear to him, which transform him
           from a good- looking Toad in an Object which throws any decent minded animal that comes across him into a fit….”
           {Speaking of their Mission of Mercy} “’Hullo! Come on, you fellows!’ he cried cheerfully.” This is important because
           it makes every different character able to have room to project their side of the story without being crushed by the depth
           of another.
           Grahame did a wonderful job writing this book. He has not an excessive amount of detail, but he can still easily create a
           picture in the readers mind. He created this tale for the children and adults of his age, and his story is still enjoyed now,
           something very important in a book. Grahame clearly gave a lot of thought into what he was writing and the end
           product was a timeless classic.


           Through the Looking-Glass (Jackie)
           June 19th, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

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Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                             

           I am reviewing Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass. (The page numbers are messed up because I have Alice’s
           Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass in the same book, so Through the Looking-Glass begins on
           page 153.) Carroll received the first complete copy of Through the Looking Glass in 1871, and is published a few days
           later, though it is dated 1872. There isn’t much of a plot, other than Alice, a young girl who becomes bored in her home
           with nothing but school and chores, growing up and learning lessons that may not be very helpful. “’I’ve been in many
           gardens before, but none of the flowers could talk.’ ‘Put your hand down and feel the ground,’ said the Tiger-lily. ‘Then
           you’ll know why.’ Alice did so. ‘It’s very hard,’ she said; ‘but I don’t see what that has to do with it.’ ‘In most gardens,’
           the Tiger-lily said, ‘they make the beds too soft – so that the flowers are always asleep’” (172). This is how most of the
           book carries on. It’s not necessarily nonsense, but a different way of thinking. They live in a flower bed. A bed is where
           you sleep, and if the bed is too hard, then you can’t sleep. I found this book very enjoyable and certainly looking at
           everything from a different perspective. “’He[The Red King]’s dreaming now,’ said Tweedledee: ‘and what do you
           think he’s dreaming about?’ Alice said ‘Nobody can guess that.’ ‘Why, about you!’ Tweedledee exclaimed, clapping his
           hands triumphantly. ‘And if he left off dreaming about you, where do you suppose you’d be?’ ‘Where I am now, of
           course,’ said Alice. ‘Not you!’ Tweedledee retorted contemptuously. ‘You’d be nowhere. Why, you’re only a sort of
           thing in his dream!’ ‘If that there King was to wake,’ added Tweedledum, ‘You’d go out – bang! – just like a candle!’ ‘I
           shouldn’t!’ Alice exclaimed indignantly. ‘Besides, if I’m only a sort of thing in his dream, what are you, I should like to
           know?’ ‘Ditto,’ said Tweedledum. ‘Ditto, ditto!’ cried Tweedledee” (202). What seems to happen quite a bit in the story,
           is that the people tend to be carrying on a normal conversation, but then the people who live there, look at things in a
           completely different way and confuse Alice as she travels to the eighth square on a humongous chess board which is
           where the people live. She begins in the second square, and moves two spaces through the third square by railway, and
           ends up in the fourth square, occupied by Tweedledum and Tweedledee. The fifth square is water, and the sixth belongs
           to Humpty Dumpty. The seventh square is all forest, but a Knight shows her the way into the eighth square where Alice,
           the Red Queen, and the White Queen, will all be queens together. I believe that Lewis Carroll’s point of the story, was
           to look at things in a different manner and always be optimistic. Whether it was all a dream or not, Alice must have
           learned to look at things through the looking-glass.


           Tom Jones
           June 19th, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           This year I read Tom Jones by David Rogers. The plot is about young Tom Jones and his relationship with Sophia
           Western, and takes place in England in around 1750. Tom is a poor foundling, an orphan. Sophia is a virtuous and
           beautiful girl from a wealthy background. Sophia’s father is intent on having his daughter marry Mr. Blifil, Tom’s rival.
           However, Sophia has other interests. When Tom is falsely accused of injuring Blifil, Tom is banished from one of his
           closest friend’s presence, Squire Allworthy. In his exile, he decides to retreat to London, where Sophia pursues him. In
           the journey, the two go through many adventures and escapades, and in the end, Tom discovers that he is not a
           foundling, but actually the son of Allwothy’s sister, Bridget, and a man named Summer. Sophia’s father then consents
           to Sophia and Tom’s marriage, and they are wed. The book was taken as a classic, worthy of the title as the most
           famous foundling in history.

           One of the play’s strengths is the lovability of Tom Jones. He is a wonderful character in the sense that he is
           good-hearted, willing to put others safety in front of him, a Samaritan. He will do anything for his love Sophia, and his
           puppy-like love adds to his charm. Readers will find it easy to relate to Tom Jones because of his lovability. His charm
           also sets up some problems in the book as well. On his quest to find Sophia in London, many other girls are falling for
           him, which provides conflict between Tom and Sophia, setting up a ‘fairytale’ ending leaving the reader feeling satisfied
           after finishing the play, having the reader walk away with a happy ending.

           Like many other books, Tom Jones follows the Hero’s Cycle. Its main elements are that Tom Jones was an orphan, and
           had nowhere to go. Another element is his holy grail: marriage to Sophia and his threshold of banishment from Squire
           Allworthy’s presence leads him on a quest on which he encounters helpers, a busy innkeeper, and Sophia’s cousin. He
           also finds a mentor, the narrator, Partridge. Some of his tests include rescuing Sophia and her friends and family from

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Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                             

           an inexperienced highwayman, an angry Irishman looking for his wife, ready to destroy anything in his path, and a
           jealous and vexing Blifil. In the end, Tom experiences father atonement when he meets his father for the first time.
           When he marries Sophia,The Hero’s Cycle gives readers something readers to relate to while they follow the story of
           tom Jones and his Sophia.

           Overall, Tom Jones is a great play. Tom Jones’ is a great character to read about and experience his love affair with
           Sophia, and Sophia is an equally interesting character who also plays an engaging role. Considering the content of the
           book, it would be suitable for anyone over the age of twelve. There is lots of talk of pregnancy and abandonment, which
           younger readers may not be comfortable reading about.


           Bad Seed
           June 19th, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           The play Bad Seed (originally published in 1955) was written by Maxwell Anderson, and based on of the novel by
           William March. This play was a wild success on Broadway. Even before it came out, the public interest was so great
           that Life magazine ran an extensive story on the production.

           The protagonist is a perfectly innocent eight year-old girl named Rhoda. She lives quietly in the suburbs of a southern
           city in a friendly apartment building with her mother Christine, and her father Kenneth. The play opens with Kenneth
           bidding his family farewell before he leaves for army duty. Once her father is gone, Rhoda, the perfect angel, comes
           home from a school picnic where one of her classmates, Claude, had been found dead. Even though she had known him
           before, and had seen his corpse, she is not affected at all and carries on as happy as ever. As the plot builds, this strange
           behavior, several suspicious visitors, other odd events, and some detective work, leads Christine to suspect Rhoda for
           Claude’s mysterious death.

           Bad Seed uses racial and sexual opinions to help the reader know what time period the play is set in which is the 50’s.
           Emory and Monica are the friendly neighbors of Rhoda’s family. After accusing her younger brother Emory of being
           homosexual, Monica exclaims, “I guess you are … shocked aren’t you? (18)” In modern years, being attracted to the
           same gender isn’t really frowned upon. Monica is clearly upset about Emory’s sexual orientation.

           Leroy, the apartment’s servant, gets yelled at and put down. After hearing him speaking to Rhoda, Christine angrily
           intones, “Just the same you’re not to speak to her again. If you do I’ll report you! Is that entirely clear? (47)”

           In 2010, servants aren’t treated with such disdain. Not many people have servants now in any case.

           Maxwell Anderson lets the readers know that Rhoda is in the wrong, but doesn’t let many of the characters know that
           until the end. By doing this, he creates suspense and draws the audience into his work.

           After the incident on Rhoda’s school picnic where Claude is killed, a few people turn to Rhoda as the culprit. She
           convinces her mother otherwise with her easy charm, but on page forty-one, the stage directions indicate, “Rhoda puts
           her arms around Christine and looks over Christine’s shoulder toward the audience with a very self-satisfied look as the
           curtain falls.” Rhoda’s facial expression clues in the reader to what the truth about Claude’s death is.

           Leroy plays a big part in letting the reader know what is happening. He muses to himself about his opinion of Rhoda.
           “How come you go skating and enjoying yourself when your poor little schoolmate is still damp from drowning in the
           bay? Looks to me like you’d be in the house crying your eyes out; either that or be in church burning a candle in a blue
           cup. (25)”

           Bad Seed is a finely composed play. Its timeless and appealing theme of innocence masking evil, plus its intriguing
           writing devices that add suspense, work together to woo its audience. “It is solely and honestly meant to entertain … As
           purely purposeful diversion it ranks with ‘Dracula,’ and sometimes sets your spine to as much tingling …

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Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                           

           chilling.”—The New York World Telegram


           Appointment With Death
           June 19th, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

                                                                   By Stella

           Appointment With Death is a mystery play that was written by Agatha Christie and published in 1945. It is about a
           family, the Boyntons, who are vacationing at the King Solomon Hotel in Jerusalem. Mrs. Boynton is the matriarch of
           the family. Her husband is dead, and she is a stepmother to three grown children, Lennox, Raymond, and Ginevra. The
           children will do anything Mrs. Boynton says. Nadine, Lennox’s wife, will also follow Mrs. Boynton’s orders. Dr. Sarah
           King and a colleague, Dr. Gerard, think this is strange, but the doctors have no evidence to prove that there is anything
           wrong, although it is seen later in the play that Mrs. Boynton does have ulterior motives. Raymond is interested Sarah.
           Mrs. Boynton forbids Raymond to see Sarah, and Raymond obeys. Sarah, angry with Mrs. Boynton, gets into a heated
           discussion with her. The next day, Mrs. Boynton is found dead, and the rest of the play is a ‘Who done it?’ matter. This
           play has an eerie side to it, but at the same time there is an edge of humor. Although some parts, even after finishing the
           play, still seem to be irrelevant, the play is very well written.

           Agatha Christie creates a mystery by creating arguments between Mrs. Boynton and her family that are quite noticeable
           to anyone around the family at that time, and because the arguments are noticeable, anyone watching the family will
           think, ‘Why?’ That question is what drives the mystery. Now, Agatha Christie seems to have meant for Mrs. Boynton to
           be obvious, but one would think that since Agatha Christie has made Mrs. Boynton out to be a sneaky antagonist, Mrs.
           Boynton would be subtle about her edicts. For instance, on page 96, Mrs. Boynton convinces Ginevra that she is going
           to be ill, then tells her to go up to her room and lie down. Ginevra wishes Nadine to come. Nadine agrees, but Mrs.
           Boynton tells Ginevra that she would rather go by herself. Ginevra agrees, and leaves. This argument would be obvious
           to anyone sitting in the hotel. Indeed, it is observed by Dr. Gerard and Jefferson Cope. They talk about this family’s
           inner workings in depth, noting Ginevra’s handkerchief–ripped by her own hands–and the fact that Raymond was
           reading his book upside down. However, when Cope attempts to talk to Mrs. Boynton about it, she claims: “I’m too
           fond of my children…” (p. 117) and then continues to say that it is them that matters, and she does not take her own
           feelings into account. Mrs. Boynton can control her stepchildren, make them do and feel what she wants them to feel.
           That would be something that she would want to conceal, instead of turning it into a public display. But she does not
           seem to try to hide this at all, although when somebody tries to talk to her about it, she quickly dismisses the topic and
           attempts to show how charitable she is towards her children.

           The answer to the question ‘Who murdered Mrs. Boynton?’ is well disguised, and almost impossible to guess. This is
           because although one does not expect any of the children to have done it, all evidence is there that Raymond, Lennox,
           Nadine, or Ginevra did it. The empty bottle of digitoxin was found inside of Raymond’s pocket, and because of
           Nadine’s seemingly strange attempts to answer Colonel Carbery’s questions in the easiest form possible, it appears that
           she committed the crime. On page 158, Nadine says, “You didn’t know my mother-in-law. She was a very determined
           woman. If she wanted to do a thing… well she just did it. We had to give in.” Then Carbery asks if the family tried to
           dissuade Mrs. Boynton from going on the vacation, because of the health risk, and Nadine quickly replies, “Of course.”
           Nadine seems uncomfortable with this situation, and is eager to end the interrogation, clues that point to her as the
           suspect. At the beginning of the investigation, it seems like Sarah had killed Mrs. Boynton, because of Sarah’s feelings
           towards her, and because then, Sarah knows what Mrs. Boynton has been doing, and is trying to figure out a way to stop
           it. It also seems likely to be Sarah because of the fight the two had gotten into. On page 139, Sarah says to Mrs.
           Boynton, “You’ve acquired a certain amount of hypnotic influence over your family. But the influence can be broken.”
           Mrs. Boynton asks who is going to break it, and Sarah replies, “I am.” Sarah is already mad at Mrs. Boynton for
           keeping her away from Raymond, and when piling this information together, Sarah seems a likely suspect. But the
           reader does not suspect the real murderer until the answer is given. This is important because this play is a mystery, and
           in most mysteries, the author does not intend for the reader to figure out the answer to the driving question until the

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Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                                            

           author feels it is time. Agatha Christie does a very good job of keeping the driving question interesting, and most
           importantly, unanswered, until almost the end of the play.
           Agatha Christie is attempting to create a stimulating and somewhat eerie mystery. She is quite successful, and her
           techniques and characters are what make it happen. She adds new questions for the reader to ponder, but she spaces
           them out so that it keeps the reader wondering without barraging them incessantly. She has also done an astounding job
           at keeping the play somewhat humorous with an eerie edge. The feud between two people staying at the hotel appears
           two to three times in the play at just the right moments, never dull. And Mrs. Boynton, the antagonist, has many sides to
           her: the sweet old lady, the family matriarch, and the person with evil intentions. All in all, this play is very well
           written, but the characters, with their emotions and flaws, are what make the play so enjoyable.


           Bad Seed Book Review Blog (Zoey)
           June 19th, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           The play Bad Seed was written by Maxwell Anderson, based on a book by William March. The play was published in 1955. The story is about an
           eight year old girl named Rhoda. She is loved by her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Penmark, their landlady, Monica, her grandfather, Richard Bravo, and
           many other adults. The only adult who can see through her angelic act is Leroy the custodian of their apartment building. Throughout the play
           parts of Mrs. Penmarkʼs past begin to emerge. Mysterious murders begin to occur surrounding Rhoda until Mrs. Penmark realizes that Rhoda
           has been committing the murders.
           The play uses a child as the murderer instead of an adult to make characters reactions different than in a classic murder mystery, and to make
           the play stand out among others. When Mrs. Penmark finds out that Rhoda has murdered a little boy she does not believe it. “No! It canʼt be true.
           It canʼt be true,” (41) Mrs. Penmark says. Rhodaʼs grandfather canʼt believe it either. “It can not happen. It does not happen,” he says when he
           hears what Rhoda has done. (58) Murder mysteries are very common. A GoogleBooks search returns approximately 19,600 murder mysteries.
           Whenever an author writes a murder mystery, they want it to be different so people will buy the book, or read the play. So, William March used a
           child to make his mystery different. If an adult had committed these murders, their parent would not have protected them, like Mrs. Penmark does
           on page 76, by giving Rhoda a deadly dose of sleeping pills. By doing this Mrs. Penmark believes she will save Rhoda from getting in trouble. If
           Rhoda were a grown women, Mrs. Penmark would not have done that.
           The play shows much character development, especially in the character of Rhodaʼs mother, Christine. At the beginning of the play, Christine
           believes that her little girl is an angel and would never do anything wrong. As the play progresses she begins to realize that her daughter is mean
           and murderous, as seen in the following quote. “So you had the medal [of your dead classmate] after all?…Rhoda, you knew how much [his
           mother] wanted the medal, didnʼt you?” (37-39) At the end of the play she feeds Rhoda sleeping pills to keep Rhoda from ever hurting anyone
           again, or getting taken to an institution. “I canʼt let them take you away and shut you up…Nobody can save you from that unless I save you,” (77)
           Christine says after giving Rhoda the pills. Christine does this because she has discovered that her mother was a murder and she thinks she
           passed the gene down to Rhoda. She also shoots herself so she can eradicate this gene. If Christineʼs character had not grown then the whole
           conclusion of the play would have been different, because Christine would not have died. Maxwell Anderson does an excellent job helping
           Christineʼs character grow, and see Rhoda for who she truly is.
           The author does a good job of making this play stand out among others. Bad Seed weaves together hidden pasts, a murderous child, and death
           in a way that all comes together at the end. The characters experience growth, which does not always happen in mysteries. Often mysteries
           focus on the puzzle, not on the characterʼs emotional changes. Everything that happens in this play, such as the child murderer, makes it different
           and unique. Also everything is needed to uncover the final mystery; nothing is unnecessary or useless. All in all, Maxwell Anderson does a skillful
           job with this play.

           Tags:Bad Seed·Blog·Book Review·FINAL·Zoey

           The Miracle Worker- Kayleigh
           June 13th, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           The Miracle Worker, by William Gibson, ¬¬¬¬is a very well-written and heartwarming play. Written in 1956, it was
           based on the well-known story of Helen Keller, a child living in the 1800’s, who was blind and deaf. Her life was not
           easy, but some may argue that it was her parents and brother, James, that struggled the most. Her parents tried every
           single cure they could think of, ostracizing their elder son in the process. Their lives are steadily falling apart, until they
           alight on something that they have not yet tried: a mentor. Annie Sullivan, a partially blind yet determined young
           woman, is on a mission to help young Helen. But, Helen is intelligent and not too keen on following the rules. The play
           chronicles the constant struggle of both Annie and Helen, culminating in a heart- wrenching interaction between Helen
           and Annie.
           The script itself was well-received by most. Even though people had different opinions about different productions of
           the play, everyone seemed to agree that the story of Helen Keller is “[r]eally and truly powerful, hair-raising, spine-
           tingling, touching and just plain wonderful!” (New York Herald Tribune)

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Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                                                      

           The Miracle Worker closely follows the common literary theme of the “hero’s quest.” In the hero’s quest, there is first
           an unusual birth of the hero, which in this case is represented by the half-deafness of Annie Sullivan, who was born
           deaf. The threshold of adventure would be Mr. Anagnos telling Annie about the Keller family. This is what he says to
           her: “I have written the [Keller] family only that a suitable governess, Miss Annie Sullivan, has been found here in
           Boston…and will come” (16) The obstacles and the final struggle could be represented by Helen, for she obviously
           presented a struggle, as illustrated in the following letter Annie wrote home: “…nobody here has attempted to control
           [Helen]. The greatest problem I have is trying to discipline her…” (page 48). This is significant because it proves that
           the hero’s quest can be seen in plays or books in a non-literal sense. It is evident even without any knights, dragons or
           princesses, but with figurative heroes such as Annie and Helen.
           Gibson succeeds in portraying Helen’s character even without dialogue by showing her personality through the stage
           directions and the dialogue of others. For example, the reader gets the idea that Helen is mischievous and intelligent,
           despite the fact that she does not say anything to reflect that. In the following passage, Annie has just had to climb
           through the window and down a ladder to get out of her room because she somehow got locked inside. During this
           commotion, Helen has been sitting at the water pump playing with her dolls. “Presently, Helen rises, gropes around to
           see if anyone is present, Annie evades her hand, and when Helen is satisfied she is alone, the key [to Annie’s room]
           suddenly protrudes out of her mouth. She takes it…lifts a loose board, drops the key into the well, and hugs herself
           gleefully.” (page 46) This is significant because it is difficult to get a character’s personality across without any dialogue
           from the character. This passage shows Gibson executing his goal well.
           The Miracle Worker was well written, to the point that the reader sharply feels the emotion of the characters. Gibson’s
           goal of writing an emotional and dramatic — yet enthralling — play was not only reached, but surpassed.


           The Fellowship of the Ring
           June 11th, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

                                                                              The Fellowship of the Ring Book Review
                    One of the most captivating stories of all time is the Fellowship of the Ring written by J. R. R. Tolkien, published in 1954. The story is about the
           mythical mountain top troll Frodo. Frodo is the cousin of the elderly Bilbo Baggins, the main character in Tolkien’s first novel, The Hobbit. Frodo is on a quest
           to carry the most powerful dangerous weapon across Middle Earth and through the flames of Mordor where it can be destroyed. “He said slowly in a deep
           voice: ‘this is the Master-ring, the One Ring to rule them all. This is the One Ring that he lost many ages ago, to the great weakening of his power.’” This task
           has been the failure of many men, and driven them beyond insanity. Throughout his journey, Frodo’s burden is shared by men, elves, other hobbits, dwarfs and
           even the wizard. The fellowship comes to his aid on the vicious booby-trapped path to Mordor. are to his aid.
            The obstacles that Frodo and the Fellowship face only increase the determination of the band. Aragorn, on of the fellowship men, warns them, “There are Orcs,
           very many of them, he said. “ And some are large and evil: black Uruks of Mordor.” He tells them that Orcs are, one of the deadly creatures on the quest. He
           warns that Orcs are coming and the rest of the fellowship should prepare for the ambush. When the Orcs attack, “Rams and hammers were beating against [the
           door]. It cracked and staggered back, and the opening grew suddenly wide.” The struggle for the safety of Frodo was top priority and the fellowship has to fight
           to keep him safe. Many in fellowship though, want to bear the ring themselves, because of its immense power. After time more trust was put in the fellowship
           not steal the ring, and the slowly group believed in each other. To be in the fellowship is one thing, but to believe in the fellowship is another. It provides
           character development. The character development helps readers build a connection with each fellowship member as they overcome each new obstacle.
            To really grasp The Fellowship of the Ring reading the prequel, The Hobbit, is a must. The Hobbit tells the tale of Bilbo Baggins and his adventurous quest to
           bring the ring back to his village. The greedy Gollum is a stealing scum that lives in the Misty Mountains. He drops the ring and, Bilbo stumbles upon it in a
           network of mazes. He then finds the power of invisibility with in the ring, and uses it to sneak past the Gollum. Bilbo retrieves the treasure thats guarded by the
           dragon, Smaug. Ultimately he returns home wealthy and and is respected by everyone in his village and is treated like a king. The Fellowship of the Ring starts
           out with, “ When Mr. Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be celebrating his eleventy-first birthday with a part of special magnificence,
           there was much talk and excitement in Hobbiton.” All that is known to a reader new to Tolkien’s work, it that Bilbo is very important to the village. One might
           wonder Bilbo? Ring?Village? It is difficult to understand without reading The Hobbit first. The connection of Bilbo to Frodo is presented at the beginning of
           his books as well. “ When Bilbo was ninety-nine he adopted Frodo as his heir, and brought him to live at Bag End.” We know that Frodo is Bilbo’s heir,and this
           fact is important to the The Fellowship of the Ring because some readers will question how Bilbo got his fortune or comes upon the ring. If you read The
           Hobbit before the The Fellowship of the Ring relationships and the origin of the ring are easily understood.
            J. R. R. Tolkein accomplishes the task of continuing the story of the ring and though the The Fellowship of the Ring is a well written book, some questions
           might be asked if read on its own. The Hobbit will answer most of those questions. Though out the book the key factor is the fact that the bond and
           determination of the fellowship grows and the trust between them are established, the quest to Mordor continues but the burden is lighter.


           The Alchemist Book Review
           June 11th, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

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Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                             

           The international bestselling novel, written by Paulo Coelho in 1988, The Alchemist appears to have a seemingly trivial
           plot, yet has sold more than 65 million copies worldwide. It is not very often that a novel comes around like The
           Alchemist. For it is one that changes readers’ lives forever. Readers enjoy the plot’s simplicity and the structure.

           When Santiago—a young Shepard boy from the Spanish countryside of Andalusia—has a dream that reveals the
           location of a hidden treasure buried at the Egyptian pyramids, his simple life gets torn in two. Part of him wants to take
           a risk and seek out the treasure, while, another part of him wants to forget and continue on with his easy life as a
           shepherd. He decides to follow his dream and on the way meets a king who convinces Santiago he has found his
           personal legend. A personal legend is one’s destiny; the thing we are born to do. During the years of searching for his
           treasure, Santiago finds love, an alchemist, the soul of the world, and many life lessons.

           The novel’s greatest strength is the plot’s simplicity. Although the book has made a large impact on the readers, the
           plot’s simplicity makes the story easy to understand. In the following quote, Santiago tells a gypsy want happened in his
           dream. “‘…at the Egyptian pyramids…the child said to me, ‘…come here, you will find a hidden treasure’” (14).
           Santiago’s dream begins the plot and his personal legend with simplicity that helps the reader understand why he wants
           to follow his personal legend. The next quote illustrates how a thief’s simple dream can have a great impact. “‘…there
           was a sycamore…if I dug at the roots of the sycamore I would find a buried treasure’” (163). The thief’s dream is
           simple, yet it completes Santiago’s personal legend and brings the plot to an end. By the thief having a meaningful
           dream and telling it simply to Santiago the story is easier to understand for the readers.

           The Alchemist has the structure of the hero’s cycle from The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell. One of
           the elements that is most evident is helpers. The helpers move the plot along quickly and help Santiago get to his next
           step. In the following quote, the king of Salem tells Santiago he has discovered his personal legend. “‘But let’s say that
           the most important is that you have succeed in discovering your personal legend’” (21). The king of Salem helped
           Santiago discover that he had figured out his personal legend which starts his entire quest and takes the plot to the next
           step of following his repetitive dream. The next quote illustrates how the crystal merchant helped Santiago. “‘But you
           know that I’m not going to Mecca. Just as I know you’re not going to buy your sheep’” (61). The crystal merchant
           provides Santiago with a job where he learns about the omens, how to speak Arabic, and acquires enough money for
           him to get to his next destination. This continues the plot quickly because now Santiago has acquired more knowledge
           about the soul of the world, which he needs to complete his personal legend.

           Overall, The Alchemist is one of the most successful books of our era. Paulo Coelho’s philosophical writing, ideas, and
           insight are new to literature. The plot is simple, but rich on dreams, love, destiny, and longing; key ingredients to life
           itself. The simple story addresses those magnificent themes of life and touches those who read it forever.


           You Can’t Take It With You (by Gwen)
           June 11th, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           During the year I read You can’t take it with you which was written by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman, it was
           published in 1937. The plot is about a girl (about 25 years of age) who lives with her parents, sister, brother-in-law,
           grandfather, maid, maid’s husband, and her father’s work partner. She falls in love with a boy from her job and invites
           him over for dinner along with his parents, lets just say it could have gone better. She also has trouble accepting that
           each family has its quirks, even though her lover can accept it. The side plot is the interesting fact that her grandfather
           stopped paying taxes and the government has been tracking them.

           During the play Alice, the main character, has character development. Throughout the play she has to accept that her
           family is odd, but in order to do so she has to go through some difficult tasks and her family has to go through dealing
           with the fact that their daughter thinks that they are abnormal. Of course at the beginning though she loves her family
           but soon she talks of them as if they were strangers, “Lucky your not hungry Mr.K. An icebox full of cornflakes. That
           gives you a rough idea of the Sycamores.”(page 27). But that isn’t even the worst of it, she also tells Tony, her lover,
           that they could never get married because her family is so weird, and no matter what he said she would not change her

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Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                               

           mind, “Alice, you talk as though only you could understand them. That’s not true. Why every family has got it’s curious
           little traits.”(page 31). But by the end of the play she begins to accept that her parents are different from others, and also
           that Tony’s parents have their little odd habits as well. This is significant cause it shows that the play has a meaning and
           a moral instead of just being a comedy for entertainment.

           The play, along with having character development, has multiple story lines, one of them is, or course, the one where
           Alice has to learn to accept her families differences. And the other one is where Alice’s retired grandfather has to figure
           out what he is going to do when the persistent government keeps sending him letters about him not paying the
           mandatory taxes. Alice’s plot I focused on earlier so I am going to share with the reader the information about Alice’s
           grandfather and the government. At first he started receiving letters from the government, but he responding to them
           with a simple, and calm “Wonder what they wanted?” (page 15). Unfortunately he learns that you can’t just wander
           away from the law and that not paying his taxes could also hurt his family. He begins to worry when Ed reports
           something interesting, “Well, the last two days, when I’ve been out delivering candy, I think a man’s been following
           me.”. Of course everyone thinks he is crazy at first but they soon realize that the government may be more serious about
           taxes than they thought.

           Hart and Kaufman are very successful in their story, they portray a comedy, a very different kind of comedy though,
           one with two complicated story lines, very in depth characters with life stories. It must have been very difficult for them
           to put all of that into just three acts, but somehow they did it and they made a very marvelous play in the making. Now,
           there isn’t a book version of this play but it seems like there would be, very rarely is there a play that is this detailed
           and magnificent.


           Jordan – Driving Miss Daisy
           May 27th, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit


           Alfred Uhry, the author of Driving Miss Daisy is a master of character development. Daisy starts out as a bitter woman
           but slowly becomes a warm hearted person over a small 39 pages. Hoke does not change but does not need to change,
           his role in the play is as a constant, unmoving guide, and helper for Daisy. He is hinted to have more feelings for Daisy,
           than as a friend and business companion. Those feelings are never allowed to develop because of the time and location
           of this play.

           I enjoyed this play because of the excellent character development and would recommend it to anybody of any age.
           Though the setting is in the south, you never hear of any explicit racism towards Hoke other than his low class job.


           The Nerd
           May 15th, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           The Nerd is a play, written by Larry Shue, about a man named Willum and Rick. Rick was the person that saved
           Willum’s life in the War of Vietnam. But they never met because Willum was knocked out. Willum decided to invite
           Rick over for Chrismas so that they could meet. When Rick gets there, Willum sees that he is not the hero that he
           thought he was. Instead, Rick is a nerd. When Rick’s friends and boss start to get annoyed with the nerds antics, Willum

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Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                           

           starts to question his sanity. Even when he tries to avoid Rick, Rick always follows.
           In The Nerd the characters are made as extreme as possible. Clelia, Willum’s bosses wife, is so stressed that she has
           break plates every once in a while. The play is written smoothly, and the reader is never confused. This play is a
           comedy. Even though The Nerd has a slow and unfunny start, Rick comes in to make the reader laugh. All of his antics
           eventually lead to larger disasters. One of his many antics is showing up to Willum’s Christmas party in a Halloween
           costume. To add on to the chaos Willum’s boss arrives. The Nerd is a funny play that the reader will laugh at.


           Treasure Island – Mark M.
           May 15th, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson, is a book about Jim Hawkins, a man whose family owns the Admiral
           Benbow Inn. Mystery arises at the Inn over a chest and some old buccaneers, and Jim Hawkins finds himself in the
           middle of it. After escaping from the buccaneers, he finds himself on a mission to Treasure Island with Long John
           Silver, the peg-leged man. Before even arriving, Hawkins overhears plans for a mutiny, and there are few left to support
           the captain. Upon arriving, the men are allowed to roam free on the island for a day, and men start to be murdered. Will
           the good men make it back?
           Though this book is an older one, it is still an exciting adventure book. The book begins with the mystery over the
           Admiral Benbow. The adventure begins when Jim Hawkins overhears the plans of mutiny, in an apple barrel. Stevenson
           then vividly describes the scene in which a man from the ship is murdered in front of Jim Hawkins and accurately
           describes Jim Hawkins escape to the mountains. Overall, the book is well written. The book’s six parts seperate the
           main portions of the book. The book is a well written adventure novel.


           May 15th, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           Before the Trojan War, the Greek ships of King Menelaus of Sparta, husband of Helen, are camped at the beach of
           Mycenae. Menelaus’s brother, King Agamemnon of Mycenae is told by his soothsayer that Artimis will not let the ships
           pass safely to Troy without the sacrifice of Agamemnon’s eldest daughter, Iphigenia. But Queen Clytemnestra, Helen’s
           sister, is very protective of Iphigenia. So Agamemnon says that Iphigenia is to marry the great warrior, Achilles, telling
           her to come immediately and bring her wedding gown, but that Clytemnestra is to stay home. In reality, Agamemnon
           plans to sacrifice Iphigenia in her wedding gowns. Iphigenia comes, and is killed on the altar by her father, the king
           who needs her death to go across the sea to kill and fight for a woman who isn’t his. Clytemnestra never forgives
           Agamemnon for killing her daughter.

           Now it is after the war over Helen. Troy is sacked and all of the surviving Greek warriors have come home. But
           throughout the whole war, Clytemnestra had brooded and mourned over Iphigenia, paying next to no attention to her
           other daughter, Elektra. Elektra was waiting for Agamemnon to come home, waiting to finally meet her father, because
           she had been too young when he had left. But as soon as Agamemnon returned, Clytemnestra stabbed him to death in
           his own bed. Now Elektra has yet to forgive her adulterous and abusive mother.

           Throughout the play, Elektra awaits the return of Orestes, her younger brother, who she hopes will side with her to kill
           the sister of Helen. But when, instead of Orestes, comes an old man claiming that Orestes was killed in a chariot race,
           Elektra falls into a deep despair. Clytemnestra even rejoices at her son’s death, knowing that he would have turned
           against her. But the youth by the old man’s side is actually Orestes. Elektra has not seen Orestes since he was a baby,
           and no one around would have recognized him. Orestes secretly reveals himself to Elektra, and together they slaughter
           Clytemnestra and her loud lover Aegisthus.

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Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                               

           I loved the play “Elektra” by Sophocles for many reasons. One is that it fits in another piece to the huge story of the
           Iliad by Homer. Another is that it continues the story of the Cursed House of Atreus. But the main reason is that
           Sophocles tells the back-story, the part of the enormous tale that people hear the least about. “Elektra” is an ingeniously
           written piece, and I enjoyed it greatly.


           Driving Miss Daisy – Mark M.
           May 15th, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           Driving Ms. Daisy is a play about Daisy Werthan, a Jew living in Atlanta in the 1940s, and her chauffeur, Hoke
           Coleburn, who is hired for her by his son, Boolie, after Daisy gets in an accident. At first, Daisy despises Hoke, and
           never lets him drive her anywhere. But gradually, Daisy becomes more accepting, and Hoke becomes her friend, though
           Daisy is not willing to admit it. The play chronicles Hoke and Daisy’s experiences together, and through them they are
           evidently becoming closer and closer together. By the end of the play, Daisy would rather be with Hoke than her
           self-focused son.
           This play is well written. It is a bildungsgroman centered around Daisy and her relationship with Hoke. The play
           utilizes smooth transitions; the curtain never goes down, the lights simply fade and come up on a different person or on
           the same person in a different area. The plot line of the play is simple, all the events happen in chronological order.
           Also, the play utilizes several different current events to insert into the plot line to give it a more realistic feel. The play
           also utilizes some ethnic and religious tensions. Overall, it’s a good play.


           The Crucible Cont.
           April 20th, 2010 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized · Edit

           Earlier this year, I posted on the beginning of the Crucible, a book about Salem and the Salem witches in the 18th
           Century. Hundreds of people have been accused of witchcraft, and subsequently hanged. John Proctor, a man who has
           had a love affair with Abigail, the Reverend’s niece, now feels guilty because both Abigail and his wife, Elizabeth
           Proctor, are both sentenced, and so is he not too long after. Mayhem breaks out, and Proctor tries to fix everything
           before he is hanged, which concludes the story.

           The Crucible, written by Arthur Miller in the 1950’s, disguises Macarthyism, a belief in the time that the book was
           written that all Communists are evil, and should be taken to court and killed. While there are no Communists in the
           play, Miller has substituted them with witches, which were also taken to trial and killed, and were believed to be
           associated with the Devil, and evil. This play was very well written, and the characters were totally realistic and
           believable, and I truly felt bad for some characters, which shows it was well written. I thought that the subject matter
           was very interesting.


           The Importance of Being Earnest
           April 5th, 2010 · 3 Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           The Importance of Being Earnest, by Oscar Wilde, is a book about two men, Algernon and Jack, who like to mess with
           the goings on of other people by assuming fake names, or as it is called in the play, Bunburying. They assume the fake
           name of Ernest, both of them, and try to use the name to win over the hearts of two women, Cecily and Gwendolyn.
           However, when each of them discovers that Ernest is not their fake name, they are both appalled. But, in a complication

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Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                            

           in act three, Jack finds out that he is not the son of who he thinks he is. Who was his mother and what was his real
           christian name supposed to be?
           This play is well written. The plot structure begins quite quickly, but is confusing for quite a while, with all the fake
           names and what not. Wilde introduces the characters well and action gets under way rather quickly, with Jack proposing
           to Gwendolyn in the first act. In the third act, when the life-changing news reaches Jack, the drama is realistic, 62 and
           the ending, some might call it a little bit cheesy, was the ending of a true love story. This comedy is not incredibly
           funny, but still brings out a few chuckles.


           the 13 1/2 lives of Captain Bluebear
           March 18th, 2010 · 4 Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           This book is the story of a bear with blue fur named Bluebear and his different lives. He starts out in the ocean floating
           in a walnut shell and is saved by the minipirates. He then travels with them for his first life until he outgrows there boat.
           This is only the beginning of his random adventures. His lives go from Hobgoblin Island to Tornado City and even to
           Atlantis. The characters range from duo-dwarfs to tobacco elves and even a shark grub. There is a nocturnomath with
            seven brains and a helpful pterodactyl named mac.

           There is almost no way to describe Bluebear’s adventures without sounding totally loopy. The book seems well written
           and not childish. It smoothly moves from one life to the next with no awkward transitions. I couldn’t find a single flaw
           in the story or unanswered question. The characters were well introduced and were well developed. I was always
           waiting for the next chance to read it because it was so captivating. The book did, in my opinion, dwell on some topics
           in more detail than needed. This was acceptable because this made the ability to picture the settings much easier. I
           would give this book a solid 8.5 out of ten.


           March 18th, 2010 · 5 Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           Skellig is a book about a boy whose family moves from a place called Random Road to a ruined, old, filthy house that
           seems to display no end of problems. His recently born sibling is sick and approaching death, and if that weren’t
           enough, he discovers a boy in the garage, the most dangerous place in the house. The boy in the garage keeps asking
           him for Aspirin and oddly specific recipes. As the protagonist continues living in this new place, he begins to realize
           that all is not what it seems, particularly his home, the boy in the garage, and his little sister.

           So far, I’m enjoying this book. It is very much a mystery story, although not a Sherlock Holmes style mystery. There is
           no driving question in particular, rather an urge to discover what in the world is even going on, as the reader is thrust
           into the protagonist’s point of view and the ordinary, yet whimsical world he lives in. I suggest this book to anyone
           who… well, I guess anyone.


           the glass menagerie
           March 18th, 2010 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized · Edit

           The Glass Menagerie is a memory play, this means it obtains much of its essence through memory but mostly
           discussion of past events and the anomalies and fundamental flaws that attribute to the newly formed memory. We

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Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                           

           open on the fact that Tom smokes. While this seems to be insignificant, the habit of having a habit is in essence the
           character Tom. We soon discover that Laura, the daughter of Amanda threw up on the floor at typing school and that
           Tom works to pay the rent for the school. It turns out that Amanda wants to give meaning to the lives of her kids. Like
           many parents, Amanda uses nagging to do this, so Tom escapes to the movies. One day Tom invites an acquaintance
           who Amanda tries to marry Laura to. They end up getting along nicely until he explains that he is already engaged.
           Then Amanda Laura and Tom all leave home.

           This play’s plot was clearly the bones for comedy interpretations of the memories to the directors. The jokes only work
           if the memory is expressed. This makes the plot somewhat questionable and the characters disappointingly whimsical.
           You may enjoy this play if you have the mind that automatically and annoyingly recreates text with ease and accuracy.
           If not you may not want to read this.


           Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
           March 7th, 2010 · 5 Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is a novel written for the pleasure of reading. The story begins with Alice, a carefree
           girl dislikes her lessons but enjoys fantasizing, who upon catching a glimpse of a white rabbit–not any rabbit, but a
           rabbit with a pocket watch!–embarks on a vivid and magical journey in the unpredictable world of Wonderland. Along
           the way, her story twists and turns with multiple side story lines, from a sorrowful mock-turtle to a pig-baby. Along the
           way, Alice will have to puzzle out the confusing and wondrous depths of a fantastic thing–her own imagination.

           One of the best elements of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is the easy-to-read, pleasurable plot. This book is purely
           fun reading, but I find myself wondering whether Lewis Carroll has hidden messages in each subplot. Is there more to
           Alice? I believe that the answer is yes. However, how this book is to be interpreted is up to the reader. I find the use of
           pictures in this book very effective–they help to explain the appearance of the mad hatter or Alice’s wording of You Are
           Old, Father William. They also add to the simplicity of the book–after all, this is a children’s book–and remind people
           who otherwise wouldn’t read this kind of literature that not all reading has to based upon reason. Overall, I enjoyed this
           book because it was a relaxing break from other more complicated reading, but feel that its light nature may not appeal
           to everyone.


           20,000 Leagues Under the Sea – Monica F.
           March 7th, 2010 · 5 Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           This story is about Professor Aronnax, who embarks on a trip to find the famous ocean creature that has been wreaking
           havoc on ships. He and his servant go on the “Abraham Lincoln” vessel, and meet people such as an opinionated whale
           harpooner named Ned Land. Ned spots the mysterious animal, and the crew chase after it, but then it hurries away. This
           happens again, and at one point, after successfully harpooning the whale, the creature becomes agitated. In a flurry of
           confusion, the professor is thrown from the ship, along with his servant and they see Ned Land. The group then rest on
           a submarine (though they don’t know it yet) in the middle of the ocean, when the hatch opens and they are pulled into
           the vessel.

           I really like this book because it has a good balance between action and description. When there is too much action at
           one time, it becomes very confusing. This book does not however. Jules Verne’s description is vivid, and it provides a
           stable understanding of the characters and how certain objects are supposed to look. The book was first published in the
           late 1800s, and has obviously been revised. This causes many asterisks to be after words and tells what they mean on
           the bottom of the page. This is very helpful, for not everyone knows what a Babiroussa is. Overall, I believe this book
           will be a very enthralling read.

33 of 71                                                                                                                     8/18/10 10:54 AM
Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                             


           Snow White of the Black Forest
           March 7th, 2010 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized · Edit

           I bet when I say Snow White you think of true love, darwfs, and evil queens.

           Well, Snow White of the Black Forest is nothing like that. In Snow White of the Black Forest the evil stepmother sends
           her servant to kill Snow White in the forest just like in the Disney version but this time it is a female servant. When the
           evil queen gives Snow White a hair comb that makes her fall asleep the dwarfs come home and find her asleep. They
           accidentally remove the comb from her hair which causes her to wake. After the evil queen gives Snow White a
           poisoned apple (one of the few similarities with the Disney version.) Snow White falls asleep before swallowing the bit
           of apple and the dwarfs accidentally jar it from her mouth. Snow White is saved by luck, not true love.

           The play is very simple and short. Not much of this play is deep, most of it is light and fluffy. The dialogue sounds more
           like that of a 6-9 year old. It is very simple. The story is not verbose, I had no questions about vocab. It was all easy to
           understand. The play has no symbolism, all that you see, is straight out and plain. No matter how hard you look, the
           sleep-inducing comb is just that, a comb. All in all, this play is fun to read, but if you are looking for a read longer than
           1 day, read another play. This play is not very thought-provoking but it is very fun and silly.


           Tags:Black Forest·Different·Disney·Dwarfs·Grrr·Messed Up·Movie·Snow White·Zoey

           Rishi Paramesh- The Paper Chase
           March 7th, 2010 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized · Edit

           The Paper Chase is a book about two college kids, Hart and Ford who attend the Harvard Law School in Cambridge,
           Massachusetts. They make a vow not to go outside their motel room—until the semester is over—because they want to
           pass the class taught by the tough Professor Charles Kingsfield.

           Hart is a student obsessed with passing this class. He pays attention to everything that Kingsfield says. Hart is even
           driven to the point that he breaks into the archive of the Harvard Library and reads Kingsfield’s papers and notes. Hart
           and Ford get the impression that Kingsfield doesn’t care about the students because their professor never acknowledges
           any of their questions or helps them with their work. Regardless, Hart and Ford study as hard as they can to pass the
           law test.

           The story of the Paper Chase was not a good one. The characters were not interesting and there was nothing special
           about them. They were just like your average college students. There was no interesting action in the story aside from
           Hart breaking into the Harvard Library. This play would be better if performed on stage. The language that the author
           used was very vapid. Taking all of these reasons into account, I would not recommend this play to my peers.

           Tags:Boring·Chase·Paper·Rishi·Rishi Paramesh·The Paper Chase

           Alice and Wonderland
           March 7th, 2010 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized · Edit

           As most of you know, Alice and Wonderland is about a girl, Alice, who finds herself very bored on a hot summer day
           and when she sees a rabbit with a pocket watch, she gets curious and chases it (down the rabbit hole). When falling into
           the depths of Wonderland she finds herself encountering things such as shrinking potions, enlarging potions and the

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Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                            

           weirdest kingdom in the universe, not to mention the horrible queen who rules it, the Queen of Hearts.

           The way Louis Carroll describes Alice’s surrounding is quite quirky. It is one of those subtle tweeks that intrigue me
           more. I love how Carroll takes a normal situation, such as the tea party, and changes it into to one of the wierdest
           settings in the book. And also the garden where the flowers are gossiping and the butterflies are actual sticks of butter.
           But my favorite part is the pool of tears she makes and then floats away and arrives at the Caucus race. Overall, this
           book is nothing short of a work of art.


           Percy Jackson and the Olympians book one “The Lightning Thief”
           March 7th, 2010 · 4 Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan, is a very good book about a kid named Perseus Jackson, who, as he finds out, is
           half human half god. In his world, the gods and myths and monsters that we all read about are real, but have remained
           secret from him because of the mist, a special mist that hides anything that humans wouldn’t be able to comprehend.
            Percy wasn’t meant to be born, actually, because the three major gods, Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades, made a pact that
           they wouldn’t have any more children. Children that are of the major three gods are too powerful, and can cause major,
           worldwide wars, like WW2.

           The Lightning Thief is a fast paced novel that mixes fantasy with reality, and uses major landmarks as places where
           monsters dwell. The Lightning Thief excels in humor, character development, and the plot line, which is amazing. The
           only thing that is wrong with it is repetitiveness. It’s not a huge drawback, but it kind of gets annoying. But aside from
           that, this book puts an amazing twist on modern society and architecture. Reading this book will change your
           understanding of mythology, and really invigorate your interest in it, too. This book won’t disappoint you.


           Red Scarf Girl
           March 3rd, 2010 · 3 Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           The novel Red Scarf Girl is about a twelve year old girl, Ji-li Jiang, who lives in Shanghai, China. Ji-li grows up in the
           Cultural Revolution with her grandmother, father, mother, siblings, and housemaid. When she hears that her
           grandmother was once married to a land lord, she is torn about who she should trust: her compassionate family who
           says that her grandfather’s history is in the past or her pressuring classmates telling her to disown her family. When her
           father is arrested for being named a landlord and a rightist, her family faces many obstacles. From Red Guards
           searching her house to finding her name in an insulting Da-zi-bao poster on the school walls, Ji-li must find the strength
           to be faithful to her moral beliefs.

           I enjoyed this empowering story of what life was like growing up during the Cultural Revolution. Although some
           stories are heartbreaking to hear, they show how many people can be influenced by one belief. The Red Guards are a
           big part of the story, and most of these guards were young adults. The strong influence on children of what is “right” or
           “four olds” is part of what makes this novel so powerful. Chairman Mao’s idea of “four olds” seemed to be manipulated
           into new everything. Throughout the book, there are many different views on this topic, and these opinions make the
           book a remarkable read.


           Stories For Children-Isaac Bashevis Singer
           March 3rd, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

35 of 71                                                                                                                      8/18/10 10:54 AM
Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                             

           Stories for Children is a book full of short stories. I am choosing one story to write about. In Jewish tales, Chelm is a
           town full of fools. This is a “Chelm story”.

           Gronam Ox is looked up to as a sage. The story begins with the wise man-Zeinvel Ninny giving an enormous carp as an
           offering of appreciation of Gronam’s wisdom (this carp is alive, just floating in a trough). Gronam inspects the carp’s
           tail. The fish doesn’t like being inspected, so it slaps Gronam with its tail. Gronam becomes angry at the fish, and
           decides it needs a punishment. He cannot decide on a good punishment, so he brings the case to the wise men of Chelm.
           The carp commited a grave crime and must have a grave punishment. A decision isn’t reached-the case is postponed
           until later. The fish is fed well, and kept good care of so that he won’t die. A half a year later Gronam comes up with the
           brilliant idea of (drumroll) DROWNING THE CARP!

           Isaac Bashevis Singer is an amazing author. For this story he only uses the words he needs, nothing else. Yet the story is
           completely complete with no loose ends. Other stories in this collection are very deep with lots of description and
           emotion put into them. He has this amazing talent of using the right tone in the right stories. Isaac Bashevis Singer is
           Jewish, so many of his stories are biblical, with a his own little twist put into them. You can still read this book if you
           aren’t Jewish, although it might be a little confusing. In this book, most of the stories teach a lesson for children. Hence
           the name, “Stories for Children.”


           I Remember Mamma
           March 3rd, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           Recently I have been reading I Remember Mamma. This play takes place around 1910 during a strike. It is about a
           family in San Fransisco that is originally from Norway. It involves Mamma, Papa, Katrin, Nels, Christine and Dagmar.
           All six of these characters have different, but contributing traits to the story. This family, a paticularly poor one, is
           struggling to keep up with different bills, marriages and family members. One character who often stands out is
           Mamma. Mamma is a caring, loving woman who always seems to know what do to. She has three sisters, all uniquely
           different but very unlikable, Trina, Jenny and Sigrid. Mamma’s Uncle Chris is also an outlandish character in the story,
           vibrant and opinionated, many are afraid of him.

           The author, John Van Druten, often has the older characters, originally from Norway, speak in English fragments such
           as “You go to store now?” Although some may find this confusing, I believe that it adds an element of understanding to
           the story. It shows how they have adapted to their lifestyle in San Fransisco, yet it still shows their Norwegian roots. I
           recommend this book to those who love to read stories that happened in older fashioned times, but not to those who
           prefer adventure and mystery.


           Diary of Anne Frank (the play)
           March 3rd, 2010 · 2 Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           I recently finished Diary of Anne Frank, and I have never read any book like it. It is written as a play, so its not from a
           particular person’s point of view, though it Anne was clearly the main point of reference. It is set in the time of World
           War II, when Jews saught were refuge and were hunted by Nazis. Anne Frank was one of the lucky girls to have her
           family find a secluded hiding place behind an obscure office wall. Her family had friends that would bring them food
           and news of the erupting war. Anne also shared hideout with another family, who had an attractive and awkward
           adolescent boy. As the war progresses the characters are tumbling around emotionally and they go through multiple
           rough patches, and over a two year period you gradually get to know Anne and her feelings regarding the gravity of the

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Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                            

           This book was a real eye-opener for me. It helped me see through the eyes of a Jewish refugee that is my own age in a
           time of fear and horrific events. The war was, emotionally very tough and it really showed int the descriptions that
           Anne poured into her diary. Obviously it was an unimaginable event in history but it seemed real to me as I read the
           feuds between the families, the budding romance of Peter and Anne and the many other interactions that were
           happening. Overall, it was an extremely well written play, two thumbs up!


           Treasure Island
           March 3rd, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           I have just started Treasure Island and it is about a boy who is telling the story of when a mysterious captain comes to
           stay at his father’s inn. The captain is a heavy drinker and is very attached to his telescope. As a boy, the main character
           (who’s father owns the inn) is paid to tell the captain when he sees a man with a peg leg. Months after the captain lives
           in the inn, he dies. Of coarse this brings up many mysteries about the self reserved captain, the boy has always been
           frightened by the captain’s past, and I predict he will soon discover the captain’s troubles.

           What I like about this book is that it is a page turner, so far I have been interested in everything. The first chapter is
           written how a mystery story would be, there are a lot of little vague items that will probably come into play later on in
           the book. I recommend this book because compared to some of the other “older” books this one is easy to understand
           (vocabulary, sentence structure) and the character descriptions are pretty good.


           The Lord of the Rings
           March 3rd, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           For my independent reading I am reading the Lord of the Rings (for the sixth time.) Basically, Bilbo Baggins leaves his
           magical ring to his Nephew Frodo. Frodo soon finds that the ring enables him to become invisible, but Gandalf warns
           him using the rings can have serious consequences. In fact, the evil lord Sauron, who forged the ring, lost it over three
           thousand years ago and really wants it back. Every time Frodo wears the ring, Sauron’s minions-riders in black-come
           closer to finding Frodo and the ring. Since it would be disastrous should Sauron get the ring, Frodo, Merry, Pippin, and
           Sam set out to take the ring to the elf-city of Rivendell.

           Anyone who knows me knows I love these books. Probably my favorite aspect of these stories—apart from
           Aragorn—is the world of Middle earth. Tolkien expertly creates a convincing world full of creatures, languages,
           history, and symbolism. Even this early in the story, Tolkien leaves hints to the history of Middle Earth that inspires the
           reader to learn more and more about this world. The reader wonders who Gandalf is, who Gollum is, who Isildur is.
           The best part is that every detail is attended to, and throughout the story characters sing songs, recite poems, or tell
           stories that readers of The Silmarillion and Tolkien’s other works are all too familiar with. From page one, the reader in
           transported into a rich and complete world of magic, elves, and history. No matter how many times I read it, The Lord
           of the Rings always contains mysteries that are revealed to me over and over.


           Cole Stephens-The Guns of Navarone
           March 3rd, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           Right now I am reading a book called The Guns of Navarone by Alastair Maclean. It is a historical fiction set in the

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Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                             

           times of World War two, when the German and Italian army mount large impregnable guns on top of the high cliffs of
           Navarone, an island off Turkey in the Mediterranean. These guns have not allowed any Allied ships to pass through,
           and retired soldier Keith Mallory is recruited back into a highly trained special force to attack the (almost) impenetrable
           fortress and disable the guns. The fortress also stores a large amount of axis fighting units, which are about to eliminate
           1,200 Allied soldiers stranded on a nearby island by the name of Kheros. With many lives at stake, Mallory and his
           faithful crew must disable the guns of Navarone.

           Alastair Maclean has written many many adventure novel books, and The Guns of Navarone is his most famous.
           Maclean uses little amount of description for the action, and a large amount for the descriptions of islands, settings, and
           fortresses. The action and plot is witty and creative, and “could hardly be bettered” (Sunday Times). Maclean balances
           out the description and the action perfectly, and always keeps you on the edge of your seat.


           The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn- Ezra G.
           March 3rd, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           This book is the sequel to the Adventures of Tom Sawyer. The book begins just after Huck and Tom Sawyer find a large
           sum of money. The widow Douglas has taken in Huckleberry Finn. One-day Huck’s father comes back into town and
           captures Huck. He takes Huck takes him to a cabin where he is trapped. After awhile of living in the middle of the
           woods living off of what he and his father can catch Huck spots a canoe floating down the river. Once he brings it
           ashore he hides it deep in the woods. Some time later when his father is away he takes the canoe and escapes. Later he
           finds Jim – one of the widow’s slaves – who has run away. The two journey down the Mississippi River on a raft getting
           into quit a bit of trouble.

           Twain has created a wonderful story. His characters are well developed, their past actions and experiences from The
           Adventures of Tom Sawyer and even before that influence their actions. They are also logical, none of them are
           especially smart or have unusual traits or talents, and they are all very human and are easy to relate to. The plot line is
           relatively free with many small almost unrelated sub-stories, but the story is still interesting and not scattered. Twain
           also is as always funny. Some of his humor is blatant while other aspects of it are subtle.


           The Iliad
           March 3rd, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           The Iliad, a story written by Homer, is about the Trojan war. So far what I read was that the goddess Discord, as to play
           a prank, throws an apple in between Athena, Hera, and Aphrodite. The apple say to the fairest one of all, which triggers
           the goddesses to fight amongst themselves for the position of the fairest. So with no apparent outcome they turn to
           Zeus, who of course decides to take the easy way out by turning to a mortal named Paris, who he thought was fair and
           just and could decide the out come of the quarrel. So the goddesses poof themselves over to Paris and begin to
           bribe him. Hera says to him that she will make him warlord of all Greece if he chooses her, Athena Tells him that he
           will be the wisest person in all of Greece, and Aphrodite offers him any women he ever desired. Paris of course asks for
           Helena the most beautiful woman in the world, and Aphrodite grant him the wish.

           So far this book is a great read but complicated, because it was directly translated from Greek. Also the vocabulary and
           the way they talk are a little hard to understand. Also if you like Greek Mythology you should also read this book,
           the gods interfere a lot in this story, such as Apollo would always be raining arrows of death upon the Greeks while
           Poseidon boosts their moral, causing them to fight better. Also if you like warfare you should also read this book.


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Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                                

           The Big Over Easy-noah
           March 3rd, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           The Big Over Easy is a story about Inspector Jack Spratt of the Nursery Crime Division. The Nursery Crime Division
           or also know as the NCD is the lesser known police department that deals with cases that are related to nursery stories
           such as the homicidal gingerbread man or their new case: the death of Humperdinck Jehoshaphat Aloysius Stuyvesant
           van Dumpty or better known as Humpty Dumpty. As Jack tries to solve the case he is accompanied by his new assistant
           Mary Mary (no, she is not from New York, New York) and as they get deeper into the case they find out what is really
           going on.

           This book has very little criticism. Not only is it hilarious, serious, witty, full of deceipt and much more but its normal
           way of describing awkward situations is amazing. The realistic scenario of “the home scene” (kids becoming teenagers,
           experimental babies, etc…) is well portrayed and the irony is just plain…well…ironic. Every time I read this I
           understand more and more of the more adult humor. The only criticism I would give this book would be that it would
           be more known. This is an awesome book that is definitely worth a try.


           Stella – Agatha Christie short stories
           March 2nd, 2010 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized · Edit




           Jacob O – Beowulf
           March 2nd, 2010 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized · Edit

           Beowulf is a hero that comes from Geatland, hears that the mighty King Hroogar is under attack by a erce feigning
           creature called Grendel. Grendel is an outcast from the village, so when King Hroogar builds a grand hall to the people,
           so the people host a fair of which includes singing and celebrating. Grendal is angered, and attacks the warriors and
           devours them. Beowulf sets a journey to Heorot to help the king fight off the beast. Upon arrival Beowulf sets camp for
           he and his warriors to rest for the night, but the beast attacks him and his soldiers, defenseless, Grendel devours one of
           the soldiers. Beowulf—possessing no weapon— springs upon the retched monster and ripping its arms off leaving it
           unable to fend for itself, Grendel crawls back to the forest were he dies.

           Though only reading the first of the many adventures of Beowulf I am immersed in its heroic tales of a great warrior.
           The book itself is hard to read because it was originally written in Old English and not much has been done to translate
           it to simpler texts. Reading part of the book I notice that it is similar to Greek myths and especially Norse myths, but it
           has an irresistible suspense that leaves you wanting for more. The story is not just head on blood and gore but an

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Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                             

           adventure that unravels slowly so you are never bored with just fighting. This is a book that I will definitely read till the
           end and gladly post more about.


           The Valley of Fear-Andrea
           March 1st, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           I am currently reading the Valley of Fear by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It is a Sherlock Holmes mystery that takes place
           on the Birlstone Manor after the horrible murder of Mr. Douglas. Holmes is alerted of a danger to Douglas when he
           receives a cypher telling of this from the mysterious Fred Porlock. However, When Holmes receives this letter, it is
           already too late, for Douglas has been killed at his manor house. Now Holmes and Watson will travel to the Birlstone
           Manor to attempt to solve yet another puzzling mystery.

           I am reading The Valley of Fear as a comparison to The Hound of the Baskervilles, which I read for my book review.
           Although the plots so far are very different, there are many similarities–in both there are mysterious warning letters, a
           handful of suspicious characters, and similar beginnings. However, I am enjoying this one more because its plot is a lot
           faster moving than The Hound of the Baskervilles. Still, both showcase Doyle’s remarkable gift for writing, and The
           Valley of Fear is-although lesser known-a good read for Sherlock Holmes fans.


           ‘Elizabeth The Queen’ Gwen S.
           February 28th, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           ‘Elizabeth The Queen’ is three act play written by Maxwell Anderson. The story starts out with a knight, Raleigh,
           talking to a lady in waiting to the queen, Penelope, about the Queen’s arrival. After the Queen arrives she talks to her
           lover at the time named, Essex. Later though they have to decide whether the Queen will be willing to let her lover go
           off to war even if it means that they may be separated forever. Though Essex feels he must go, because he was teased
           by Raleigh about being only a lowly assistant to Raleigh, he also does not want to leave his lover.

           My feelings on this play are that it is a good novel but the way they talk feels like they are jumping from subject to
           subject without explaining much. This leaves the reader confused and wondering, perhaps this was the trick of the mind
           that Anderson intended. Also Anderson has a very clever way of adding sly tones to actors voices which makes the play
           more interesting. Other than the way they speak, this play is a very good and tells a lot about Queen Elizabeth’s
           complicated feelings toward her country and her lover.


           Of Mice and Men-Caroline Motzer
           February 28th, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           Of Mice and Men is a play about two travelers looking for work. Their names are George and Lennie. George is smart
           and somewhat mean to Lennie. Lennie is huge and muscular however not very smart and has trouble remembering
           things. Lennie also does not know his own strength and often kills animals or hurts things when he is just trying to be
           nice. George dreams of buying a farm and living of the fat of the land. When George and Lennie get a job working at a
           ranch they meet many new people. This is as far as I have gotten so far.

           So far I really like this play. The only problem is that the characters use a lot of slang, which is very hard to understand.

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Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                              

           They espeacially use slang when they talk about 1. one of the worker’s wife 2. the black man that works at the ranch. I
           can tell this play was not written recently because they discriminate against the black man. He lives in his own house
           along with some dogs. Most of the workers don’t even want to go into his house. They only thing they do together is
           play horseshoes. So far its a very good play.


           All Quiet On The Western Front
           February 28th, 2010 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized · Edit

           All Quiet on the Western Front was written by Erich Maria Remarque and published in 1929. This novel is known as
           the greatest war novel of all time throughout the world. This book is the testament of Paul Baumer, who enlists with his
           classmates in the German army during World War I. These men are strong and robust soldiers, but their world
           dramatically changes after their first bombardment in the trenches. Throughout the novel Paul, holds to a single vow: to
           fight against the hatred that puts young men of different uniforms against each other. In the end, when Paul visits his
           home town on leave, he finds himself struggling to relate to a town he once called home.

           All Quiet On The Western Front is a slightly dark novel because of Remarque’s vivid descriptions of horrific moments
           in the life of a soldier, such as war and death. The novel is very engaging because all the characters have very strong
           emotions. As a result of Remarque being a veteran of World War I, he makes all the situations imaginable for readers
           who would find them foreign. In the beginning, the names of characters are hard to remember which makes the start a
           little harder to read than the rest of the book. I would recommend this book, only if you don’t get disturbed by
           descriptions of death and war.


           Kayleigh- Black Beauty
           February 28th, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           Black Beauty, by Anna Sewell, follows the life and growth of a horse named Black Beauty. It is a story that starts at his
           birth and follows the adventures of him and his two friends, Ginger, a slightly ill-tempered mare, and Merrylegs, a fat
           grey pony. It is told from the perspective of Black Beauty himself, much like our animal perspective reports and White

           I am not done with the book yet, but so far it has shed new light on what horses think about the things that we think are
           normal, like bridals and saddles. I like this book so far because it is uniquely written in the perspective of the horse. I’ve
           been told that Black Beauty is very sad. It seems like all movies and books with horses in them are sad. I wonder why
           horses are always associated with sadness. Besides the sadness, this book is well written and easy to understand without
           being colloquial. Black Beauty, like White Fang reflects on how human’s actions affect animals. For instance, Black
           Beauty is kind and gentle because his master was kind to him. But Ginger is ill tempered because her master whipped
           her. I can’t wait to see how this book ends.


           The Secret Garden
           February 28th, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           The Secret Garden is about a young girl named Mary Lennox who is very unappreciative of what she has. She was born
           in India by to wealthy British parents who want nothing to do with her. When she was born, he parents left her with an

41 of 71                                                                                                                        8/18/10 10:54 AM
Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                            

           ayah, which is someone hired to take care of the family. When a disease is spread throughout India, she is orphaned and
           forced to be sent back to live with her uncle back in England. Her uncle is still devastated about his wife dying ten
           years ago, so when he leaves on ships constantly, Mary is in the hands of his servant, Mrs. Medlock. She meets a
           women named Martha Sowerby who is the chambermaid for her uncle. She tells Mary about a secret garden behind a
           brick wall. This locations had been her uncles wife’s favorite place, but ever since she died her uncle locked up the
           place and hid the key in an unknown area. With the help of a few people and animals, she finds some secrets about the

           This book is an adventurous story by Frances Hodgson Burnett and written in 1911. This story is full of mystery and
           suspense while involving magic. Frances captures the thought of a young girl like Mary incredibly well. Unlike some
           old stories I have read, I really feel engaged by what is happening in this book. So far this book has been very
           interesting and fun. The Secret Garden is definitely a must read!


           Irene – Time After Time
           February 28th, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           I read the play Time After Time. It is about Jack the Ripper (John) and another character named H.G. Wells. H.G
           manages to build a time machine, only John, on the run from the police, steals it and travels into the 21st century. H.G,
           upon the return of his time machine, must journey after John in an attempt to spare the lives of the soon-to-be victims of
           his treacherous company. Time After Time is about H.G and John’s adventures in their new century, and other
           protagonists include the innocent Amy, who is befriended by H.G. through their experiences.

           Let me begin by stating that Time After Time is not for the faint of heart. Two items that appear often in the plot are the
           scalpel and the ice pick, and I feel inclined to describe no more of the matter. I would recommend this play only if you
           are comfortable with reading about violence and cruelty. Aside from this factor, the writing is thorough and interesting,
           and the story overall is captivating. Description is fortunately not overly vivid in the violent scenes, and the characters
           are well developed. Time After Time is rather short, but the story does not seem abbreviated or drawn out. A good play,
           to be sure, but the cruelty within is not easy to avoid when reading.


           The Crucible: Kian W. (Pt. 1)
           February 28th, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           I am reading (and am approximately halfway through) Arthur Miller’s 1953 play The Crucible. It is set in late 18th
           century Salem, Massachusetts, and the plot is focused on the witches of Salem. In the beginning, we see Reverend
           Parris praying over the unconscious body of his daughter, Betty. He had found Betty, his niece Abigail, his Barbadian
           slave-girl Tituba, and several other village girls dancing in the woods in front of a pan of “soup.” Soon, Reverend Hale
           comes from another town to examine: he says it is definitely witchcraft, and that the Devil has come to Salem. Many
           other residents of Salem start saying that they have been having strange happenings in their lives recently. Abigail then
           accuses a long list of women from the town of being witches and of having helped in the process of witchcraft. The
           women, terrified of being hanged if they denied, pleaded guilty. Soon the “witches” of the town are put in the jail, much
           to the discontent of their husbands.

           This book, though written about the late 18th Century, many of the events in the book are showing hints of
           McCarthyism. McCarthyism was a belief in and around the time that this play was written: it is, in shortest terms, the
           “belief” that Communism is horrible, and for a while during that period, many Communists and people with
           Communist views and ideas (Aaron Copland and Arthur Miller, for example) were often put on trial. Arthur Miller
           expresses this by substituting witches for Communists. This play is very well written, and the views and context and

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Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                             

           deepness of the subject are sometimes surprising. I am looking forward to finishing it very soon.


           Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, Entry 1
           February 28th, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           I have been reading Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, which takes place in the Late 18th and early 17th centuries during
           and after the french revolution. So far the book is about the Bishop of Digne, a charitable man who was appointed to his
           post by Napolean, and Jean Valjean, a peasant who seeks refuge in his house after he received 19 years in prison for
           stealing a loaf of bread for his starving children. The story describes the Bishop of Digne as a man who will not treat
           himself to any luxury and donates all his money to the poor and Jean Valjean as a peasant who once led a simple, life of
           extreme poverty, but who has been affected badly by prison.

           I have appreciated Victor Hugo’s writing, although I find it hard to understand on occasion. When describing his
           characters, he writes about every facet of their personality, their habits and their deeds the reactions of those around
           them. I was impressed by the realistic faults of the Bishop of Digne, and the vivid description of the changes in Jean
           Valjean’s personality caused by his imprisonment. Although I think that Hugo’s writing style is perhaps excessively
           roundabout, I look forward to finishing Les Miserables, and I understand how the highly realistic characters and strong
           opinions on French Politics that Hugo wrote about have made this book a “classic”.


           The Golden Compass
           February 28th, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           Lyra Belacqua lives in a world similar to ours– however, our souls do not walk besides us. In Lyra’s world, your
           daemon accompanies you wherever you go, and can shape shift until your adulthood, when it settles on an animal form
           that best represents you. When Lyra hears from her uncle of a strange and mystical power underlying every universe, its
           relation to daemons, and the experiments of it with kidnapped children and their daemons, she is drawn into an
           enormous and dangerous conflict in the far North, where the armored bears and witch clans dwell– not to mention the
           head of the immoral experiments. Each new occurrence drives her deeper into the struggle, and when Lyra, the
           supposed orphan discovers not only her parents, but their significant roles in this conflict, she is deeply confused and
           torn. Lyra is especially so when she realizes her “uncle”’s efforts not only are irritating the church, but openly and
           intentionally contradicting them. Lyra’s exceedingly amazing natural ability to control the deep power of the universes
           via a small device resembling a golden compass leads her closer and closer to the heart of the entire superhuman battle
           throughout the whole trilogy of His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman.

           This thrilling tale of a fantastic world and the other layers of universe on top of it is touching and powerful, exciting and
           engaging. Much-loved and skillfully crafted, “The Golden Compass” earned and deserved the Carnagie Medal. In
           reading it, one has to appreciate the immense planning, and how each turn is subtly hinted at, then explosively revealed,
           adding a twisting and multi-layered plot worthy of any reader. Philip Pullman continues the intricate plot skillfully
           through “The Subtle Knife” and “The Amber Spyglass”, in an mysterious and sinuous work of literary art.


           Angel in the Night
           February 28th, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

43 of 71                                                                                                                       8/18/10 10:54 AM
Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                            

           I am currently reading a play called Angel in the Night. It is set in 1942 during the time of World War II. This is a true
           story about Pawlina, a teenage girl, who hides four Jews in her family barn despite her parent’s disapproval and cares
           for them by herself for two years as the Nazis invade Poland. She brings them food and water and cares for them in a
           kind motherly way. Pawlina stays loyal to them even as she is arrested, imprisoned, and beaten by Nazi soldiers. Along
           the way, she meets other characters that she also befriends.

           I find this play to be very interesting and emotional. Some of the imagery that is seen by the characters, although it is
           not described in detail, is rather gory. Images such as one woman’s husband being beaten to the point that his face was
           unidentifiable and he is thrown into a ditch. This play is also very emotional because many of the characters are in very
           difficult positions. Pawlina is not supposed to help the Jews and the Jews are undergoing tragic events and many are
           dying of thirst or hunger and live in fear of being found by the Nazi soldiers. As I was reading this play I found it to be
           a great page turner and I felt as if I were there in the story with the characters themselves.


           Mark M-Bad Seed
           February 25th, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           Bad Seed is a play about a little girl of 8, Rhoda, and her mother, Christine, who live in apartment building with Aunt
           Monica, the over obsessive gift giver. The books plot line is essentially harmless, perfect little Rhoda does nothing but
           good, and a few murders. By the end, we learn little Rhoda has killed a few people. Meanwhile, her mother’s suspicion
           and stress levels sky rocket, eventually ending up with her going over the edge. The story’s length is only over the
           timespan of a few weeks, during which the husband/father of the house is off serving military duties in Washington DC.
           Bad Seed is a well written and interesting play. The whole story takes place in only one room, but this restriction
           doesn’t in any way hinder the development of the story. During the story, you can see what is going to happen rather far
           in advance, but the mystery left out of it is HOW it will happen, which keeps you on edge. Also the whole part about
           the innocent little child really confuses and disorients the mind. Christine figures out that Rhoda commited the crime,
           but Rhoda still, and rather blatantly, lies to Christine. This is a well written play and will not disappoint.


           Jackie M – Wizard of Earthsea
           February 8th, 2010 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized · Edit

           I have been reading A Wizard of Earthsea. It is about a young boy who’s name is Ged. His adventure begins in his small
           village. He learns magic from the witch in the village and soon, he is sent away to an academy on the island of Roke.
           He is being bullied by the richer students at the academy, so to prove to them that he is just as powerful and smart, he
           tears a hole in the fabric of space and time to bring a spirit into the world of the light, but instead a monster with no
           physical form other than dreams, stalks and tries to kill him. When he is sixteen, he becomes a wizard and must
           continually escape from the clutches of the evil that his chasing him, while also taming dragons, and protecting the
           islands from disaster.

           This book was written by a well-known author, Ursula K. Le Guin. I do believe that this book is very enjoyable to read
           because of how the story is enhanced and enlightened by the use of magic throughout the entirety of the book. In many
           places in the book, an enchantment makes a serious impact on the story, therefore the infrastructure is built on magic


           All Quiet on the Western Front (cont.) kw

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Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                                  

           January 5th, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           When I stopped in the blog last time, Paul Baumer (I made a mistake and called him Muller last post) and his
           army-buddies nearly whip their drill-seargeant, Himmelstoss, to death. Soon Paul is given leave and goes home to his
           poor family and his mother who has cancer again. He decides that taking leave is worse than war because of the part
           that comes directly after. He soon goes back and finds his old buddies, although one of them was shot in the back and
           died. Soon they are on the front and are battling the French, and guarding over an abandoned village. Soon more of his
           comrades are dead, and he is put in a hospital with his friend Kropp. Kropp dies while Baumer receives a wooden leg.
           He later leaps into a trench and kills a Frenchman, and then tries to comfort him and heal him, and promises the dead
           man that he would write to his wife. Soon, even his best friend, Katzinsky, is shot in the knee and the head, and dies.
           Baumer is alone, and he knows no one. He spends the last few days thinking about life and how all he ever knew about
           life was death, misery, and war. He soon dies a happy, peaceful death.

           This book was truly amazing, and made me very sad every time someone died, because I had grown so attached to
           these foolish, young characters. Perhaps 30% or more of this book is Baumer just thinking about life, about death, about
           how miserable he is, about everything. This book is very heartwarming, but also very gory/bloody, especially when the
           author, Remarque, describes certain injuries in the hospital, like intestine injuries. If you get creeped out when you read
           about blood and gore, I would not recommend this book. The last paragraph of this book is so heartwarming that I had
           to include it: “He had fallen forward and lay on the earth as though sleeping. Turning him over one saw that he could
           not have suffered long; his face had an expression of calm, as though almost glad the end had come.”


           Anna T – Watership Down
           January 5th, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit


           Although Watership Down has a somewhat undeveloped vocabulary, it delivers the messages clearly and effectively.
            The addition of the rabbit language “lapine” is creative. The novel is well-structured and organized. From the outer
           eye, the book is merely children’s entertainment, though when you dig deeper you find it is comprised of valuable
           morals that most adults don’t learn is their entire lifetime. I encourage anyone to read this book.


           Ben- The Golden Calf
           December 7th, 2009 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           The book that I am reading is the Golden Calf. This book is originally written in Russian, and that is the language I am
           reading it in. I have not completely finished the book but so far it is about a con man named Astapbender who meets up
           with another con man named Panikofski. They meet up when Astapbender tries to pull a con of by pretending to be
           Captains Shmit’s (Russian Hero who fought in the Revalution) son, and asking for money from the mayor of the city.
           But things went wrong when another con man pretendingto be Captains Shmit’s son came in to. Than the other man
           who was Panikofski, started playing out this huge sharade about how they’re both brothers. Then they walk out of the
           building, and another man pretending to be Captains Shmit’s walked in the building right after the two con men left.

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Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                               

           This book is an absolutely hilarious novel, but there are some things that you can not translate from the Russian
           language to English. I strongly recommend reading this book, but if you can read Russian you will probably like it


           Gates of Fire-Steven Pressfield
           December 7th, 2009 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           In the glorified days of ancient Sparta, a battle rages at Thermopylae, “The Hot Gates” or “Gates of Fire” in Greek.
           Under the rule of King Leonidas, three hundred Spartans stand strong against over ten thousand enemies, defending the
           wall that they have hastily built. This extraordinary novel takes place after the fierce battle, with Xerxes’s historian
           recording the tale as vividly recounted by the mortally wounded last of three hundred Spartans, Xeones. Xeones plays
           out not only the war itself, but his life and others, the others who he had watched be slaughtered. He tells the story of
           his life, from the sacking of his city to the acquaintances he stumbled upon. He conveys the mixed feelings of a man
           with no country, a man who chose Sparta, and a man who had other cares than a war he had no place in. He spins this
           tale to the anonymous historian, the enemy, an individual from the force that slays his kinsmen. Xerxes’s historian is the
           only reason that the tale of three hundred Spartans is not lost today. That, and the grim epitath left on the stone in
           Greek: “Tell the Spartans, stranger passing by, that here, obediant to their laws, they lie.”

           While reading this book, I felt completely engaged in the culture. Steven Pressfield, the author, acutely captures the
           time period, making the smallest cultural details seem natural and everyday. Minor lifestyle facts managed to be woven
           subtly into the plotline. The exquisite writing aside, this historical battle of three hundred of the worlds most highly-
           trained soldiers standing and fighting- but never fleeing- the massive oppossing army is appropriately conveyed through
           this delightful work of art- Gates of Fire.

           Tags:gates of fire·greek·leonidas·sparta·xerxes

           Little Women
           December 7th, 2009 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           I have begun reading Little Women. The book is about four girls who live with their mother during the Civil War. Their
           father is a high ranking Army Officer. The book is about their daily lives, and how they manage to get by with very
           little…I had found the book quite dull at first, until my mother convinced me to give it another go. 2nd time’s the
           charm! It takes a little while to get in the “groove” of the book. It is actually based off of the true lives of four girls who
           had the same names as the book characters. The characters seemed a bit shallow, but it takes a little getting used to. The
           good sisters pride themselves on giving their Christmas breakfast to a poor neighbor, and eating only bread and milk. I
           found this odd. Many people now eat toast, because they want to, and they are happy to, but then, once again, my
           mother intervened. She had me read what they would have had instead and list it:

              1.   Porridge
              2.   Muffins
              3.   Cream
              4.   Pancakes

           Compared to that luscious feast, bread and milk is quite a letdown! As you continue reading, it is a thrill to watch the
           interactions of tomboy Jo at a ball, and the four girls Christmas play! All the stories are VERY developed, and even the
           play the girls perform is well written. The story switches perspective often, which is a nice touch.

           Little Women is a must read!

46 of 71                                                                                                                         8/18/10 10:54 AM
Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                             


           Tags:Little Women·Zoey

           Stella – Diary of Anne Frank
           December 7th, 2009 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           I’m currently reading The Diary of Anne Frank. It is Anne’s actual diary from when she was younger. The plot is about
           a young Jewish girl (Anne Frank) who goes into hiding with her family-hiding from the Nazis. The house-or apartment
           building, I guess you could call it-where Anne and her family are hiding is shared by another family, called the Van
           Daans, and another man. The entrance to the living space is concealed behind a bookcase in an office building. Life is
           hard for the families, because on the weekdays, none of the people may go to the bathroom, make loud noises, run
           around, or even talk loudly. If someone were to do any of these things, the whole settlement would risk being
           discovered. On weekday nights, nobody is allowed to turn lights on after a certain time, because the neighbors might
           see the light through the window and find them out. On the weekends, there is a bit more freedom, but they must still be
           careful, because janitors or mailmen may be in the building, and could hear them. Obviously, none of them can go
           outside, and tensions are riding high in the house. There are too many people in too small a space, and people are
           getting on other people’s nerves. Anne is much like her father, while her sister Margot is much like her mother. Anne’s
           mother will always side against her, and Anne’s father remains passive towards these quarrels. Anne confides in her
           diary. As the problems between the family members get stronger, Anne’s relationship with her mother grows more and
           more distant. In fact, she even says in one of the entries that she hates her mother. Anne’s mother doesn’t know how to
           rekindle the bond between her and her younger daughter, and when she tries, Anne rejects the attempts. As the war goes
           on, the inhabitants grow more and more afraid of being found out, and it seems to Anne that almost anything she does
           gets her a scolding.

           I really like this book so far because not only am I really interested in the time period of World War II, but it shows the
           point of view of someone who wasn’t captured, but of someone who had to hide out, and who had to live in the fear that
           they would be captured. It tells the story of someone who heard about more and more people dying every day, but
           couldn’t do anything, and had to stay hidden in order to save their own lives. I think the diary format is especially good
           for this book because it doesn’t just tell about the main events that are happening outside, it tells about everything that’s
           happening inside the house, and all the ups and downs. It’s much easier to understand the situation as it is happening in
           the story when you have a personal account of it. I haven’t finished the book yet, but I’m nearly done, and I’m
           expecting an exciting ending.


           Andrea-The Hound of the Baskervilles
           December 6th, 2009 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized · Edit

           I am currently reading The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. This is probably the most famous
           adventure of Sherlock Holmes and called one of the finest murder mysteries ever written. The story is narrated by
           Holmes’s trustworthy assistant, Dr. Watson, and begins in the house on Baker Street. Here, Watson is puzzling over a
           walking stick that a previous visitor has unknowingly left behind. Subsequently, the owner of the stick, Dr. James
           Mortimer comes back to retrieve it. With him, he brings a curious story. It is a legend involving the prosperous
           Baskerville family, one supposedly resulting in a curse. In it, there is described a giant hound, too large to be real, yet
           able to rip the throat out of a man. The mystery begins when Dr. Mortimer tells them of the recent sudden death of
           multimillionaire Sir Charles Baskerville, heir to the family fortune and moor on which he lived. When examined, he
           was found to have no injuries. Then the doctor describes something even stranger–a set of footprints, some distance off,
           created supposedly by a giant hound! Down-to-earth Holmes is not sure what to make of this mythical tale, and yet, like
           always, he pursues the case. What is the case? Not even he is sure. Yet another important matter is at hand. The next in
           line of inheritance, Sir Henry Baskerville is coming to claim his property. Should Holmes allow him to move onto the

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Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                             

           property with risk of impending death? When Sir Henry discovers that someone is following him, the unknown mystery

           I am enjoying this read a lot. Although the story, written in the late 1800s may be slow for some at times, this book is
           definitely worth a read, because of the well developed plot and overall continuous ingenuity of Sherlock Holmes. The
           one thing that disappoints me with this story, however is the lack of mystery in the first half of the book. In the first half,
           there are some elements of a mystery novel, however Holmes does not know exactly what the mystery he is to be
           solving is. Even though this is true, this book is a great classic mystery novel that one should definitely not look over.


           Kayleigh- A Christmas Carol
           December 6th, 2009 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           Although I am not completely finished with A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, I am really enjoying it so far. It’s
           about an old man name Ebenezer Scrooge who has an extremely grouchy attitude, especially around the Christmas
           season. He works all day in his counting house, terrorizing his underpaid employee, and when he’s not working, he’s
           telling small children, the homeless and anyone who wishes him Christmas tidings, “Bah Humbug!”. But, on Christmas
           eve, the ghost of his departed business parter, Jacob Marley, appears in his bedroom encumbered by heavy chains which
           he has forged himself in life out of bad deeds. He wishes Ebenezer to unforge the chains he has already encumbered
           himself with as a ghost. So, he calls three other spirits upon Scrooge: the ghost of Christmas past, the ghost of
           Christmas present, and the ghost of Christmas future. Each one is a ride through his past, present and future
           Christmases. At the end of which he is a changed man. But for better, or for worse? You’ll just have to find out.

           The Christmas Carol is in my opinion a heartwarming (and slightly creepy) story. The language is a little hard to
           understand at some parts, but one can grasp the general plot line of the story just fine. I have seen the play a few times,
           and the movie, which further reenforces the story, so if you find yourself getting confused, those are things you can do.
           The book is different though, so you can’t just watch the movie and pretend you’ve read the book. It’s a great book to
           read around the holidays, or just any time.


           The Secret Garden
           December 6th, 2009 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           The Secret Garden is about a girl named Mary Lennox. Mary Lennox is a foul-tempered, little girl who doesn’t love
           anyone and no one loves her. She lives in India with her wealthy mother and father. When a terrible disease is spreading
           through the town, her mother and father die. She is sent to live with her uncle whom she has never met before. Her
           uncle, Master Craven, has been cooped up in his house for ten years. Mr. Craven’s house is surrounded by a beautiful
           moor, and he owns many forgotten gardens. When Mary Lennox arrives in Yorkshire, she despises the house and the
           chatty house maid, Martha. Martha lives with her family, including her brother, Dixon. After a couple days of
           complaining, Mary and Martha become friends. Martha persuades Mary to go outside and explore the gardens. Mary
           meets the gardener, Ben Weatherstaff, a stern but kind man who owns a robin who lives in the secret garden. The secret
           garden, Mary learns, is the garden that Mr. Craven used to take care of. Mr. Craven used to be in love, and his wife
           loved the garden. They would spend all day in the ivy covered walls, but then one day, his wife fell off a tree in the
           garden and died. After that accident, Mr. Craven locked up the garden and buried the key. He did not venture into the
           garden for ten years. Mary takes and interest in the secret garden, and decides she is going to figure out what is behind
           the rusty door.

           I enjoyed the book, The Secret Garden. The interesting characters and suspenseful plot line made the book very
           enjoyable. It was fun to hear the description of the gardens around the house, since these descriptions are what the

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Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                             

           author believes to be a “perfect garden”. I also liked the book because of the developing of Mary’s character. She starts
           out as a rude child and she is not thankful for what she is given. But after living in Yorkshire for a while, she becomes
           loving and caring. It was nice to see how the love and safety that the garden gave Mary made her love the beautiful gifts
           around her, something that would be impossible for a shelf-centered girl to do.


           The Secret Garden
           December 6th, 2009 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized · Edit

           The Secret Garden is a novel about a young orphan named Mary that was born in India and then eventually transported
           over to the moors of England. There she learns that there is more in life than mansions and servants, in fact there are
           GARDENS! After the fog clears out of the dreary moors she carefully leaves the mansion and to her amazement there
           is life out there, plants and animals, that need care and she soon learns the big secret about the land, a secret that will
           change her life and her soon to be friends, Dickon and Colin.

           This book is a great read for all ages, in fact when I first read this book I was no more than six years old and all I got out
           of it was… not much other than the main plot line, but now when I read it at twelve and a half I seem to be noticing
           behavior, plot, character, and scenery changes a lot more then my first reading. In order to understand some of the deep
           Yorkshire accents in this book, one might have to read paragraphs two or three times. Overall I would give this book 5
           out of 5 stars!


           A Tale of Two Cities
           December 6th, 2009 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           Currently I am reading A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. There are three books inside of the story. Although I
           am still part way through the second book/part the pl0t has started to unravel. In the first book it is the year of 1775.
           There is a mysterious scene where a man by the name of Mr. Lorry receives a letter that and responds with a strange
           answer of “Recalled to life.” That man seems to be a resurrectionist. He goes outside and begins to dig, then asking
           “‘Buried how long?’” and always received the answer of “‘Almost eighteen years.’” Then the man asks “‘You know
           that you are recalled to life?’” And the quick interrogations end with “‘I hope you care to live?’” and the reoccurring
           answer of ‘” I can’t say.’” Soon Mr. Lorry meets Miss Manette and they go to find her father who was imprisoned.
           After, in the next book, they are in court acting as witnesses for a man accused for a reason that is not too clear, some
           sort of trade. And so on, the plot becomes apparent.

           When I first began to read this book it seemed very odd. This book was recommended to me by a writing instructor I
           had at a camp over the summer. There are many events throughout the story which are hard to follow because of the old
           writing style. Although I often have to reread paragraphs and even whole chapters several times before I understand
           them, I have been enjoying this book. The action never seems to end, although some of the descriptions are very long,
           but vivid. I would recommend this book to somebody who is looking for a kind of book that they don’t usually read. In
           comparison to the other books I read, and even White Fang, the style is very different.


           Caroline M.-The Wind in the Willows
           December 6th, 2009 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

49 of 71                                                                                                                       8/18/10 10:54 AM
Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                             

           The Wind in the Willows is a story of friendship written by Kenneth Grahame. Mole is taking a walk when he comes
           across a beautiful sight. The river Mole is immediately entranced by the river. Mole makes many new friends whole
           live along the river including, Ratty (a water rat) and Toad. Mole hasn’t met everyone though, he hasn’t met Badger.
           The elusive badger who lives in the middle of the wild wild wood. Mole has been told never to go into the wild wild
           wood. Mole and his friends have all sorts of adventures including almost getting run over by a car.

           When I first picked up this novel and looked at it and thought it would be very cute. It is very cute, however not all that
           interesting. I havn’t finished it yet though so I’m hoping that the book will become more interesting. The writing is
           good though. There are vivid discriptions and the scentences make sence. The characer of Badger is very interesting
           and I’m glad he is in this book. I can’t wait to meet him and see what he does. Overall this book is pretty good. If
           you’re looking for violence and a heavy read, then this is not the book for you.


           Watership Down
           December 6th, 2009 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized · Edit

           For a while now I have been reading Watership Down by Richard Adams. This story involves a young rabbit named
           Fiver, named that because he was the fifth, smallest and last born, and his brother Hazel who set off in a long journey
           away from their warren. The reason for this is because Fiver, who often knows when something is wrong, gets the
           feeling that the warren is going to experience something bad when he sees a white picket sign near their warren. Hazel
           believes him, for he is often right, and they set off on their journey, escaping from something unknown and in search of
           something unknown, with seven other rabbits.

           Even though I am only 106 pages far into the book, I still have a very strong opinion about the writing and the plot of
           this book. For one, I am amazed by the characters, or rabbit characters, and their different opinions. The way that
           Richard Adams captures their rabbit culture and language with different stories and made up words really made the
           book a lot different then I had imagined it to be, in a good way. Dispite the long read, I think it is worth it for you to
           choose Watership Down for your next novel.


           Never Cry Wolf
           December 6th, 2009 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           The novel I read was Never Cry Wolf, by Farley Mowat. Never Cry Wolf is the true story about when naturalist Farley
           Mowat accepts a job with the Dominion Wildlife service. They assign him to investigate why wolves were killing
           caribou. He is dropped off in the middle of the Canadian wilderness, and left there to study wolves. Soon, he meets an
           Eskimo named Mike, and his friend Ootek. He also discovers a nearby family of wolves, whom he names George,
           Angeline, and Uncle Albert. After observing them, he not only develops a connection with them but learns that the
           wolves are not responsible for the majority of the caribou killings, the humans are.

           To be honest, at first I thought this book was dense and boring, but something compelled me to keep reading it. Later in
           the book, I still thought it was quite dense, but it was no longer boring. I became interested in the wolves and his studies
           about them, and came to know more about them. Then, we started to read White Fang. The description of wolves in
           White Fang is completely different from how they are portrayed in Never Cry Wolf. In White Fang, wolves are vicious
           killing creatures, filled with bitterness and hate. In Never Cry Wolf, they are just gentle creatures, not killing for pure
           sport as humans do but only for meat. I think this book opened my eyes to how humans are really the vicious ones, and
           wolves are just doing what they can to survive.


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Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                              

           The Wind in the Willows
           December 6th, 2009 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           I have started The Wind in the Willows this week and so far it is about a mole named Mole and a water rat named Ratty.
           The story starts with Mole spring cleaning until he gets fed up with it and ventures outside his house, he teams up with
           Ratty and they travel through Wild Wood. When doing so they meet two new friends Badger and Toad. My reaction to
           the book is that I love stories like this, little animals that talk and travel around saying silly things. There is nothing
           cuter then a little mole wearing a little outfit who is spring cleaning. The imagery in this book is wonderful, I love the
           descriptions of the lands the animals travel to. I like that in this book all of the main characters are introduced within the
           first five chapters, in a lot of books it takes a long time to introduce all of them. Since this book was written awhile ago
           all of the things the characters say are very humorous. I am looking forward to finishing this book.


           All Quiet on the Western Front (Erich Maria Remarque) KW
           December 6th, 2009 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           This book takes place mostly in the German battlefield during WW1. It is written in 1st person by a 20-year-old man
           named Paul Muller (with an umlaut over the u.) I have not finished it, but I’ll try to summarize. At first he (Paul) talks
           about how happy he is in the army, and how manly life is on the battlefield. But soon, the happiness of the book drops
           when his best friend, Franz Kemmerich, dies in his hospital bed, crying. However, death is not unexpected, and life
           goes pretty much back to normal, until they attack and brutally whip their drill seargeant as a prank.

           This book is absolutely amazing, with violence and gore with amazing detail. (If you don’t like violence and gore, don’t
           read this.) One astonishing thing is that Remarque can make you feel attached to a character, even if he’s barely been in
           the book. Remarque himself fought in WW1 for the Germans, making it feel like this is the real thing. This book is
           definitely one-of-a-kind, and is both heartwarming and gory at the same time. I am still amazed at how he was only
           thirty-three when he wrote this, and I can’t wait to finish over Winter break, and I’ll be sure to inform you on what
           happens next.

           [


           Bad Seed
           December 6th, 2009 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           Bad Seed is about a little pretty and arguably perfect little girl or so it seems. With a year of no missing homework,
           perfect tests and absolute charm under her belt Rhoda seems to have it all until an award that her teacher gives out for
           penmanship goes to someone else. Rhoda’s mother knew that Rhoda really wanted that medal and was relieved when
           she didn’t pout after losing. Rhoda is far behind a childish thing like pouting over something instead she tries to change
           it. Rhoda’s way of changing something is far different than the average person. Rhoda was on a field trip and she
           cornered the recipient of the medal away from the rest of the school and told him to give her the medal. He was balling
           and scared, instead of giving her the medal he ran away toward the dock to where she follows him. This was all
           witnessed by a spectator who tells the teacher. That is all that is known, well that and how the poor boy turned up dead
           later that day, drowned under the dock and missing the penmanship medal.

           I was quite shocked at seeing the author having the courage to break an almost unbreakable wall, children’s innocence.
           Though I doubt that there is such thing as a child murderer who was born one and not one because of their upbringing I

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Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                             

           found bad seed actually quite realistic. The author would describe the surroundings in detail so it almost feels like your
           watching a play instead of reading one. In the end of the book the author throws a shocker at you which turned out to
           barely be a shock because the author kept hinting at it. Also the author had too much going on at once, sometimes you
           would have to read a passage one or two times to fully understand the different characters.


           Cuore: The Heart of a Boy by Edmondo de Amicis
           December 6th, 2009 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           Cuore: The Heart of a Boy is set in 1886, during the time of the Italian Unification. This is why the book includes many
           patriotic themes. The novel is written in a diary form as told by a 10-year old, third grade student, Enrico Bottini. His
           family is of the upper class background and everyone else in his classroom is from either working class or lower class
           background. Important events that happened in Italy at that time are described and play a significant role in this novel.

           Enrico’s interactions and communications with people such as his parents and older sibling, are described in his diary.
           His teacher gives little Enrico assignments that deal with the heroism shown by children in Italy who should be seen as
           role models. The stories are given in a book form and Enrico starts reading them right away. Each story is about a
           different moral value such as helping those who are in need of help, having great love for one another, respect for
           family, friends, and adults, and patriotism.

           After reading Cuore, I thought it was amazing how children could be more patriotic and feel more compassion than
           adults. Most adults would not put their life on the line to help people or to protect their country, but the children in this
           story did. One child almost got killed by a bus trying to save another child. Another child put his life on the line to help
           the Italian army. These events come together to signify how much a child’s life is as important as an adult’s life. If I had
           to rate this book. I would give it an 11 out of 10. The writing is excellent, and the plot is well thought out. Edmondo de
           Amicis did an excellent job writing this book.

           Tags:Cuore·Edmondo de Amicis·Heart·Rishi

           James S. – Skellig
           December 4th, 2009 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           Skellig is about a boy named Michael who is having a lot of problems. These problems are; he just moved into a new
           house, his baby sister is close to death, and there is something in his dilapidated garage. Things are not going so well
           when he first meets Skellig—the thing in the garage. Skellig is very grumpy and refuses to correspond with Michael,
           until he brings in Mina, a newly found friend who lives near by. When Skellig finally starts talking and being less
           grumpy, strange things start happening. Then the dilapidated garage starts to fall apart and it only gets weirder for
           Michael from there.

           This book is an incredibly written novel. I say this because it explains everything in fine detail without pushing you into
           tedium. It also has great and somewhat realistic characters. It uses human emotions very well to give the point. These
           emotions are not the ones of sadness or any other tedious emotions. They are emotions like curiosity. It also has a great
           level of imagination. This can be demonstrated in passages about stuff like ossification of the brain in a living person.
           Overall this is an amazing novel, one that should be a classic someday.


           Frankenstein (the novel) by Rosey
           December 3rd, 2009 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

52 of 71                                                                                                                       8/18/10 10:54 AM
Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                            

           Having read until page 60 of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, the plot hasn’t progressed very much. However, a few
           major developments have taken place. The main character is named Victor Frankenstein. He has just left for a
           university to complete his studies. Since a few years before, he had acquired a great interest in the sciences. All of his
           interests were based off of the books he was reading. The books were written by ancient philosophers, and scorned by
           most scientists because of their eccentric wonderings. After arriving at the university, Frankenstein discovers that
           almost all of his teachers agree with the general public that these ancient philosophers write about nonsense. But
           Frankenstein is not concerned by what they think. He meets one teacher who encourages his old-fashioned ideas. After
           the helpful tips that the teacher gives, Frankenstein begins a project that requires body parts from many different places.
           He was just about to make this miraculous creature come alive, when I stopped reading…

           This book has a very slow beginning. I was almost falling asleep while reading it. Slowly, but surely, the plot line has
           begun to pick up and I’m not falling asleep anymore, I’m just dozing off. I am really, really hoping that this book
           becomes more interesting as I keep reading. What makes me want to keep reading this book is its history. Mary
           Shelley—the author—began writing Frankenstein when she was 18 years old. When Mary and her friends were bored,
           they would tell each other stories. After telling each other stories many times, she and two of her friends agreed to all
           write a supernatural tale. Mary Shelley’s was the only one completed.


           The Outsiders
           December 3rd, 2009 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           The Outsiders is a novel written by Susan Eloise Hinton. Ponyboy Curtis and his brothers, Sodapop and Darry, belong
           to a group of poverty stricken boys called the greasers. Many of the boys have hard lives such as Ponyboy who is an
           orphan. They often fight with the Socs who are rich and privileged boys from the other side of town. One night after
           coming back from the movies two Socs corner Ponyboy and Johnny–the favorite pet of the greasers. One of the socs
           almost drowns Ponyboy and in fear Johnny stabs the Soc to death. Johnny and Ponyboy run away in terror, but when
           the church they were hiding in catches on fire without thinking they become heroes and rescue the children inside. By
           the end of the book tragedy strikes and Ponyboy is loses two of his close friends.

           The Outsiders is a very enticing novel. The plot quickly unfolds in the beginning and the novel becomes hard to put
           down. Besides from the intriguing plot, the characters are very likeable. The characters are easy to relate to even though
           you would presume that poverty stricken boys who enjoy a fight would be difficult to relate to. The characters are very
           complex and live hard lives, but the author focuses on a few characteristics as to make them easy to relate to. The book
           has a dark subject, but while reading the story is not actually dark and has some humorous parts. Overall I would
           definitely recommend this book to anyone, although the ending is sad.


           War and Peace
           December 3rd, 2009 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized · Edit

           Well, I am only 250 pages in (out of 1300) so I can’t give a full summary. Oh well. Anyway, as it starts, Pierre
           Bezukhov, the illegitimate son of count Bezukhov, makes his disastrous debut in society. He talks to his friend, Audrey
           Bolkonsky, who is unhappy with his marriage and the child his wife, Lise, is expecting. It is 1805, and Napoleon is
           gaining power in Europe. Prince Audrey Bolonsky enlists into the war, where he sees much cruelty. Also in the Army,
           is Nicolay Rostov, who leaves his sisters Vera and Natasha and his love Sonya to be in the front lines of the war. After a
           battle, he is wounded, but his offered a promotion, though he does not know if he will take it because he prefers
           fighting. At home, Natasha is missing her crush Boris, the son of Anna Mikhaylovna. In the midst of all this, count Kiril
           Bezokhov dies, and his nieces, Prince Vasily Kuragin, and Anna Mikhailovna (ostensibly on Pierre’s account) fight over
           the large fortune left behind. Count Bezukhov had written a note to the Emperor to make Pierre legitimate, which was

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Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                             

           approved, therefore making Pierre his legal heir. Pierre is bewildered by his new position as count. It also tells the story
           of Marya Bolkonsky, Audrey’s sister, and her sister-in-law, Lise.

           I found this book enjoyable, though hard to get through. The plot is very good, and every scene is very detailed. Though
           daunting, the length of the book does not make it dull. I have also learned a bit, and will probably learn some more. It is
           very well-written, though it is not very humorous. Some scenes I have trouble understanding, but my translation gives a
           summary of the chapters, which are thankfully short. I haven’t found it quite as hard to read as I expected, but it is a
           challenge. The characters are well done an complex. I would recommend it.


           Monica Firmani – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
           December 3rd, 2009 · 2 Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           Recently I read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The book is about a young girl who sees a very peculiar sight: a
           white rabbit with a pocket watch. She follows the rabbit and after traveling down the rabbit hole for quite some time,
           she emerges into a land of very different proportions. For a lot of the book, she experiments with changing her height.
           Later, she cries when she is rather tall, and when she becomes small again, she is swimming in a pool of her tears.
           Throughout the whole book, she is meeting different people and animals (some mythical and/or fictional) and most of
           them can never give her a straight answer. She meets the Cheshire Cat, who is probably the most sane in the book, and
           helps her along the way with hints as to where to go. She also meets the Queen of Hearts, who basically shouts “off
           with their heads!” every time she speaks. Throughout the book, Alice is searching for a way home and to meet people
           along the path.

           Though this book if very short, I think it has a lot packed into it. I liked most of it, but some of the stuff was a bit
           creepy. The story has an incredibly creative plot, and the characters are all very different, while all being a bit insane
           (some more than others…). The book is well written, but I think that Alice talks to herself a bit too much, in a way that
           it looks like she is talking to someone, but she is merely thinking. The word choice is vivid, and I can clearly see the
           what the characters look like in my mind. Another part I find mind-boggling is the fact that it was written in 1865, yet it
           is still talked about and widely appreciated. Though many people have read this story, I would recommend this to
           anyone who hasn’t read this book.


           Three Little Words
           December 3rd, 2009 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           Three Little Words is a memoir, by Ashley Rhodes-Courter. She reflects back on her painful life and the mistakes that
           her mother had made. She has been in fourteen different foster homes in nine years of her life. Her mother was only
           fourteen when she gave birth to her. At the age of 2, her mother and her father, gave birth to her little brother, Luke.
           After that, things starting getting out of hand. Dusty would beat their mother, be caught with a DUI or even hurting his
           own kids. The two children got separated from their parents, and went to live with several foster homes of one which
           had extremely abusive parents. In this unforgettable memoir, Ashley will find her own courage in saying three little

           I was appalled at this book. It was amazing to see what this little girl had to live through. She had several abusive
           homes, but one of them was the Mosses home. She had gotten sick and thrown up, but instead of the foster parent
           cleaning it up and helping Ashley, she shoved her face in it and made her clean it up. I was shocked at what I had read. I
           didn’t know that so many foster homes were so… unfriendly. It makes me want to be a better person. When I grow up, I
           want to help one of these children in need.

54 of 71                                                                                                                       8/18/10 10:54 AM
Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                            


           Irene Sakson – Watership Down
           December 3rd, 2009 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized · Edit

           I am about halfway through reading the novel Watership Down, by Richard Adams. It is a story about a group of rabbits
           that are looking for a new home, with no danger, plenty of cover, and no lack of food. One of the main characters,
           Fiver, starts the story with a worrying sense that something will soon happen to their home warren, so he leads his
           group of followers and friends on this search for a land they have only imagined in dreams. In their adventure, they
           come upon many obstacles, tricks, and false securities. Traveling far beyond where any rabbit has gone before, they
           will search the land that they previously had known only to consist of the warren they used to call home.

           From what I have read so far of this novel, I love it. The description is incredible, and I enjoy the slight influence of
           “lapine” (rabbit language) that the characters speak in. A great addition to this dialogue is the lapine glossary in the
           back so if you forget a word, you can jog your memory with ease. This is an endearing tale, and the stories the rabbits
           tell themselves are well thought out and wonderfully creative. I love the depth the author adds to each individual
           character, and the writing to me enforces a new appreciation for the starring creatures. This is a longer book than one
           might normally pick from the shelf, but not a page is wasted. Of all 472 pages, I wouldn’t cut a word. I think you will
           find yourself reading this story in a much shorter amount of time than expected, for the story is so captivating that it
           feels you must go on. I recommend this tale of friendship, hardship, and adventure to anyone who is ready to fall in
           love with such a novel as I did. A must read!


           Fahrenheit 451
           December 3rd, 2009 · 3 Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           Fahrenheit 451 is a distopian novel by Ray Bradbury about a society where books are taboo and people spend all their
           time watching television or racing down the road at high speeds in cars. Guy Montag is a “fireman” when the term
           fireman applies to those who find and burn books. The story follows him in war time as he meets a girl who inspires
           him briefly, and then dies. Guy gradually becomes more and more depressed as he thinks more and more about his job
           and is deeply affected by his wife’s suicide attempt. At last Guy reveals his secret: a collection of books and flees in an
           attempt to save himself after he is discovered. The story ends after he has watched his city be bombed; along with a
           band of outlaw professors.

           What really struck me about Fahrenheit 451 was how similar the city it described was to today’s planet earth. Even
           though Ray Bradbury wrote the book more than fifty years ago, he still mentioned portable listening devices that some
           people became addicted to. Also, society’s growing fixation with television is very similar to the obsession that is a
           theme in the novel; how tv characters became part of a “family” with living, breathing, humans. The other thing that
           struck me was that the taboo on books was one mainly imposed by society, the message that if we don’t slow down and
           stop jumping for instant gratification. This may seem clichéd, but Ray Bradbury took it beyond “When I was a boy”


           Picking Bones from Ash
           December 3rd, 2009 · 2 Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           This is a novel written by my cousin (once removed) about a Japenese girl named Satomi, and a Japenesse-American

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Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                            

           girl named Rumi. The book begins with part one, telling of the early life and college of Satomi. Satomi is a piano
           virtuoso and the outcast of her first town. She travels to Tokyo and succecuently to Paris for piano in college. Then, in
           part 2, the focus switches to Rumi, daughter of Satomi (not present in part 2) and her father Francois, who are the
           ownners of an antiques store. The book has 5 parts.
           I think that this is a really good book. NOT just because family wrote it. I would say that almost anyone could enjoy it.
           Though it may be a shocker that not everyone in Japan eats sushi, but it also opens eyes to mid-twentieth century
           Japenesse culture. It is well and vividly written. The plot line is deep and it seems to be extremely well researched.
           Also, there is a lot of trading of antiques and the author describes them so that I felt that I could almost see them and
           hold them in my hands.Really awesome book.


           Snow White of the Black Forest
           November 25th, 2009 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           This book is a very quick read and has a very light tone to it that makes it fun to read. When I was reading this book I
           soon realized that it was like reading a Disney book, but it had some characters with hilarious parts like ‘Time’ which
           pulls many hilarious puns regarding time. After I read this play I then compared it to the Disney movie, “Snow White
           and the Seven Dwarfs”. Some similarities are obviously the plot of the story and most of the characters, but one of the
           main differences of the texts is definitely the ending. One is very like Disney to produce, while the other is very original
           and actually a better way to end the story (in my opinion) then Disney did. Another difference between them is the title
           obviously but that also helps to prove the other difference, the Disney movie has more of a focus on cheery dwarfs that
           save Snow White from her evil stepmother, while the play focuses more on lessons and ways to improve your life. Most
           people think that Disney is all ‘La La La!!’ but this is a very good piece of proof that Disney is not so great after all
           when it come to being helpful.


           Driving Miss Daisy by Alfred Uhry
           November 23rd, 2009 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           The year is 1948 and Daisy Werthan, a 72-year-old woman, lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her African American
           housemaid, Idella. One day, she crashes her Chrysler car. No insurance company is willing to insure her. Her son,
           Boolie, is forced to call a chauffeur. She refuses to have one because she doesn’t want her friends to think that she is so
           well off to afford a chauffeur or is too old to drive. Without a chauffeur, she is unable to perform simple errands like
           going to the supermarket or going to the local church.

           Meanwhile, Hoke Colburn was driving for a judge who suddenly died. Instead of accompanying the widow, he decides
           to stay in the area of Atlanta. Boolie soon finds and hires him.

           Miss Daisy—as Hoke calls her—refuses to let him drive as far as the nearby Piggly Wiggly supermarket. But soon, she
           accepts he fact that she needs a driver to get around everywhere.

           While performing an errand of putting flowers on a grave, Miss Daisy tells Hoke to find a tombstone. Hoke does not
           move. She repeats herself and Hoke reveals that he is illiterate. Miss Daisy helps him read and write, and Hoke
           becomes a literate man. Here, the friendship between Miss Daisy and Hoke starts to grow.

           Miss Daisy has Hoke drive her to her brother’s 90th birthday party in Mobile, Alabama. During their trip from Atlanta
           to Mobile, Miss Daisy realizes that Hoke’s race affects how others treat him and she realizes that he has had to face
           racial prejudice. As Daisy and Hoke spend time together, she appreciates Hoke’s many skills.

56 of 71                                                                                                                      8/18/10 10:54 AM
Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                             

           This play was amazing. The way that Alfred Uhry used his knowledge of everyday things and incorporated them with
           race, opens the eyes of the reader. Throughout the whole story, Hoke was called hurtful things, one of which is the
           n-word, but this is what African-Americans faced in 1948 and they had no choice but to tolerate it.

           Although the play was short, Uhry’s writing was one of the best that I have ever read. I could literally feel the sadness
           and the pain that Hoke and Miss Daisy went through. This play is very powerful and I would definitetly recommend
           this play to every one of my peers.

           Tags:African-American·Daisy·Driving Miss Daisy·Hoke

           Bad Seed
           November 3rd, 2009 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           I read this play a couple of weeks ago and I totally agree with Anna T. This play is SCARY CREEPY SCARING. If you
           get nightmares like I do DON”T READ THIS PLAY POST. I should have taken Anna’s advice and never read this

           During the play Rhoda, a sweet and perfect 8 year old commits multiple NASTY GRISLEY SICKENING murders.
           Rhoda always kills to get an object or keep from being discovered. Toward the end of the play Rhoda’s mother figures
           out that Rhoda was the one who killed her classmate and their elderly neighbor in Baltimore. Sadly after talking to a
           murder mystery writer, Rhoda’s mother Christine finds out that some children are born without morals or a sense of
           pity. This brings Christine, Rhoda’s mother, to believe that this could be the case with Rhoda.

           This play is all in all pretty gruesome. It scares me to think that there are people in this world like Rhoda who have no
           morals or sense of pity. My dad told me that this is true. It is not a lie that people really are born without morals.

           This play was very well written but scary. I guess I’m not the best judge of scary considering that National Treasure
           gave me nightmares for a week! I hope this author has written other less scary plays because I’m sure I’d enjoy
           them. The writing style works nicely. There was almost no stage direction because it just worked itself into the script.
           The plot never has any boring parts, it’s always moving along. Unfortunately, sometimes the plot moves too much.
           There were a couple of places where I could guess what was going to happen. In some places Rhoda talks to the janitor
           about things so that the reader can figure out what Rhoda is thinking without having to have a narrator speak. This is a
           great idea and it works really well.

           To sum this lengthy post up…The play is great if you have a strong stomach!



           Tags:Bad Seed·Zoey

           October 28th, 2009 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized · Edit

           I just finished reading “!SCAPINO!” a few days ago, and I enjoyed it a lot. Basically, the play is about a man named
           Scapin who is a bit of a trickster, and doesn’t mind getting into a bit of trouble with the law. He seems to be nice at first,
           using his smarts to help other people, but he has no problem backstabbing them in order to squeeze some more dough
           out of someone else. At the end, Scapin dies (or pretends to die, I’m not entirely sure.) I loved this play, and the humor
           mingled well with the plot. It is a bit unclear what is happening at times, but the author never strays too far from the

57 of 71                                                                                                                       8/18/10 10:54 AM
Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                              

           underlying story. If you look closely, there are two halves to the play; one where Scapin “helps” everyone, and the
           other, when he backstabs everybody and gets busted and hit with sausages (Really!). The point of the play is very clear-
           be careful who you trust! This is portrayed in a very potent and clear manner, and I would read the play again if I
           wasn’t obliged to move on.


           Jamie Forbes “Robinson Crusoe”
           October 28th, 2009 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized · Edit

           Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe, is an amazing book, partly because of its amazing first chapter, and then its last
           chapters. The ones in the middle are amazing too, but oh well. The story is about a young boy who wants some
           adventure in his life, partly because his dad wanted the same thing, so he decides to go sailing for the first time in his
           life, and he wants to go to London to go get a nicer life. The sailors on the boat were experts, and they didn’t fear
           anything, not yet, at least. After the boat left shore, the sea started to get extremely rough. Enough even to get the
           sailors worried. Robinson was extremely afraid of dying, of course, but the sailors just kept reassuring him that
           everything was alright, and then laughed about it. Right about the same time that this happened, the winds picked up
           dramatically, and the boat capsized, and the sailors were dead, all except for Robinson. I don’t want to spoil the book,
           so I wont tell you what happened after that. But later on, after he settles in, he finds that his life is actually really nice,
           and that he wants to live there forever. But then, right on schedule, another storm comes along and destroys his house
           and wall, and he is forced to leave. After that, he explores the rest of the island, and finds that there are plenty of fruits
           in the back of the island, so he makes his habitation there. But I cant tell you anymore because if I did, it would spoil
           this exciting, survival incorporated, down to the instincs, interesting, dramatic, sad, funny, heart-wrenching, crazy,
           interesting, make-you-amazed, astonishing, heroic, brave, friendly, destructive, amazing book about how to survive and
           even thrive on a tiny island with nothing but what was left of a shipwreck, and it really inspired me to not be afraid of
           nature, but to thrive alongside it, and to not live a sheltered life, but to get out in to the open and explore the amazing
           world that we live in. That is the impression that I got from this book, and I hope that whoever is reading this blog will
           read Robinson Crusoe and get that same feeling that really is amazing.


           Stella J – Diary of Anne Frank
           October 20th, 2009 · 6 Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           I have been reading The Diary of Anne Frank. It is a novel, not a play. I really like it because it is a young girl’s version
           of the Holocaust–written in a diary form. A girl named Anne Frank has to go into hiding when the Jewish people are
           being taken away–she hides with her family and another family in a hidden room in an office building. But none of
           them can go outside at all, and they cant turn any lights on, or make loud noises, or even flush the toilet at some times!
           But it’s not easy having to be with the same people day and night–and tempers are soon rising. The families are running
           out of money, and are all very sick of each other. Meanwhile, thousands of other Jewish people are being persecuted,
           and while Anne is sick of the families’ small haven, she keeps thinking of her old friends and how they’re probably
           suffering much more than her. And all of the people living in the secret rooms are scared that any move they make
           could lead them to be discovered and taken away too…


           Ten Little Indians Andrea M
           October 19th, 2009 · 2 Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

58 of 71                                                                                                                         8/18/10 10:54 AM
Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                              

           I read the Agatha Christie play Ten Little Indians. it is Based on the book And Then There Were None, also by Agatha
           Christie. It is an exciting murder mystery that takes place on Indian Island, a small island off of the coast of Devon,
           England. On this island, a group of eleven people are gathered together, none of them knowing exactly why. The
           characters are Mr. & Mrs. Rogers, the servants, Vera Claythorne, a young girl of twenty-five, Philip Lombard, an
           adventurous man of thirty-four, Anthony Marston, a slightly unintelligent but rich man, William Blore, a middle aged &
           straightforward man, General Mackenzie, an elderly man, Emily Brent, a down-to-earth lady, Sir Lawrence Wargrave,
           Dr. Armstrong, a good-looking man of thirty-four, and the mysterious Mr. & Mrs. Owen, the people who have brought
           the group together, although none of the guests actually know the Owens. On the first night, an anonymous voice
           accuses each of them of killing someone that they knew in the past. That’s when they realize that they’re in a trap with
           no way to get off of the island, and that’s when the murders begin… The first to go is Marston, who chokes on his
           poisoned wine, then Mrs. Rogers… Everyone dies according to the children’s rhyme “Ten Little Indians” that is
           hanging on the mantelpiece, in plain view of the guests. When the guests realize that the secret killer is among them, it
           is a question of who will die next, and who to trust.

           I enjoyed reading Ten Little Indiansalthough I thought that the end was a little anticlimactic and disappointing.
           Although the ending was very surprising, I wish it would have gone better with the rest of the play, too. I think that this
           play is definitely worth reading, as it is suspenseful, surprising and far from boring. Also, it wasn’t overly freaky,
           something that I was glad about, because it was just scary enough to keep the pages turning, but not so creepy that I had
           to put the play down. I thought that the beginning was a bit slow, but the rest of the play was definitely worth it, except
           for maybe the end. However, I definitely recommend this play to anyone who enjoys murder mysteries. I am also
           looking forward to reading And Then There Were None, and comparing the two. Overall, this play is certainly worth


           Rishi- Bad Seed by Maxwell Anderson (adapted from the novel by William
           October 19th, 2009 · 2 Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           Rhoda Penmark, a five year old child, is playing on the piano when her father is saying goodbye to his wife Christine
           and to her. Later, Christine’s friend Monica comes in and gives a locket to Rhoda. Rhoda, looking and proper in her
           perfect dress and pigtails, thanks Monica for the gift. Monica leaves and Christine and Rhoda discuss the nice
           penmanship award that Rhoda thought was rightfully hers not her classmate’s Claude Daigle. The next day Christine
           leaves Rhoda at the nearby lake for a picnic with her kindergarten class because she has to go and eat lunch with her
           friends. While eating lunch Christine hears on the radio that a kid has been killed at the lake. Christine worries that it is
           her own daughter Rhoda, but it was the Claude Daigle, the kid who won the penmanship award.

           After reading Bad Seed, I was blown aback. I thought to myself “Who would write a book, let alone a play, about a
           homicidal six year old child?” Although the play was a true thriller, it is not written well. The ideas are not original. I
           would probably not recommend this book, but other books like this. I would give this play a 5 on a scale of 1-10.


           I never Saw Another Butterfly
           October 19th, 2009 · 2 Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           Just last week I finished reading I Never Saw Another Butterfly. This play about young girl and her adventures as a Jew
           from Prague during World War II. Forced to go to Terezin, a concentration camp and separated from her family. She is
           confronted by a teacher and learns to live in this new lifestyle in what was then considered the “ghetto.” She is parted
           from many of her friends as they are sent to a place called Auschwitz, a place where not many survived. Later in the

59 of 71                                                                                                                        8/18/10 10:54 AM
Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                             

           text she meets a young boy named Hanza who she later admires. His quick wit and inpirational ideas are a main reason
           that she stays alert and accepting to Terezin.

           This play shows the struggles and hopes that a young girl may go through, but in a brief and informative way. It was
           upsetting to read about all the horrible things that happen but at the same time very fascinating. I enjoyed the quick read
           because if it were to be longer it could be considered more upsetting and depressing. I would consider it next because it
           shows World War II from a different position.


           James S. – Tom Jones
           October 18th, 2009 · 2 Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           Tom Jones is a funny play about a foundling named Tom Jones who falls in love with Sophia Western. Then Sophia is
           forced to marry Blifil—a snob who despises Tom. Tom is then chased out of his village and heads toward London with
           his servant Partridge. Sophia chases after him and meets her cousin, Harriet Fitzgerald, who is running from her mad
           husband. Chasing after Sophia, Mr. Western—Sophia’s father—and Squire Allworthy—Tom’s finder—go to the Inn at
           Upton. Unfortunately this is where Tom, Sophia, Harriet, and Mr. Fitzgerald meet before going off to London.
           I would give this play a seven out of ten because of confusing characters, such as Partridge and Captain Blifil (Captain
           Blifil is not Blifil). In the beginning Partridge narrates the story and makes it seem like the actors don’t know their lines.
           Then Partridge and Captain Blifil get into a fight about Captain Blifil’s death. The time of which the play took place was
           elusive all though it made it sound like it was in the 1800s. Besides these things the play made me want to see it
           because of humorous characters, such as the Highwayman and great plot.


           Olivia-The Mousetrap
           October 18th, 2009 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized · Edit

           The Mousetrap is a play about Mollie and Giles Ralston who open a guesthouse called Monkswell Manor. They have
           some interesting characters staying at thier house: Christopher Wren the hyper-active Childish man, Mrs. Boyle, the
           critical old lady, Major Metcalf, a high ranking commander in the army, Miss Casewell, a slightly masculine lady who
           alludes to a rough childhood, Mr. Paravinci the eccentric foreigner coming unannounced the the guesthouse, and
           Detective Sergeant Trotter, the police officer investigating the murder of Maureen Lyon, whose real name is Mrs.
           Stanning. Throughout the play, you are led to believe that various guests are the murderer, but there is never a clear
           suspect, and they all have ties to the murder. During the stay, Mrs. Boyle is murdered and it is suspected that there is
           another victim staying in Monkswell Manor.

           I found this play suspenseful, but by the end I had figured out some of the surprises, which made it a little less
           enjoyable, but all in all it was a very good book.


           Mary of Scotland
           October 18th, 2009 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           During my reading of this play I was also reading a book along with it to confirm the facts or to make more sense of it.
           The name of this other book was Mary Queen of Scotland and Her Many Husbands by Margaret Simpson. Because of
           the reading of this book I was able to find out that some of the historical facts in this book are incorrect. Other than the

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Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                           

           mistake with history, I found this book very interesting, in some parts the book took on a deep Shakespearian tone
           which made it a little hard to comprehend.

           During the beginning of the book Queen Mary returns from France to reign her country. While in England her cousin
           Queen Elizabeth is planning to get Queen Mary to marry a certain man so that when they have a kid, Queen Elizabeth
           will be able to conquer Scotland. The use of “inappropriate words” is used in a regular tone and often. During Act Two
           the tone of the book drops to dead serious and tons more dramatic. When you first start reading this book the plot is
           slightly shaky, but as you get further through it the characters begin to explain what is happening, when I had eventually
           got the plot I had already finished the book. All together I would have to give this book 5 stars!


           October 18th, 2009 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized · Edit

           I recently finished a play called Anne Frank and Me. It is about a girl named Nicole Burns who gets caught in a terrible
           accident and warps back into the time of the Holocaust. She lives in Paris with her principal and teacher who are now
           her parents. She aquires the same friends just with different names. She has now become Jewish and her name is Nicole
           Bernhardt. She now lives in the time of 1942, so she and her parents have to hide to save their lives. After several
           months living in an attic, the are rushed out by German soldiers and go to Holland by train where she meets Anne
           Frank. Together they fight against Hitler and risks their lives for their fellow Jews.

           This book was a eye-opener for me. I didn’t know anything about the resistance, or how they bombed many innocent
           places trying to find the real target. Many people in the Holocaust got put in “showers” but didn’t know what was
           happening. This story is more for a older crowd because of some of the harsh topics. This book delivers courage and the
           nerve that people had to fight for what they believed in.


           October 18th, 2009 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized · Edit

           I finished reading the Glass Menagerie. Its about a young man named Tom who works at a warehouse to supply his
           family. His family consists of his mother, Amanda, and his sister, Laura who has a crippled leg. Tom hates working at
           the warehouse and dreams of bigger things while Amanda dreams of finding a gentleman caller for Laura. Amanda asks
           Tom one day to find a gentleman caller who works at the warehouse and he brings home Laura’s Highschool crush, Jim
           O’Connor. When he comes for dinner Laura is so nervous that she feigns sickness but soon they got talking and have a
           lot in common. But soon they find out that that Jim is engaged to be married and everyone is greatly disappointed.

           My reaction to this book was that I felt very bad for Laura. All her mother ever thought about was to find her someone
           to marry. I think they should’ve made Luara’s character more interesting. She rarely did anything all day even though
           she was a very important character. All she did realy was dust her assortment of glass animals (This is where the title
           “The Glass Menagerie” comes from). There wasn’t realy anything that unique about the writing style. Over all I thought
           it was a mediocre play.


           Monica F
           October 18th, 2009 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized · Edit

           A few weeks ago I finished the play, Lilies of the Field and I thought it was slow at times, but the play showed what
           happens when you persevere. The play is about a man named Homer Smith, who drives into a small town and meets a

61 of 71                                                                                                                    8/18/10 10:54 AM
Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                              

           group of nuns who have just immigrated from Germany. They need help building a chapel, as Homer can see. Mother
           Maria Marthe wakes him up early in the morning and all the members of the convent go to work in the eld. Homer
           digs out the foundation for the chapel, and starts working on it. He eventually acquires adobe bricks, and then starts
           getting to the finishing touches of the chapel. Homer drives the nuns to church in the nearby town of Piedras, and also
           gets a job for extra money at the construction company.

           In all, Lilies of the Field is pretty slow moving. It’s not long, and I would recommend it to someone who likes slow
           books. I liked how there are not just two elaborate characters (Homer and Mother Maria Marthe) but there are other
           characters like a few of the other nuns who talk to Homer for instance Sister Albertine. Though a medium length, lots
           of lessons are learned from this play.


           Twelve Angry Men
           October 18th, 2009 · 2 Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           In Twelve Angry Men, a boy is charged for murdering his father. In the Jury Room the men are impatient. one is going
           to miss a baseball game another has a bad cold and just wants to go home. To get it over with as soon as possible they
           take a vote it comes out 11-1 guilty. After much arguing, the one man who thinks the defendant is innocent exclaims
           that the judges instructions were if they found the defendant guilty then they must be sure beyond a reasonable doubt
           and he had a doubt.

           In reaction, this book symbolises standing up for the right thing regardless of the effects on yourself. The author seems
           to say that most people wouldn’t do the right thing and just do what is best and easiest for themselves. Besides all that
           the book has a good story line and characters with drastically different personalities though they are all reasonably easy
           to relate to. It is almost like a detective story except all the evidence is presented beforehand and it takes place in one
           room. it has also been made into a good movie. Overall it’s a pretty good book.


           Elizabeth the Queen
           October 18th, 2009 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           I am in the middle of a play called Elizabeth the Queen. It is set in the time period when Queen Elizabeth I was ruling
           England. Elizabeth is currently in the middle of a war with Spain, and is also focused on conquering Ireland. The only
           problem is–nobody in her court wants to go to Ireland–because according to the book, its very marshy. But nobody is
           telling each other that. Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Robert of Essex are two very competitive rivals. Sir Walter is in
           cahoots with a man named Cecil, and Sir Robert is in cahoots with the Queen. Neither of the two men plan on going to
           Ireland–but both are pretending like they want to go–so their rival will say that he wants to go alone–and they can stay

           So far I really like this book because I am kind of obsessed with the England Tudor period, and I’ve always wanted to
           know more about Elizabeth I. The plot so far is really exciting–I can’t wait to find out what will happen when and if the
           two men find out that they’re both trying to pull off the same trick–and I think what might happen is that both the men
           have to go on the journey to Ireland. Something that I like about this play is that it gives you the stage directions while
           you’re reading it–which is really handy because it helps you visualize what would be happening onstage. There are only
           two things that I don’t like about this play. One is that it’s written in old English which is a bit harder to understand, and
           the second is that some of the dialogue is written in fragments–kind of like a poem–and it makes the play harder to
           read. But so far, I give this book two thumbs way up!


62 of 71                                                                                                                        8/18/10 10:54 AM
Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                            

           “Inherit the Wind”
           October 18th, 2009 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           I recently finished the book Inherit the Wind, by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Lee. Upon reading the back and the
           beginning of the book, I realized it was a perfect fit, as it talks about Darwin, and this year is his 200th birth-year. It
           stars a large variety of people with extremely different opinions and personalities, most of them quite humorous. It all
           starts when Mr. Cates, a schoolteacher, began teaching Evolution, but biased for Darwin, which immediately put him in
           Hillsboro’s county jail. The town soon invites the two most prominent lawyers in the States— Mr. Brady for the
           prosecution, and Mr. Drummond for the defense, who are, as the book states later on, like two bull elephants in mortal
           combat. Mr. Brady soon realizes he is losing, because the whole courtroom is laughing immensely at him. However,
           when the jury appears, and gives their verdict, they found Mr. Cates guilty, but as he was the first person to violate this
           law, he was sentenced to a fine of one hundred dollars. However, shortly after, in the courtroom, Brady dies.

           I truly liked this book, even though the comedy grew slightly tiresome at times. I recommend it to all the courtroom
           classic addicts and to all the To Kill A Mockingbird lovers.


           Kayleigh- The Crucible
           October 18th, 2009 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           Arthur Miller’s The Crucible is set in the seventeenth century in Massachusetts. It’s about the witch-hunt and trials in
           what was a small village in Salem, where everyone is very religious. If the court somehow got the idea that you were in
           cahoots with the devil, than you were jailed for life, or in most cases, hung or pressed (a method of torture that involves
           placing large rocks on people until they confessed or died). The village was so fearful of getting spirits sent upon them
           or of getting accused themselves, they became hysterical and crazy. Ruthless prosecutors, neighbors eager to testify and
           hysterical villagers are all things you will find in The Crucible.

           In my opinion The Crucible was a very interesting and well-written play. There were a lot of characters though, and it
           was sometimes a little bit difficult to get them straight, but they are all so different that it’s not too bad. The first few
           pages are a little bit dry, but keep reading, it gets better. Even though it was written in 1953, it was set in the
           seventeenth century, so the language is a little bit hard to understand occasionally. Miller developed his characters very
           well also. I thought The Crucible was very powerful and interesting.


           A Lesson Before Dying
           October 18th, 2009 · 3 Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           I am currently reading a play called A Lesson Before Dying. This play is based on the novel by Ernest J. Gaines but was
           created into a play by Romulus Linney. A Lesson Before Dying is about Jefferson, an innocent man who is sentenced to
           death, his mother, Miss Emma, who is trying to help her son as much as she can, and Grant, a school teacher who is
           unhappy in his occupation and is indebted to her. Although I am not very far into reading the play yet, the plot has
           unraveled quite a bit. Grant wants to escape from the South, where the story takes place, but his wife to-be does not.
           When Miss Emma has him come visit Jefferson, Jefferson hardly ever speaks, and since the time his lawyer called him,
           his own client, a hog during his trial he has believed it. He eats his food by rubbing his face in it and when Miss Emma
           asks why he wants to eat corn he simply answers that it is what hogs eat. No matter how many times Miss Emma tries
           to get Jefferson to believe that he is a man not a hog, he ignores her. So she decides to ask Grant to teach Jefferson how
           to die like a man, not a hog.

63 of 71                                                                                                                      8/18/10 10:54 AM
Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                             

           I predict that although it will take a long amount of time and patience, Grant will be able to have Jefferson understand
           that even if somebody calls him an animal, he is a man no less. I have enjoyed this play very much so far. When I
           imagine it on stage during a live preformance I think there would be slow quite moments that may seem a bit unfitting
           but also loud arguing scenes that will keep a nice tempo during the entire play. With even just a glance at the plot, it is
           possible to understand that this is a very powerful and moving piece. The defined personalities of all of the characters
           help the play, even when reading it, seem very realistic. I cannot wait to finish reading the entire play, I am sure that
           there is a great lesson within it.


           For Love of the King
           October 18th, 2009 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           This play has great detail in describing the setting but little dialogue. Although there is little dialogue there is a very
           passionate story line. The play is about a King and a girl who loved each other but knew the marriage could never
           happen. Seven years later she is lonesome and wants to see the King and their children. She gets a wizard to turn her
           into a peacock and goes to the palace she watches them until one day the King gets very sick and she asks the wizard if
           he will survive. The wizard says no so she sacrifices herself in order to save him.

           I had read two plays one was Alcestis by Euripides and one was For Love of the King and I found that the plays were
           parallel to each other. In Alcestis the man is greedy and tries to sacrifice his wife to save him self and in For Love of the
           King his love sacrifices her life for his survival. For Love of the King by Oscar Wilde had beautiful depictions of where
           the story was set but if you cut off all the fat (detailing) it is a very simple plot line.


           John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath
           October 18th, 2009 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           I just finished reading The Grapes of Wrath and felt that it was rather simple, but hard to understand. The first few pages
           were very deep with detail, and the literature was very difficult to comprehend. Once I started reading the first few
           pages, I had forgotten it was a play, and so everything seemed rather odd. Everything in italics, (which really means
           what is happening on the stage,) I took as to be part of the story. So I was constantly wondering why random singers
           and people with guitars always started coming out of nowhere. After twenty pages I realized what this all meant. I had
           to start over and read everything all over again, but I understood the writing more. I did not find the play translated into
           writing very interesting or ‘readable.’ The format of the book was more like a play script, not a story. I think future
           plays that are translated to books would capture more readers if they made them into a story format, not a script.

           The plot to The Grapes of Wrath is actually rather simple, with some tangents. It is about the Joad family, (a family of
           around ten members,) moving from the Oklahoma dust bowl to California to pick fruit for a living. Most of the script
           was about the Joad family setting camp, arguing with the campsite owners and driving on their way to California.
           However, under that light plot lies a deeper meaning of family virtues, hard times, and dealing with death. A rather
           unfortunate tale of being very desperate.


           Stalag 17
           October 18th, 2009 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized · Edit

64 of 71                                                                                                                       8/18/10 10:54 AM
Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                              

           I read the play Stalag 17 for my independent reading project. This play tells the story of American soldiers in a POW
           camp during World War II and their attempt to save one of them from death. This play has a good and consistent plot
           and some pretty funny scenes in it. It also gave me some insight into the lives of POWs in WWII. It starts with their
           daily lives and ends with a traitor, an escape attempt and a burning building. The characters slowly develop over time
           and the plot deepens as and unknown spy gives information to the Germans. It was interesting to see the prisoners use
           items stolen from the Germans, including a radio, a record player, and paper which they made newspapers out of, to
           follow the progress of the war going on outside of the prison and to keep up moral. The prisoners face a soul-crushing
           disappointment when a man who must evaluate the humanity of the camp decides that it is fine, not knowing that the
           Germans have given the prisoners luxuries that they didn’t have before. “Luxuries” like blankets and an unexpected
           cleaning. This is just a little bit of what is in the play. If you want to know more you will have to read it or see the play.


           The Glass Menagerie
           October 18th, 2009 · 2 Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           The play I read was The Glass Menagerie, by Tennessee Williams. Personally, I thought it was a good play, although a
           sad one because of the hopelessness of the characters. The three main characters were Tom, Laura, and their mother
           Amanda. Tom is a young man who longs for adventure and to be rid of his dreary life; working at the shoe warehouse,
           going to the movies every night, and providing for his mother and sister whom he lives with. Tom also enjoys writing
           poems, which has earned him the nickname Shakespeare from a friend from the warehouse. Laura, Tom’s sister, is
           self-conscious and extremely shy due to her crippled leg (one leg is slightly shorter than the other). This shyness has
           gotten to the point that she is afraid to do anything except listen to her old records and polish her collection of glass
           animals. She attempted to go to business school, but this effort failed miserably after she became sick during her first
           exam and never returned. Amanda, their mother, lives in the past. She clings to the times when she was popular and
           pretty. Her husband was a “telephone man who fell in love with long distances,” and left her to travel the world.
           Amanda is unhappy that Laura has no gentlemen callers, and so asks Tom to invite a nice man from work over to
           dinner. This turns out to be Jim, whom Tom and Laura had known in high school and Laura had secretly loved. By the
           end of the night Laura and Jim had had a long conversation in which he had told her that she had a low self image and
           how to be more self confident. He said she was pretty, and he kissed her. Then he told her not to get the wrong idea,
           because he was engaged. Laura was accepting, but Amanda was distraught that Laura’s gentleman caller had turned out
           to be engaged. The book ended by Tom deciding to follow in his father’s footsteps and travel, and he tried to leave
           thoughts of his family behind, but every once in a while, something was there to remind him of Laura and his life he
           left behind.

           Overall, I thought the whole play had very melancholy air to it. Like I have said before, the characters all seemed
           hopeless in their own ways. Laura, with her glass menagerie and old records, Tom, with his never satisfied longing for
           adventure, and Amanda, wishing for the past. The only normal character is Jim, who I feel bad for because he has
           acquainted himself with these sad people.


           Mark M.- The Diary of Anne Frank
           October 18th, 2009 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized · Edit

           I am reading The Diary of Anne Frank, which is a book about two Jewish families hiding in a house above a factory in
           1942 Amsterdam. There are 2 families hiding in a house above a factory, the Franks and the Van Daans, being assisted
           by two kind souls who are “hosting” them. The families are quickly becoming annoyed with living tight quarters,
           especially considering that they must be absolutely quite from 8:00 to 6:00 because of the workers in the factory below.
           After several scenes, a new man comes into hiding, and must share a room with Anne. He quickly becomes annoyed
           with her. I left off having read that during their Hanukkah celebrations, becoming extremely worried that the Green

65 of 71                                                                                                                         8/18/10 10:54 AM
Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                              

           Police–Nazis–will come and take them away to concentration camps. Somehow they continue to be joyful of

           I am thoroughly enjoying this play. It is well written and eye-opening to the hardships that the Jews went through
           attempting not to be sent to a Concentration Camp. I think that is play must have been very touchy as it was first
           performed not long after the war was over, in 1950. Though I have not reached any disheartening mishaps yet, I love
           this play.


           October 18th, 2009 · 3 Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           I just completed reading Frankenstein, adapted for the stage by Fred Carmichael. Frankenstein takes place outside of
           Vienna in the early 1930s. It stars Victor Frankenstein— a university student who was expelled, and, following his
           expulsion, becomes the mad scientist of the story, Gorgo— Victor’s crippled assistant, Elizabeth Green— a passive
           young lady longing for Victor’s compassion, Aunt Frederica— a motherly figure to Elizabeth, Berta— the maid, and
           Henry Lovitz— Victor’s friend. Victor collects body parts from graves and from cadavers and creates a dangerous
           creature that threatens the whole town, kills a renowned doctor, an innocent girl, and Victor’s assistant. He escapes from
           his chains and spreads panic throughout the village.

           I really enjoyed the fast-paced plot, and the eerie feel of the story. I am looking forward to reading the novel version of
           Frankenstein later this year. While reading the play version, all of the annotation on the props and the makeup of the
           characters slow down the plot and are really distracting. From what my mom has told me about the book, even the
           names of the characters are different and the plot line is more intricate. After finishing this play, I really wanted to see it
           in a theater. I would recommend this play to readers who don’t mind being scared, as the play’s plot resembles that of a
           typical horror story.


           Jordanw (Second Foundation)
           October 18th, 2009 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized · Edit

           I read Second Foundation by Isaac Asimov. In the book, the First Galactic Empire had ruled countless planets for
           thousands of years. It was an orderly empire and would quickly kill traitors or enemies if it was the most efficient way
           to maintain order.

           Harry Seldon, a loyal mathematician, was the last great scientist of the Empire. He invented and brought the science of
           psychohistory to perfection. A single human being is random and incalculable, but a group of human beings working
           together (country, business, etc.) are predictable and therefore calculable. That is psychohistory. Seldon calculated for
           days, even years and found that his great Empire was in a state of slow death and decay. He also found that if the galaxy
           was left to itself, the empire would die, leaving 30,000 years of civil war.

           Seldon then formed two groups of scientists called foundations which would form the new Empire to rule the galaxy.
           The first foundation was strong in physical science (the science of matter) which would be the physical force and
           conquer the galaxy with it’s monopoly of nuclear ships. The second foundation would be strong in mental science
           (brainwashing people) and be the guardians of the Seldon Plan. They would carefully calculate every variable in order
           to make the plan work. They would also supply the leaders of the new empire.

           Every aspect looked good. The first foundation had beaten the old empire and conquered the warlords. Then a new
           problem arose. The actions of a mutant who called himself the mule were incalculable which gave him the advantage he

66 of 71                                                                                                                         8/18/10 10:54 AM
Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                            

           needed to defeat the first foundation. The second foundation mopped up the situation as best they could. They made the
           mule peaceful using mental science and restored the first foundation. They then pretended to die so the first foundation
           was not be able to rely on them and therefore increased the probability of the Seldon Plan working.

           I greatly enjoyed this book because this author emphasized the great potential of the brain and how little of it that we
           use. It really made me wonder what would happen if we were able to read each others’ thoughts, fly, brainwash people
           and have supernatural abilities. I also greatly enjoyed this author’s (often called the father of science fiction) immense
           creativity. I’m looking forward to reading more from this author.


           Kaj B., Rossum’s Universal Robots
           October 17th, 2009 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           Recently I have finished reading Rossum’s Universal Robots, a play by Karl Capek. I believe it was actually the first
           piece of fictional literature to use the word “Robot” in the way we interpret it.

           In Capek’s world, Robots are artificial humans entirely composed of a fictional substitute for organic matter. In the play,
           “Old Rossum” was the one who found the formula for this substance. It strikes me as interesting that in the first use of a
           “Robot” in fiction was not remotaly similar to our established ideas of big, steel boxes with headlights for eyes, tank
           treads for legs, and weird digitized voices.


           Zoey’s Reading
           October 17th, 2009 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized · Edit

           Submitted on 2009/10/13 at 4:02pm

           I started reading Murder at the Vicarage for my play. It was incredibly dense and impossible for me to even get through
           the first 3 pages. So, I turned it back in and got our Driving Ms. Daisy. So far from what I’ve read it class today it looks
           like it will be a lot better of a read than Murder at the Vicarage. I’m actually intrigued by the play. It’s about a woman
           who is a really bad driver and crashes two cars so her son gets her a driver she doesn’t want…We’ll see where that
           goes! I won’t say more!


           Submitted on 2009/10/14 at 5:19pm

           I finished reading Driving Ms. Daisy today. It’s a very amazing story. I was very moved. Toward the end as the driver
           gets older (about 82ish) and Ms. Daisy moves into a facility (she’s about 90) they still stay in touch. The connection
           between them is very moving because even though they are just a woman and her chauffeur they become more like a
           I checked out Bad Seed and have read the first page. Anna T. says it will be scary but from the synopsis it looks
           good-scary. I’ll keep you posted…




67 of 71                                                                                                                      8/18/10 10:54 AM
Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                            

           October 17th, 2009 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           I just finished reading Tevya and His Daughters, by Arnold Perl. (Based on the Tevya stories of Sholom Aleichem.) In
           this play, Reb Tevya, a dairyman whose goals are centered around making sure his wife and seven daughters are fed,
           comes upon two visitors from Kiev. Upon request, he takes them to their destination on his lone horse, even though that
           is where he had just arrived from, and they reward him fondly with food for his family and a cow. Because of this
           animal, Tevya’s new occupation is as a dairyman. From there out, the play is about his attempts to try to make sure his
           daughters marry off to people who will take care of them, and that they are happy.

           I found the dialogue very interesting, because the characters would often say, by example Tevya, “Tevya is…” while
           talking about themselves. I thought this added a nice element to the story because it seemed to fit with the kind of lives
           the characters led. The family is Jewish, so occasionally I came upon words I wasn’t familiar with, but I enjoyed the
           light spirit and writing of this play. Though very short, (only 54 pages,) a lot of emotion and action were packed into the


           Lucy J., My Antonia
           October 17th, 2009 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           For my first assigned play I read My Antonia, a play by Willa Cather about a family of Bohemian immigrants who come
           to the U.S. of A. One of the daughters, Antonia Shimerda is taught English by Jim, also known as Jimmy, who moved
           to his grandparents’ house after the death of his parents. Antonia and Jim are followed throughout the play by child,
           teen and adult versions of themselves known as Jimmy, James, and Jim, and Annie, Tony, and Antonia respectively.
           The two children deal with the hard life of new immigrants, the suicide of Mr. Shimerda. They become teenagers and
           move into a nearby town. Eventually they grow up and part ways, Meeting again as adults, when each of them has a

           I thought that this was a very well written and enjoyable play, because, although it had a rather rambling plot line, the
           characters spoke and acted in a very realistic manner. I appreciated the way that they came through hardship and
           eventually had a happy ending. However, I thought that the play could almost be seen as overly emotional, and disliked
           the way that the characters began to dance at the closing of the play. I did like the way the characters grew up and the
           interesting insights into human psychology.


           Olivia-The Importance of Being Earnest
           October 17th, 2009 · 2 Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           I read The Importance of Being Earnest, by Oscar Wilde. In the book, Jack lives in the country and raises his cousin,
           but sometimes pretends to visit his “brother” Ernest. In the city he goes by Ernest and becomes engaged a girl named
           Gwendolyn who loves him primarily because of his name. Jack’s friend Algy decides to pretend to be Jack’s fake
           brother Earnest so he can marry Jack’s cousin Cecily. Later, Cecily meets Gwendolyn, and both under the impression
           they are engaged to Ernest, the true identities of Jack and Algy. Once the truth is revealed, Gwendolyn and Cecily seem
           unperturbed by the deception, and agree they would marry their respective fiances if their names were Ernest. Jack, who
           was an orphan then discovers that he is in fact Algy’s brother and his name truely is Ernest, as is Algy’s they then
           discover they have been telling the truth thier whole lives, which is concerning to them, but they don’t seem to mind
           that much.

           I found this book hilarious, and would recommend it. It gives you a good look at the trivial social quirks of the time and
           contains lots of sarcastic satyrical humor.

68 of 71                                                                                                                     8/18/10 10:54 AM
Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                              


           Anna T.-Bad Seed
           October 17th, 2009 · 2 Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           I recently concluded the play Bad Seed by Maxwell Anderson. A happy family that lived in the rural parts of the South
           consisting of a successful Corporal, a housewife and the perfect child. Or so they thought. Rhoda is an eight year-old
           who is polite, educated and intelligent. Her mother and father adore her and think they have been gifted with the most
           wonderful child in the world, though they are not aware that this small girl is a serial murderer. Little Rhoda killed her
           next door neighbor when they lived in Baltimore because of a shiny globe that had caught Rhoda’s eye, in addition, the
           center of the plot revolves around Rhoda having recently killed a fellow peer who had won a penmanship medal. Her
           mother eventually figures out her perfect child is not who she supposed she was. Christine, the mother, struggled to
           grasp the meaning that her child was a murderer, and had recently discovered her father had found her on the corner of
           the street when Christine had run away from her her famous serial murderer mother. Rhoda eventually deduces that her
           mother’s house worker had figured out that Rhoda has committed murder, Rhoda kills him. In the end, Rhoda and her
           father are the only remaining characters that are still alive.

           This play was very intense and deep. The idea that a child has committed three murders has haunted many of the
           readers and even the characters. In theory, Rhoda killed her mother, having terrorized her to the point of insanity.
           Despite the fact of the play’s disgusting plot, the writing was mature and had its share of mature vocabulary. The author
           opened up my mind to the world that is the hard truth of some characters in the diverse world.


           The Importance of Being Earnest
           October 17th, 2009 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           This play by Oscar Wilde is exceedingly quick and witty. The two main characters are Bunberryists, people who have
           an alternative identity– one for the city and one for the country. What would normally appear as Algernon, Earnest,
           Jack, and Bunberry are now squeezed into only two humans. But when they each fall in love and their identities are at
           stake, they need to be as creative as they are smitten.

           The Importance of Being Earnest seemed to have a certain editorial significance about names. How can just a couple of
           words sum up an entire person? How does the first name presented with a face automatically fit? All of the questions
           are exercised in Oscar Wilde’s creative play.


           The Lion In Winter
           October 17th, 2009 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized · Edit

           I just finished a play called The Lion In Winter. This play takes place in 1183 and it’s about King Henry and his sons
           who are fighting for the next spot as King. It also talks about King Henry’s wife, Eleanor, who has been imprisoned in a
           tower for the last ten years. She has been let out of prison to visit her family on Christmas, and there are complications
           dealing with the heir to the thrown.

           I didn’t enjoy the play since I’m not interested in the conflict between King Henry and his family or troubles he faced
           while reigning over England. In the first half of the play, I learned a bit about King Henry’s life, but after that, it mostly
           talked about the sons and the Queen. I also did not enjoy the hostile attitude most characters had toward one another.

69 of 71                                                                                                                        8/18/10 10:54 AM
Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                           

           The sons were very disrespectful to their mother, which bothered me. The play was very serious and not very amusing.
           I have started a new play called A Doll’s House, which I hope will be more entertaining. So far, I know the play takes
           place during Christmas. They main character lives with her husband, and they are very poor.


           October 17th, 2009 · 2 Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

           I recently finished reading Harvey, a play written by Mary Chase. Harvey is a comedy starring Elwood, Sanderson,
           Veta, Myrtle Mae, Kelly, and Harvey. The comedy starts when Elwood begins to introduce his imaginary friend,
           Harvey–a rabbit–to guests at an important society party. His sister Veta has seen too much of his strange behavior than
           she can tolerate so she decides to have Elwood committed to a sanitarium to save her daughter Myrtle Mae and their
           family from any future embarrassment in society. Although problems appear when Veta is mistakenly assumed to be
           just like Elwood when she explains to doctors that she can see Harvey also.

           I liked the play because of the enticing characters. Each character has a different interesting personality and story. The
           storyline was also intriguing and well thought out, but I thought some scenes in the play got dull at certain points. I
           think it was a little boring for me because quite a few of the scenes are just people talking about subjects that don’t
           really move the story forward. I would still recommend this play to readers if they don’t mind a few dull scenes and are
           looking for a comedy.


           October 12th, 2009 · No Comments · Uncategorized · Edit

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Brian Crawford 7th Grade                                                        

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