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To Kill A Mockingbird Theme: Lessons Learnt – Chapter 3 April 28, 2009

Posted by KJ theBookGirl in Analyse, book, GCSE, History, KJ, theBookGirl.
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To Kill a MockingbirdChapter three starts with Scout learning from Jem that she shouldn’t pick fights with people smaller than her, no matter what has provoked them “Let him go, Scout” this shows Jem’s authority and role of teacher and role model when Atticus is not present. 

Scout therefore learns about consequences of her actions and that she should not harm others. She learns this in Jem inviting Walter Cunningham home for lunch in order to make up for the fight and to help him where he would otherwise go hungry, teaching Scout about being charitable whilst allowing people to maintain their pride.

Scout also learns there are different things which people know and that people can be intellectual in many ways, “Atticus greeted Walter and began a discussion about crops that neither Jem nor I could follow” This shows that Scout is continuously learning, and still ignorant of much in the world.

The next lessons Scout learns is very significant – she learns that you should always respect everybody and their ways, even if you disagree with them.

Walter poured syrup on his vegetables and meat with a generous hand. He proabably would have poured it into his milk glass had I not asked what the sam hill he was doing…he quickly put his hands in his lap. Then he ducked his head… it was then that Calpurnia requested my presence in the kitchen.”

This is the course of action which leads Scout to realise that what she has done is wrong, and to understand the lesson.

” ‘He ain’t company, Cal, he’s just a Cunningham -‘
‘Hush your mouth. Don’t matter who they are…'”

This conversation/correction is the lesson which Scout learns, and is present throughout the book. IT doesn’t matter that Tom Robinson is black, or a lower class citizen or does things differently. He’s still a human living in the same time and place as Scout and the community she lives in, and that’s enough to qualify him for equality. Or at least this is what Atticus and the more moral citizens believe.

“Calpurnia sent me through the swinging door to the dining room with a stinging smack” 

This is the consequence of Scout’s actions, and Cal’s way of ensuring she learns from it and doesn’t act so disgracefully again.

Scout then learns that Cal has much more authority than she has, and that her father is an united front with the servant.

“I…suggested that Atticus lose no time in packing her off. …Atticus’s voice was flinty. ‘I’ve no intention of getting rid of her now, or ever.We couldn’t operate a single day without Cal”

This allows the reader to notice that Atticus is equal to all, whether they work for him, or are his family, whether they are black or white. It also teaches Scout that she is not in a position to treat anyone badly, especially not the ones trying to teach her and bring her up properly. 

A lesson which the reader sees demonstrated through the eyes of Scout, is that money does not qualify somebody to be desirable company.

“Little Chuck Little…didn’t know where his next meal was coming, but he was born a gentleman”

This display of manners is something which all people should aspire to possess, but is something which precious few of the character sin this book do have, and the majority of the people who DO have them are the younger generation, perhaps indicating that the jury of Robinson’s case may not have succeeded, but jurys of the future will be much more open minded.

 

Scout now learns that although she has flaws, her family -Atticus, Jem and Cal – all appreciate her and love her. 

“Calpurnia bent down and kissed me”

This display of emotion allows Scout to remember that although things can be tough, she always has her family there to help her. This is the total opposite with the Ewell’s where the father spends his time drinking, Mayella has to be the mother figure, and none of the children get education, help, care, love or even adequet food. This may be one of the main factors which leads Mayella to cause so much trouble for Tom Robinson. She is lonely, where Scout can never be.

 The next lesson learnt is arguably the key lesson in the entire book.

“You never really understand a person until you see things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it”

This lesson is putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and this use of apathy is what makes Atticus such a great lawyer, and what has, arguably, taught generations to acept others because they could be the same position. It teaches Scout to look past the surface and really understand who the person is and what they really are.

Scout learns next that there are people who aren’t nice,

“They were people, but they lived like animals”

This shows how people, like the Ewells, can have the opportunity to be equals in society – they are white and they have land – but they do not appreciate this and therefore should be outcasts in society. However they are still above the black community and are given special priveleges instead (they’re allowed to hunt game off season and the children only have to go to school the first day of every year, but they still get the opportunity to, unlike the black children).

Scout now learns what a compromise is,

“And agreement reached by mutual concessions… if you’ll…go to school, we’ll go on reading”

This compromise allows Scout to enjoy her hobbies, as well as teach her that although she can’t always get her way there is always something she can do to make it better. 

Finally Scout learns that ignoring people can be the solution to the problem,

Atticus said that if I paid no attention to him, Jem would come down. Atticus was right.”

This shows that Scout is slowly growing up and learning how to get along with other people. She also learns that Atticus ios wise, and his intelligence foreshadows how his morals will be right for the majority of the novel.

 

That’s all for chapter 3, and chapter 4 will be coming very soon.

KJ
theBookGirlKJ

Looking for JJ by Anne Cassidy April 27, 2009

Posted by KJ theBookGirl in book, GCSE, girl, KJ, Mystery, read, recommendation, review, theBookGirl, Young Adult.
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Looking for JJ“Three children walked away from the cottages on the edge of the town towards Berwick Waters. Later that day only two of them came back…”

Looking for JJ is a book which has stayed with me for years, I first picked it up when I was about 13, looking for something new and different in my local library and found the exciting new world of Young Adult. That’s where I cam across a beautiful book which on the inside flap read:

“Alice Tully knows exactly what happened that spring day six years ago – though it’s still hard for her to believe it’s real. The images, the sounds and the aftermath are imprinted on her memory. She’ll never be able to forget, even though she’s trying to lead a normal life – she has a job, friends and a boyfriend whom she adores. She’s making a go of things, putting her past behind her at last. But Alice’s past is dangerous, and violent, and sad – and it’s about to rip her new life apart

A  gripping and emotionally searing novel from an accomplished author. Anne Cassidy has tackled a terrifying subject with subtlety and imagination – Looking for JJ will not let you go.”

That blurb captivated me straight away, and as soon as I got home I just read and read and read. A few years later I came across it again whilst volunteering in Oxfam. I immediately bought it, remembering how much I loved it, and read it over the next few days; impressed that it wasn’t just good to a tween. 

The book covers the story of Alice Tully, a girl who has to face the usual uncertainties and problems in life which everybody has…but with the added difficulty of a horrific past. She has deep problems and conflicts rooted from the past, which she has to try to overcome.

It’s an epic story of beating the odds, survival in an unforgiving world and being misunderstood. It deals with living with the consequences of your actions and not being able to sorry to the person you hurt. 

This book really does absorb you, the reader, and also makes you really consider everything you do, and the actions.

Bad points, I suppose, are that some areas of Alice’s life could be developed a little more, so we see mor eof who she really is. Also, without writing a spoiler,  I was a little disappointed with the ending because it didn’t quite seem to fit with Alice’s personality.

I’d definitely recommend this to anyone who is interested in a crime novel, filled with chilling secrets and uncertainties. If you want to read something deep which can still communictae with you on a more basic level, this is definitely the way to go. 

Be warned, throughout this story I did need tissues.

KJ
theBookGirl

KJ Reading  

To Kill A Mockingbird Theme: Lessons Learnt – Chapters 1 and 2 April 27, 2009

Posted by KJ theBookGirl in Analyse, book, books, GCSE, girl, History, KJ, read, reading, review, the, theBookGirl.
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To Kill a MockingbirdTo Kill a Mockingbird explores loads of themes, but one of the first ones it goes into are the lessons which Scout and Jem (and often Dill) learn, especially during the first part.

The first notable lesson that Scout learns is that school life is very different from homelife and that she has to act differently there. 

The education system in Maycomb is poor, and Scout is told not to read anymore at home because the she learns is wrong. This makes Scout distraught and absolutely hate school, and leads her to find different ways to get out of going. “miss.Caroline told me to tell my father not to teach me anymore, it woyuld interfere with my reading” This shows that the education system was flawed.

Scout also learns that although Miss Caroline is the authority, Scout knows more about the ways of the people in Maycomb, and also is very perceptive. This is demonstrated when Scout has to explain to Miss Caroline why Walter Cunningham cannot accept the money for his lunch.

The reader learns how Maycomb works, the way the poorer parts of soceity pay Atticus and the rules of the playground, through Scout.

This concludes the lessons learnt in the first two chapters.

KJ
TheBookGirlKJ

Marley and Me by John Grogan April 21, 2009

Posted by KJ theBookGirl in book, KJ, read, recommendation, review, theBookGirl.
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The cover of the bestselling book

The cover of the bestselling book

I recently read Marley and Me which is a fabulous book and definitely worth reading (http://www.johngroganbooks.com/marley/index.html). I hadn’t really heard about it until I saw the trailer for the new film (http://marleyandmemovie.com/) in the cinema, and my friend told me how amazing it was. As a total animal lover, I leapt at the chance when she offered to lend me the book. 
The blurb on the book reads:
“John and Jenny were just beginning their life together. They were young and in love, with a perfect little house and not a care in the world. Then they bought home Marley, a wiggly yellow fur ball of a puppy. Life would never be the same. Marley quickly grew into a barrelling, ninety-seven pound steamroller of a Labrador retriever, a dog like no other. He crashed through screen doors, gouged through drywall, flung drool on guests, stole women’s undergarments, and ate nearly everything he could get his mouth around, including couches and fine jewellery. Obedience school did no good – Marley was expelled. Neither did the tranquilisers the veterinarian prescribed for him with the admonishment, ‘Don’t hesitate to use these.’ And yet Marley’s heart was pure. Just as he joyfully refused any limits on his behaviour, his love and loyalty were boundless, too. Marley shared the couple’s joy at their first pregnancy, and their heartbreak over the miscarriage. He was there when babies finally arrived and when the screams of a seventeen-year-old stabbing victim pierced the night. Unconditional love, they would learn, comes in many forms. The heartwarming and unforgettable story of a family in the making and the wondrously neurotic dog who taught them what really matters in life. For lovers of Tuesdays with Morrie, The Year of Magical Thinking, and even, of course, dogs! “
This book instantly drew me in straight from the preface. It is brutally honest about every event which takes place…and the events and adventures this book travels through are just phenomenal. Any dog owner will have hundreds of funny stories to tell you about their naughty dog, but I think Grogan must take the medal for telling his stories in this funny, personal way.
The book is written on a very informal level and is filled with short factual references about dogs and other features of the story which were interesting (although they did interrupt the flow).
Grogan has written this very well, allowing the reader to enter into his world and family life, whilst keeping Marley as the focus point throughout the novel.
As it travels through the life of Marley, as the reader you become extremely attached to the crazy dog, and you feel a mixture of pity and jealousy for Grogan as the owner and responsibility for this dog.
This book, I can guarantee, will make you laugh until you cry, and cry yourself to sleep. It is truly an emotional rollercoaster, but is definitely worth the ride as it gives such a profound understanding of dog behaviour it is impossible not to fall in love with Marley.
The bad points, which I suppose I should include, may be that Grogan gives the reader just enough information about other things happening in the story (such as the birth of his children, and the natures of his work) to get you to want to know more but then returns to Marley without giving the informatio n you sought. THis isn’t necessarily a criticism, in fact it is rather clever, whilst allowing him to keep a distance from the reader, but it is frustrating when you are reading the book.
Overall, this is a beautifully written book full of charm and laugh out loud humour. It’s definitely worth a read, although I advise a box of tissues! 
KJ
theBookGirlKJ Reading