#24 A Man For All Seasons

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This is the story of a man who was constantly tempted by society. The story is set in sixteenth century England, where King Henry VIII is trying to get a divorce form his wife. This book was written by Robert Bolt.

While this book encompasses many characters I feel that there is only one main character,  Sir. Thomas More. He is a man who was established on principals. He was born with the idea that you must be faithful, and unbowing to anything that would go against those morals and principals. When he challenged though he uses cool logic, and sound judgment to persuade his adversary to his point of view. He is the ideal lawyer, and interestingly he actually was a lawyer.

At the beginning of the story Sir Thomas is surrounded by enforced calm. Everyone is a little apprehensive after the war of Roses, but not King Henry. He goes to Sir Thomas to ask him for his approval of a divorce, but of course due to Sir Thomas’ principals he tries to dissuade the King. Then Sir Thomas’ daughter brings back a suitor, but the problem is that this man is skittish, and has no real reliability in anything. He has what Sir Thomas would call a “Convenient Conscience”. Then the King decides to go against the Catholic Church and gets a divorce, throwing England into upheaval. Everyone is trying to pick sides, but the consequence of disagreeing with the king is death. Directly After the King decides to leave the Church the King goes to More, and asks his opinion, More disagree and is sent to prison for a year, before he is called to court. While in court he puts up a good fight, but is in the end sent to an untimely end.

I believe that while this book may not be a hard read, it takes a hard reader to the lessons which it teaches about strong consciences and morals. I believe that this book is for all ages, but it teaches all of them a different lesson.

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#23 Animal Farm

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Animal Farm is the story and revelation of a deficient Russian Communism. The story features animals with a sense of politics, and a complete farm of creatures who struggle to decide what they want. It chronicles how just laws were changed into corrupt laws, how equality was turned into a dictatorship, how a man’s and a boar’s dream for a perfect society turned into an inhuman form of slavery, masked by the freedom the animals/citizens thought they had. They so believed that anything was better than Jones/Czar Nicholas II that they did notn’t realize that by the time they realized they were suffering from the worst oppression it was too late. Animal Farm is the story of how historically and theologically people/animals see their society, whether they know it’s bad – and don’t think it can get better – or are too stupid to even comprehend how bad it is for them.

IOn Animal Farm, there are many connections to the Soviet Union, to America, and to Europe. While many of these are important, there are two connections which really stand out to me. Napoleon-Ruler of Animal Farm is a representation of Stalin- the Ruler of Communist Russia- and Old Major, the creator of Animalism, stands in for Karl Marx, the creator of Communism- are the ones which shaped the book and history. Napoleon/Stalin, who started Communism/Animalism and ruined it for everyone else, used his power to teach the young, but they neglected the old animal’s/people’s intelligence. Old Major/Karl Marx shaped the world, but Napoleon/Stalin ruined it.

Old Major/Karl Marx had the best intent, but not the lifespan to bring it to fruition. TheyHe  even had the same message, to some extent. They believed that if the “workers of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your chains” (Karl Marx). Old Major knew that “man was the only creature that consumes without producing” (pg 7). He saw that, through animalism, they could reach a utopia of sorts, but he did notjust didn’t last long enough to help enforce it. Karl Marx knew that there was a way to make a perfect society. He created a perfect society where everyone was equal, but he had no people to put in it, and no one to enforce it once he was gone. Karl Marx and Old Major had hopes for a more equal society,  but sadly their most devout follower/followers were the ones who ruined their creation.

Napoleon and Stalin were radical Communists and Animalists. They appeared to have an accurate understanding  of Communism/Animalism at the beginning. They knew though that the voters weren’t the ones that decided, but “the people who count the votes decide everything” (Stalin). Everyone conformed to their ways at the beginning because they believed in them, but then they summoned the dogs/KGB to protect them. By using this “Big Stick” tactic they forced the animals/humans to accept their “explanations without any further questions” (pg 59). When they had completely dominated the population they started turning it towards fascism, in which  only they benefited from the fruits of other’s labors. Napoleon and Stalin followed Old Major and Karl Marx’s theory, until they got power hungry, and desperately wanted more and more, until they were only thinking of themselves.

In Animal Farm, the animals seem to have a strict theological code, which is changed bit by bit so that they don’t even notice. A great man once said, “if you boil a frog slowly, it will just sit there and die” (Kevin Peloquin). The animals on Animal Farm are slowly being turned towards a darker perspective of the original good/moral Commandments. Most of the animals were good, but the pigs got power hungry. Everyone remembered Jones’ time as the worst time possible, but they were too blind to see that what they had in that moment was worse than it had ever been. All the animals had an ideal perspective. The other reason they thought that everything was better was that they couldn’t even remember anything about Jones’ time. They felt as though they should be proud that they were being run by pigs, but they were hungrier than they had ever been. The animals could have overthrown the pigs, and governed themselves better than they were being governed. All the animals, the book wants you to believe, deserved to be treated fairly, but what the pigs did was so abusive that the animals were blind to how abused they were. So, once more, at the start of Animal Farm we see the way life ought to be, but with the changing of the rules and the fact that they thought everything was better since Jones’ time they turned away from the ideal society.

At the beginning of the revolution on Animal Farm all animals knew that “all animals are created equal” (pg 25), but this was slowly perverted until “Some are more equal than others” (pg 134). The pigs were once good and fair, but once they changed one rule, they felt some compulsion to change all the rules. With the breaking of “no animal shall sleep in a bed” (pg 25), to “no animal shall wear clothes” (pg 25) the pigs slowly become more and more human. When they break the last commandment, they become fully human. The animals know good from bad, but then the lines became blurred, and they became hungry, and scared, and looking for the pigs to save them, but the pigs weren’t really pigs anymore.

All the animals felt as though Jones was the worst it could possibly be, but because the pigs were animals too, they thought that they would be good, but in the end they were worse than every other farmer in England. Part of the reason that they thought everything was getting better and better is because of Squealer, or the propaganda he set up. He made them think that everything was “getting better and better” (pg 130). Another example is that they feared the dogs, but they also understood that the dogs were a technology  of power, which made the pigs think they were stronger than they actually were. The most important thing that made the animals think everything was better was that they couldn’t remember.

Animal Farm is the story of animals with a dream. “There was an idea to bring together a group of remarkable people, so that they could fight the battles that the animals never could.” Those heroes were the pigs, but they failed. They turned corrupt in their thirst for power, and control over the Animal Farm. The pigs had strong views about what they thought of their history, and of the historical bounds of their story, , but no man or animal can hold out against the pull of power. They were changed for the worse, and no one could do anything to stop them because they were to helpless. At first, then, Animal Farm was communist, then it was fascist, but one thing it will always be is this: Animal farm will always be the first farm to be owned and run by just animals.

 

#22 To Kill A Mockingbird

 

To Kill a Mockingbird is an eternal story. It shows us all the things that we don’t want to see. It revealed s the power of racism, stereotypes, and prejudice. It showed us things that we don’t want to think even know about, like “the simple hell people give other people-without even thinking” (pg 229) that they’re people too. We don’t want to see this, because it reminds us that we are all evil, whether that means  that we don’t respect people of a different color, or that we judge others for spending too much time outdoors. These things were all portrayed in To Kill a Mockingbird. After reading it, , I wanted to change the way our society views race, because it has driven a wedge in-between every single one of us, causing resentment, anger, and even causingmakes people to lash out inwith violence.

There are many examples of how racism has affected our world. For example, I.S.I.S originated only because colonizers in Europe came and established that one tribe was better than the other, so then they tried to kill each other. Another example of how racism affected our world is the 1600s and the e the start of global slave trade. While those are past examples of racism I believe that To Kill a Mockingbird is an example of how racism has affected us, in a way which is timeless. I think that Harper Lee wrote the book to open our eyes to the destruction that everyday racism has created. I know this is still a dilemma – 50 years later – but I think we are slowly moving towards equity for all. I see the light at the end of the tunnel, and therefore, I believe that To Kill A Mockingbird will become obsolete, like an antique computer. Right now, though, it still seems very relevant.

The heroine of the book is Scout, the narrator, who is a young girl. Scout is unlike the rest of society; she is clearly ready to fall, and get hurt for Tom Robinson, and other people of color. Instead of “keeping your mouth shut or talking their language” (pg 143), she made them see. Through her kindness, she showed Walter a kind of lightheartedness when she showed him her family, and what it means to be accepted somewhere other than your own home. She did this even after Walter got her in trouble. She also showed Mr. Radley some kindness, inadvertently, by relating him to Stoner’s boy, and saying “why he hadn’t done any of those things……. Atticus, he was real nice”(pg 323) . In the end, I believe that if she were real, her light and innocence could have made a real and serious impact in today’s society.

I believe that Scout was the  real heroine, but I think she would be completely different without Atticus. He taught her many valuable lessons. When we first met Walter, Scout learned that she needed to “climb into his skin, and walk around for a bit” (85). Atticus also showed her “what the truth is” (page 197). I think that when he showed her the truth, h. He showed her how blacks and whites are all the same, though they were   portrayed differently in the 1930s. He was the reason that they weren’t taken by Maycomb’s usual disease of racism. Atticus walked them through good times and bad, he helped them learn what common decency was by stopping them from bothering Boo. He taught them to be themselves, by letting them talk to Mrs. Dubose and Ms. Maudie. Atticus showed them how to be more than just morally “good” children, but also to use their conscience in a way no one else in Maycomb could.

While Atticus is one is side of the spectrum, I believe that Bob Ewell is on the other side of the spectrum. He is a greedy, easygoing, drunkard who does nothing but ruin everyone’s lives around him. He’s a drunkard who beats his daughter and his children, while slowly wasting away their money which they got from the church. He is a liar whose only compulsion is to redeem his already dirty honor. He was even so mad, that he was willing to kill children, just to get back at a man who he lost to in a court of law. He drove Tom Robinson so far up the wall that he killed himself. Mr. Ewell is an evil man, people need to see how racism changes people, for example Robert E. Lee. Mr. Ewell was a man who needed to get some help, but was so self obsessed that he managed to get himself killed.

To Kill a Mockingbird is a real book. An eternal book, as I wrote. Not just a fiction book that kind of relates to society, but also a book that perfectly embodies society as it ought to be. It impacted the world of the 1960’s  in a way that I doubt any other book could, by reminding us that we judge people wrongly, based off of the color of their skin.

#21 The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the witch

This is the story of a distopian society where those who actually can help are shunned, and those who corrupt and destroy are glorified. It is written by Joseph Delaney, and it is the first in a series. It takes place in the eleventh century.

The main characters are, The Spook, Thomas J. Ward, and a girl named Alice. The Spook is a mysterious figure who takes on apprentices who, like him are seventh sons of seventh sons. Thomas is a young boy who is like the spook, his mom sends him to the spook to help him fight the evil in their county, and Alice is a Witch, while she is only about thirteen, she receives great power from her aunt “Bony Lizzie” (also a witch). Together they band together to fight Witches and other things that go bump in the night.

As the story starts Thomas is about to get apprenticed to the spook, and no one is very happy about it, except for his mother, who has a mysterious backstory. His first day at the spooks house, he heads out to get supplies and runs into a posse of teen boys, who were starved, and needed food. As he fled away from them a mysterious girl (Alice) steps in and saves him from being beat by saying “Lizzie’s back”. Then she gives Thomas some cakes, and tells him to give them to a witch in a grave. Little does he know that those cakes boosted the witches power, but he realizes it to late. She escapes from her jail, and tries to flee, but Thomas accidentally kills her. now, you would think that that’s a good thing, right, if she isn’t around, she can’t do anything, wrong. She can now posses anyone, and her goal isn’t to make nice to anyone it’s to kill Thomas. To see whether he survives or not you’ll have to read the book.

This book was OK, but it was more like a starter. All the other books were better, I felt like it was a lot like Steven King’s novel the gunslinger, which was more of a starter than a real story.

#20 Dragon Rider

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This book was written by Cornelia Funke. Cornelia Funke has written many other books. Her favorite genre is fantasy. This story takes place all over the world, because it’s a travelling novel. It is about a dragon-Firedrake- a Brownie-Sorrel- and a boy named Ben. They go in search of the legendary Rim of Heaven, which is said to be in the Himalayas.

As the story starts Firedrake and Sorrel set out to find a new safe Haven-The Rim of Heaven- for the dragons, because humans are starting to take over the dragon’s territory. They are warned right as they leave to avoid the “Golden One”. They go to a rat to get a map which will lead them to the general area of The Rim of Heaven. When they arrive they meet Ben a homeless boy who lives in a warehouse. When they get the map they head out and intend to leave Ben, but after learning that a demolition team has destroyed his warehouse they invite him to going them on their journey. As they set of they are blown off course multiple times, and they meet some friends and the “Golden One” starts to hunt them. One of the friends is Professor Greenbloom- he is a researcher of fantastical beings- has two of the “Golden One”s three missing scales, and he goes hunting for him to get it back. Another friend is Twigleg who is a homoculus, he worked for the “Golden One” but he started becoming friends with Ben and the only way a homologous can die is if they give their heart to a human. He starts to (for lack of a better term) fall in love with Ben, and decides to betray the “Golden One” and send him to another place where he can’t chase Ben. Later they find out that Twigleg was the traitor but they decide to trust him. As the “Golden one decides to take matters into his own hands, and he will stop at nothing but to kill them. To find out how this fiction book ends you’ll have to read it.

This book was good when I read it, but upon reflection, I realized it wasn’t as good as I had wanted it to be, It was interesting and eventful, but it was just lacking, I just don’t know what.

#21 Wings of Fire

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This book is the first in a 10 book series, but I didn’t think it was very impressive. It was more like a lead up to the next books. It is written by Tui T. Sutherlands, and is obviously a fantasy novel for young adults.

The book begins in a cave, but like most books as the characters evolve so do their surroundings. The five dragons who we meet are the main characters and they are known as the prophecy dragonets.

The plot emphasizes teamwork and difference. As the story begins, we meet five dragonets (baby-juvenile dragons) Glory, Clay, tsunami, Sunny, and Starflight. Sunny is a nice and energetic sand-wing, but she isn’t like all of her tribe; she doesn’t have a barb on the end of her tail. Starflight is really a nice dragon but by being a night-wing he is always waiting for his “special abilities.” Clay is a nice easy going dragon, a lot like the rest of his mud-wing tribe he is always hungry. Glory is a rain-wing, and she is always being shunned because they are known for being lazy. Tsunami is ferocious and she doesn’t like to be left in a cave, she can’t wait to get out, and rejoin her sea-wing tribe.

As the story starts they are in a cave, being trained by the so-called talons of peace, who have kept them since birth. Tsunami desperately wants to escape, but when a mysterious night-wing comes and tells the talons of peace that they must kill glory, because the prophecy called for a sky-wing not a rain-wing they know that it’s time to escape. Clay and Tsunami make it outside, but an evil queen finds them, and tracks them back to where they were hidden, thus the prophecy dragonets become Queen Scarlet’s Prisoners. As the story progresses, they have to fight in an arena, where it’s kill or be killed. They also meet a dragon who can burn you to death just by touching you. To see how they escape, or if they escape at all you’ll have to read the book.

This book was not the best in the series I felt it was really lacking something, but I can’t put my finger on it, this book was okay, but the rest of the series was much better.

# 20 The Gunslinger

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The Gunslinger is part of the Dark Tower series. It is written by Stephen King. It takes place in a dessert in another dimension, but through out the series it goes to our world and many more. As the story starts Roland- the Gunslinger -is chasing the man in black. As Roland hunts the Man in Black he meets a boy named Jake who is the key to catching the man in black, but at what cost.

The main characters are Roland and Jake. Roland is the last survivor from his home city, and he hunts the Man in Black because he caused the destruction of his home- New Canaan. Jake is a boy from New York, but he got brought to Roland’s world, because he got killed by the Man in Black.

As the story starts Roland is in a city that the Man in Black was in, while there he makes acquaintances with a lady named Alice. Then He meets a man who was dead but was then brought back to life, Roland must kill him, but in doing so the town thinks he is a witch of some kind, and try to kill him. He then promptly kills all of them. As his search continues he runs across a boy named Jake who joins him on his quest. as they reach the end of the desert they run into a spirit who takes Jake captive until Roland talks with her. They then leave the cite and go deep into the mountains, but by then Jake learns that the only way for Roland to finally catch the Man in Black is for him to die. As they reach the end of the mountain range Roland must make a choice save the boy or catch the man, he choose to catch the man. After he does the Man in Black reveals his destiny for him, which then leads to the next book- the drawing of three. To find out Roland’s destiny read the book.

This book was really good, but it is more of an introduction than something that has to do with the plot. The next books are better. I would recommend this book to thirteen and older.