My selected author is the poet, Donald Hall. I chose him because his general biography really interested me. He is well known for his amazing works of poetry, and beautiful memoirs. After reading the epilogues to some of his books and his simple, yet sophisticated poems, I was immediately drawn to his work. Right now, the three works I am most interested in are his poems, Tubes, Without, and Ox Cart Man. There’s no doubt in my mind that I will choose other poems as the most interesting when I get the chance to pick them apart and analyze them further. I really like how Hall includes literal elements into his poems that help them to flow nicely and make them slightly easier to understand. Without is about the loss of Hall’s beloved wife and poet, Jane Kenyon. It’s a devastatingly sad poem that reaches into the readers heart and allows them to get emotionally attached to what Hall is describing throughout the work. Ox Cart Man is one of Hall’s most known pieces, making it one that I would like to look deeper into. As I am exploring more, I am finding more interesting poems that I did not put on my list. Donald Hall was very open-minded when it came to writing about his personal life with his wife. He has a vast variety of different types of poems that he has constructed, making him known as a versatile poet. Hall was born in the late 1920’s, and was the single child of a businessman and his wife. He was born in Connecticut, but spent much of his life in rural New Hampshire. He married Jane Kenyon as his second wife, and they were the subject/inspiration of the Emmy Award-winning Bill Moyers documentary, A Life Together. Hall is responsible for publishing 15 books of poems and several exceptional essay books.
Honestly, as much as I hate to admit, this novel is not as bad as I thought it was. It has definitely grabbed and somehow held on to my attention. The dialogue and language is difficult to understand at times, but if you think as if you had the mentality of the narrator, it become significantly easier to float through. The sequence of events has flowed nicely up to this point as well. The transition between chapters and different stories is easy to follow and understand. The element that draws me in the most is that it the story seems to be written from the point of view of a child, or someone of an age that is not yet mature, but the way the character thinks and his actions and what he has to live through seem to be traits of someone who is a bit older. In one minor way, I feel that Huck is wise beyond is years, but only in a very tiny, small, itty bitty, little aspect. As far as other characters, I think Huck has a person for every need. He has Miss Watson, who does her best to keep him in check and on track. She tries to make a decent person out of him without letting his leash too lose. Then there’s Tom Sawyer, the devil on Huck’s shoulder. Someone to keep him on the edge and tell him all the wrong things that he wants to hear. There’s Miss Watson’s Jim, who is a bit of an entertaining outlier for Huck; someone to take the hit of being less intelligent than Huck. The last significant character, I think, is Pap Finn. When Pap Finn is introduced, I think the readers gain an understanding of why Huck is the way he is. Pap Finn is an essential character to develop the kind of character that Huck is. I see him as the best and worst thing on Huck’s list of favorites. Huck enjoys time with his father because he has no school, no responsibility, but he also hates it at the same time because he is locked up in complete isolation and alone with just an old abusive drunk. I see this as an eye for an eye kind of deal, and I believe that explains Huck’s character very well.
I found “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” a very interesting story that happened to be written quite well. The irony of the story turns out to be the most intriguing factor, as the narrator describes Simon Wheeler as a dumb, bald, moron when he actually turns out to be the smartest character in the whole big deal of the entire story. He actually is extremely intelligent and even fires some shots at the narrator. I found the greatest humor when the gambling man, Jim Smiley, bet that a dog with only two legs would win a fight against a dog in it’s prime. It’s difficult for a dog to live on two legs in this modern age, let alone back then…not to mention winning a fight in which he was clearly the disadvantaged opponent.
As for the Independent Reading assignment for the 3rd quarter, I’m still on the edge. However, as time goes on, I am realizing that I enjoyed something different. Instead of the dreaded AR test, it was a dreaded book trailer, which almost all of us still allowed ourselves to procrastinate over. It was something new and something that made us think deeper into the story rather than just what the test questions were.
Then we have Huck Finn. To this point, I don’t have any reason to really not like it. It’s a story that I think I can get interested in and actually want to read. I am guessing that it will be an action filled story where Huck Finn joins Sawyer and follows his footsteps.