Thursday, January 09, 2014

Extended Essay: Salinger, Bryson, Ishiguro

Last term Transition Year pupils completed their major literary Extended Essays. Over the next while some of the best will be appearing here.

First, a fine piece by Harvey McCone. In his introduction, he writes

"I always had a big interest in books when I was younger. In fact I used to read almost a book every week. Many of these books, probably the vast majority, were about children. I was obsessed with books about young boys who were heroes such as The Alex Rider books by Anthony Horowitz and The Young Bond books by Charlie Higson. I wanted to be the characters in these books. I also found it easy to connect with them and to form feelings for them. And I suppose this interest has stayed with me ever since.
As soon as Mr. Girdham described what Never Let Me Go was about to the class, I was instantly hooked. An alternate world where child clones exist is something that I would always want to have read about. I had heard about the book before but I had never known it was about clones! So that was my first choice. Next I had to find a second book. While reading through the list of recommended books, I stumbled across a book that sounded strange. It was The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson. When I found it and read the back I was so happy. For some weird reason I am fascinated by everything to do with 50’s America. The cars, the music, the cinemas and theatres, the fast food restaurants and many other aspects of life. So to find a book that was an autobiography of a man’s childhood in 50’s America was also a perfect match.
Then I had to try and find a theme that I could connect these two books with before I chose my third book. This theme was childhood and growing up or coming of age The third book I chose was The Catcher In The Rye. It takes place once again in America in the mid-20th century. It is about a boy who is attending a boarding school. It is interesting because Holden is not a very ‘normal’ boy. His way of thinking is a little different."

Read Harvey's full essay here.

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