Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Boyne, Haddon, Whyman

Here's the latest in the series of impressive Transition Year Extended Essays we've been posting over recent weeks. Robbie Hollis wrote about the theme of Troubled Childhoods in three novels - John Boyne's The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, and Mark Whyman's Boy Kills Man.

In his conclusion Robbie reflects on the experience of writing this long essay:-

In the introduction I outlined the basic plots of the books, and introduced the characters and people in the books. I found that this was easy, as there was a lot to write about, and I felt I had to hold myself back, because it is very easy to write pages on the plot of a book, basically retelling it, but very hard to write about the actual people, places and story, without just saying line after line about what happens in the book itself.

When going through the relationships I decided to stick to the main character in each of the books. Otherwise I could have rambled on forever about every little character in e
ach book, and thought this would be rather boring. I learnt that when I read a book I don’t really think in a lot of detail about the relationships characters have with each other, until I have to write about it, then I thought about it in a lot more detail, and for future reference I think I will stop and maybe think just what each relationship means to each person, and how the plot and story are affected by each and every relationship, whether it is in a small way, or a big way.

Whilst I was on character changes, I also found a great depth of things to write about in the subject. I discovered that in every book, almost all of the characters change in some way, and this is the core focus of the book, although I didn’t realise before that all books tell of great adventure, or saddening loss, or violent crime, but if I look closely I will see that the author is writing it around the character, and not the plot, and that this is the way to write and focus on a book, do not think about the action or adventure, or excessive violence, think of the character and how he or she changes through out the course of the book. I believe from now on I will look at books in a very different, more personal way, and I think that everybody should discover what I have, and be able to read a book in that way.

Read Robbie's full essay here.

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