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Beiträge von Leah Wilson
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Rezensionen verfasst von
Leah Wilson (Westminster, Colorado)

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The Grapes of Wrath (20th Century Classics)
The Grapes of Wrath (20th Century Classics)
von John Steinbeck

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4.0 von 5 Sternen Grapes of Wrath: A Book Review by Leah Wilson, 27. März 2000
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These are the values upon which our country was founded. Yet history has shown that this has not been the case for many people living in the United States. Americans have been restricted from these rights because of unalterable circumstances such as race, sex, religion, or in the case of Grapes of Wrath, because of economic status. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck takes place during the 1930's, a time of nation wide economic hardship. Many books have been written about the great depression but this book is unique in its focus on another great tragedy effecting the country at the same time. The great dust bowl caused the migration of thousands of people from the Midwest US to the state of California in search of a better life for their families. This book addresses the hardships suffered by those families. This book is very effective in portraying these struggles both generally and personally. Steinbeck chose to alternate chapters between general descriptions of the country's struggles and the story of one specific family by the name of Joad. The general descriptions display the widespread difficulties people everywhere were suffering by describing the people as a general, family unit, "And the man, the leader of the family, leaned from the car. Can we pull in here an sleep?" (Steinbeck, p268) These chapters addressing the "big picture" were followed by chapters that brought the issue to life by displaying the struggles of the Joad family. This alternation of big picture, small picture story telling resulted in a well-rounded image of a time period in American history. So much can be gained from this book it is a definite asset to anyone's reading list. Not only is it a great chronicle of history, it is a story about the American dream, and the quality of life. The length of the book shouldn't provide an obstacle for a reader seeing as how it is neither exceptionally long nor short and it maintains a good amount of excitement and adventure throughout the novel. The only thing that may be distracting to some readers is the periodic breakaway from the main story line. However, if one can see this as a valuable literary device instead of an obstacle, it will actually provide a greater understanding of the time period. The Grapes of Wrath provides a great insight into a period of history. By reading the book, the reader is left with greater understanding and empathy for those who lived during the dust bowl of 1930. The bravery and strength that is demonstrated by the Joad family is both phenomenal and inspiring. It is a good example for people today who are suffering through difficult times. When these people where faced with hardship, they did not roll over and die. They picked up their lives and their families and they set out determined to find a way to protect and provide for themselves. At a time when everyday people in our country are turning to drugs, gangs, or crime as solutions to their problems, a great lesson can be learned from these families: The world is not perfect but that is no excuse to give up on life. And life was the picture John Steinbeck was trying to relay in his book. A raw, honest look at life during a time of great hardship and trial. The Joad family was an excellent portrayal of a typical family from the Midwest in search of the better life they had been promised elsewhere. Steinbeck characterized the family through dialogue that depicts both the diction and accent of a typical Midwest family in the 1930's, " 'You jus' goin wes'?' 'Jus' on our way.' 'You ain't never been in California?'" (278). Choosing to maintain the dialogue in this natural state adds to the authenticity of the novel and creates a better picture for the reader.

A Farewell to Arms
A Farewell to Arms
von Ernest Hemingway

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3.0 von 5 Sternen Farewell to Arms: A book review by Jacky Jones, 27. März 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: A Farewell to Arms (Taschenbuch)
It is World War I. the fighting between the allied and enemy forces throughout Europe has worn on for months. Almost everyone is tired of the fighting but continue to serve for the good of their countries. For an American serving in the Italian Army, who lacks the patriotism for the country he serves, it becomes quite difficult to focus on the importance of the cause at hand. The discovery of love by Fredrico Henry proves to be a major distraction that ultimately affects the remainder of his presence (or lack of presence) in the war and his subsequent lifestyle. Ernest Hemingway left A Farewell to Arms, although with many sub-themes, with a focus on the classic theme of love and war. The focus on these two themes is evident in the way the two affect each other and in the organization that Hemingway used in the novel. Because the main character narrates the story himself the reader has a keen insight on his true feelings on both love and war. We find in the beginning of the novel that Henry has no incredibly strong viewpoint on the war itself, he seems not to like or dislike it. It is not until the presence of a person who creates love and passion in his life that a true standpoint begins to form. It is the desire to return to love that gives him the inspiration to break from his present situation later in the story. The other major character that could be considered more static, as compared to the dynamic nature of Henry's character, is Catherine. With her love and dedication she produces the inspiration in Henry that creates the changes in his character. The presence of the conflict of war in the novel is used to show the changes that it too can have directly or indirectly on a person's outlook on life. The novel is organized in a manner that seems to separate the effects of love on a life and the effects of war on that same person. The primary chapters of the book deal with the terrible images and injuries that Henry encounters during the fighting. Hemingway does an excellent job at painting a picture of the horrifying aspects of war during a specific battle scene early in the story. He also does a great job in later parts of the story at relaying the way that Henry and Catherine feel about each other. He does this with detailed inner monologues on the part of Henry, and complex but easy to understand dialogues between the two lovers. At the very beginning the novel is somewhat hard to get into because the narration starts by trying to pull the reader into an event (the war) that has already started. There is though some action that pulls you quickly into the plot, and is then followed by the basis of Henry and Catherine's romance. The book is organized in to chapters within books one through five. This separation of parts of the book, and the flow of the writing proves to make A Farewell to Arms an easy reader. One difficulty that a reader may encounter while experiencing this reading may be the complex dialogues. Sometimes the dialogues carry on for so long that it becomes hard to keep track of who is talking at what time. At times it may be necessary to go and read back through the text to understand exactly who is speaking in order to retain its significance. The plot overall is not hard to understand or hard to follow and creates a quite rewarding experience in the end. While reading this book it became quite easy to get close to the characters. Characterization is utilized well by Hemmingway to achieve this true knowledge of both Henry, and Catherine at times. The message of the book can be looked at as one that stresses the importance of love in trying times of chaos. This novel also gives an insight to the softer sides of the war. Although brutal at times, it gives outlooks into the slower and less action pact parts of fighting that are not often seen in a war novel, such as time spent with other soldiers in the mess hall, strong friendships, time in the hospital and the bliss of residing in a country neutral to the war.

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