David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell has proved to be a thought-provoking study in only the first quarter. One repetitive message throughout the section is that often what we view as advantages are often not. So far in the novel, I think the authors way of expressing this theme is very successful. By showing his messages through short stories readers are really able to relate to his messages. For example- haven’t we all experienced thoughtful discussions in around a 25 person class? By using an example that many can relate to, Gladwell is able to have his audience understand and visualize his evidence. That situation reminds people that unlike popular belief, large classes can have benefits, which Gladwell states in his book. Also, the statistics in the book create visuals that keeps the readers attention and allows for a way to convey information easily. I also like the statistics because it supports his opinions and makes them seem believable.
However, I believe that occasionally his opinions are too debatable. For example, he says that Monet’s paintings were better suited at a small art show than at the prestigious Salon showings. Even though Monet received attention in the local and small painting world – wouldn’t he of reached an even bigger audience at an worldly celebrated event? This is just one example where Malcolm’s opinions can easily be challenged.
Just a quarter into the novel, The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd has proven to be worthy of the phrase it has received from awards and book clubs across the country. One of the themes that has surfaced in the life of Sarah Grimke is gender expectations. All her life, she has had ambitions to become a lawyer, just like her father. However this Sarah’s dream is turned down when she is only allowed to take lessons in simpler subjects such as drawing and sewing. When she suggests she would like to become a lawyer, her mother even says, “A lawyer, Sarah? The idea is so outlandish I feel I have failed you bitterly” (Kidd 80). This displays that Southern women have certain morals and standards to live up too, and it would be a crime to defy those standards. Gender expectations is also seen when her mother is forced to run a traditional Southern Household and have religious and social duties in the upper class Charleston Society. Having a women be required to uphold duties that are not desired reveals the pressure that is given with the reasoning that they must act a certain way to not be shamed in their society.
The theme of Gender Expectations is just one of the concepts that overlaps with To Kill A Mockingbird. Because her mother is never around to take care of her, Sarah has a African American slave that takes her role as a mother. This maid, Binah, can be compared to Calpurnia because of the morals lessons they teach their children and their influence in their upbringing. Scout and Sarah are similar characters because they are both portrayed as tomboys. This characteristic brings them both negative attention by society, who tries to conform them to act more like ladies.
Marcelo In The Real World by Francisco X. Stork is the captivating story of the narrator, Marcelo. Throughout his whole life, he has been able to hear music that nobody else can- which is an outcome of his Aspergers syndrome. To Marcelo, his differences have never been visible until his father forces him to take a job at his law firm in attempt to learn how the ‘real world works’. He learns to blend in until he finds a picture of an injured girl and feels the injustice and pain of the world for the first time.
One of the main techniques the author used throughout the novel was dialogue. In the beginning of the novel, Marcelo’s condition is not stated so the readers rely on the slow speech patterns in the dialogue to infer his condition. The use of dialogue is also vital in the later sections of the book when Marcelo begins to adapt to the ‘real world’. When Marcelo uses phrases or slang he didn’t know before his internship, the reader can see the adaptations Marcelo has made to his environment and culture.
I would recommend this book to all high school students because of the eye-opening themes and thought provoking ideas. The author’s simple narrative style, reminiscent of popular authors such as John Green, makes the book easy for teens to relate to and an interesting read.