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Interpretation
Literature

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Cardiff Metropolitan University

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2013, Jade

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Nick Hornby – Slam Reading Log chapter 1 summary The maincharacter, 15-year-old Sam, is introduced. He likes skating (his idol is Tony Hawk), his parents don’t live together anymore and he’s in love with a girl named Alicia. personal thoughts • Sam really adores Tony Hawk • Sam is a little bit weird (he talks with a poster of Tony Hawk) new words • pathetic: weak, not successful • to own up to sth.: to admit, to confess • to duct tape sb.: to tie sb up with strong adhesive tape • to screw sth. up: to make a mistake chapter 2 summary Sam talks about his…
About a boy by Nick Hornby Reading Journal Content 1. Book summary 2. Book recommendation in a letter to a friend 3. Write a vocabulary list for each chapter 4. Summerize the most important facts of 4 Chapters: The “w” questions 5. Choose two or more Characters to write Characterisatio­ns 6. Write a newspaper article on an event of the novel 1. Book summary Chapter 1 we are given basic information on Marcus and his mum, Fiona: that they recently moved from Cambridge to London, that his parents are splitted up and that his mother had several relationships…

About a boy – Nick Hornby

How does Nick Hornby present the characters of
Marcus, Fiona and Will in chapters 1-9

A novel ‘About a boy’ by Nick Hornby was published in 1998, but set in 1993. The title was an inspiration from Nirvana’s song ‘About a girl’. 1990’s was the ‘yuppie’ period, which represented the impressive signs of success, for instance, flashy cars, penthouse apartments etc.

However, this period came to an end in 1987 when stock market crashed.

Novel is written in 3rd person narrator, known as omniscient. The narration moves mainly from Marcus to Will, but Fiona is mentioned throughout the novel as well. The changing narration allows readers to see the events of the novel through the eyes of each of the main characters; therefore we have more sympathy for them than for Fiona.

Author presents characters through various techniques, for instance their appearance and clothing; their values and views; also the way they speak. In the novel, Will has got everything without working due to the famous song that his father wrote. He reflects the “yuppie” which brings a negative opinion of him to readers.

Will is introduced to readers by a magazine questionnaire and it is very unusual technique. His voice is mostly arrogant and manipulative. Fiona is set as contrast to Will. She is an “old hippy” who doesn’t care about her looks. She has a strong voice even though she is depressed and there is no humour in her voice.

Marcus is represented as “odd”, but very honest and directed person.

Marcus is a twelve years old boy, but is very mature for his age, “some hard things became softer after a while”. This gives the impression that Marcus has experienced hard times during his childhood. In the beginning of the novel, Marcus suggests to “pick the  pepperoni off the pizza”, showing that he is sensible and pro-active.

Marcus has to adapt his mother’s hippy taste and beliefs. “She didn’t want him to watch rubbish television, or listen to rubbish music, or play rubbish computer games”, “mum, did you always know I was going to be a vegetarian?”, also listening to John Mitchell.

Marcus wants to be close with his mother, but he was bullied in the school for being different. Also he is very curious young boy, ‘have you split up now?’, ‘is he gone?’ as he asks a lot of questions. ‘He wasn’t right for the parties because he was too shy’, suggests that Marcus is .....[read full text]

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Will has been lying since he was a kid and even now he is a grown up man, he still is a liar, SPAT – he makes up lies that he is a single father or he lies that Marcus is his son. Sometimes he struggles to keep up with his lies, ‘Me, I guess’. He couldn’t develop his lies.

However, in some situations seems that deep down Will wants to be the person he pretends to be, ‘doing nothing all day gave him endless opportunities to dream’. Will is considering to volunteer in the soup kitchen, teach slow readers and open the bookshop or a restaurant.

He tends to stay away from getting involved in these types activities, because he is avoiding emotional attachment. Also he is very shallow, manipulative and selfish character, ‘Will could see how sad this was but he could also see that it wasn’t his problem’, ‘I really am this shallow’.

In the end, Will becomes more sensitive, for instance he buys Marcus new stylish trainers and uses his acting skills to protect Marcus in the dead duck incident.

Fiona is a single mother and a hippy. Through the novel she is incapable of taking care of Marcus,’ morning crying was something new, and it was a bad, bad sign’, ‘crying all the time’ suggests that she becomes depressed and self-centred.  She is a bad parent in many ways, for instance she has misplaced the equality, ‘we do not good to each other’.

Mother shouldn’t say this to a child as it is her job to look after him. She does not understand the emotions Marcus goes through, ‘You’ll get used to it’, ‘Marcus would have told his mum where the trainers had come from if she’d asked, but she didn’t even notice he was wearing them‘ suggests that she has lack of empathy for him.

Also after her split with Marcus’ father she took him to the Glastonbury, suggests that she sees Marcus more as a friend. Fiona alienates Marcus by imposing her lifestyle choices, ’mum had said that modern films were too commercial’, ‘she was always telling him that only shallow people make judgements on the basis .....

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