[2015] Simmi Soora: Nightjohn

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[2015] Simmi Soora: Nightjohn

ResearchingWhile researching the main conflicts in this book, I learned a lot about slavery, discrimination and racism.This strategy was able to help me visualize each scene as if I were a character in the book, organize my thoughts and ideas, and also connect certain events that happened in this book to real life experiences of other people. This gave me a better understanding of the emotions the characters in Nightjohn experienced.

"Why they be cutting our thumbs off if we learn to read-if that's all it is?"" 'Cause to know things, for us to know things, is bad for them. They think we want what they got."-Paulsen 39

"First time I ran I got clean away. I went north, all the way. I was free.""I'd never heard such a thing. We couldn't even talk about being free."-Paulsen 54

"You learn to read and write and they'll whip you till your skin hangslike torn rags. Or cut your thumbs off. Stay away from reading and writing."-Paulsen 36

SummarizingSummarizing helped me thoroughly analyze the information I was reading, and distinguish the important ideas from the unimportant ideas in this text. I was able to ignore irrelevant sections of the novel to focus on the main message behind this story. This reading strategy was helpful, as I was also able to pick out fine details that I might have missed of forgotten about while reading this novel the first few times. For example while re-reading and summarizing I realized that the women who Sarney calles "Mammy" isn't Sarney's biological mother, but that she treats Sarney as if she were her own child.

SynopsisNightjohn is a novel about an extremely courageous and selfless slave named John who risks his life multiple times, to teach the other slaves to read and write. Despite being, threatened, whipped and having his toes cut off by his master, he continues to teach the others the importance of reading and writing. John believes that one day when black people gain their freedom, they should write about their experiences of being a slave. This way others can understand the suffering and hardship that slaves were forced to deal with.

Using the two reading strategies (summarizing and researching) I was able to identify some key themes, symbols and conflicts such as racism, discrimination, assimilation, and cruelty.

Nightjohnby Gary Paulsen

By: Simmi Soora


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