Points of View

“From here that looks like a bucket of water,” he said, pointing to a bucket of water, “but from an ant’s point of view it’s a vast ocean, from an elephant’s just a cool drink, and to a fish, of course, it’s home. So, you see, the way you see things depends a great deal on where you look at them from.”

Alec Bings, the boy who grew down from the air, in The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster.

Taming the Literary Animal

Poet Matthea Harvey, keynote speaker at the Conversations & Connections Conference, Washington, D. C., April 13, 2013:

Writing is not a career. It’s a way of being in the world that can be both painful and beautiful.

Writing is like a wild animal. You will never tame it. Some days it eats out of your hand, other days there’s not even a glimpse of a tail in the shrubbery.

IFN Hiroshima Discussion

Welcome to our IFN comment string on the classic nonfiction book, Hiroshima, by John Hersey.

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In writing Hiroshima, John Hersey portrays six survivors of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima–following their unique, yet irrevocably linked stories. Via intense interviews and research, Hersey created a serialized narrative of the events, including residents’ actions in the calm before the Noiseless Flash.

Here are some questions to spark our discussion. Choose one or two and leave a comment:

1) Describe a literary technique Hersey uses to create a voice for the characters (give an example); 2) How do  their stories illuminate the event’s backstory, panoramic picture, investigation, or aftermath (again, cite a particular example).

Or, 3) What did you find most effective about this book and what purpose does it serve as a work of narrative nonfiction?

After the first few commentators, later contributors can refer to an insight previously made as well. Please add your name at the end, so that we know who is speaking, as not everyone recognizes e-mail addresses. Everyone in class should add at least one comment (appropriate comments, of course). Set aside part of our normal class time to comment or follow, though any final responses would be due by 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Thanks!