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Nightjohn by Gary Paulsen
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Nightjohn (1996)

by Gary Paulsen

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I liked this book for the most part. I liked the books use of imagery, granted that the imagery was focused more towards the violent events in the book. For example, the author used vivid description of how the slave owners punish their slaves. In a couple of scenes, the author explains that slaves are whipped until their skin splits open, tied their hands up, and salt is rubbed in the wounds to strengthen the pain. I liked how the author didn't hide or skip over this part of the book like many authors do because it pulled out emotions that could only develop through detailed imagery. I didn't like that the whole book was written through a specific voice. For example, when Sarny is confused as to why the 'white' people don't want the slaves to know how to read Night John replies, "'Cause for us to know things, is bad for them. We get to wanting and when we get to wanting it's bad for them. They thinks we want what they got." The language that is used throughout the whole book makes perfectly sense and is a great idea for the book, but I personally had trouble understanding and continuously read parts incorrectly, leading to having to reread many times. The main idea of the book was to value your education greatly, despite the huge risk in getting caught. ( )
  CatalinaDiaz | May 4, 2015 |
I really enjoyed this book. The main idea was about a girl named Sarny and her experience of slavery and her friend John. The book was very interesting and at some points graphic for my personal taste. Sarny was a little girl who is curious about the “white” house and learning how to read and write. John was a slave who had reached freedom, but choose to come back to teach the others how to read and write. The story had many great details describing the inhumane assaults against the slaves by Waller. For example, the story states “...she had screamed until she sounded like pigs being cut he made mammy to go to the salt house and get salt to rub it in the cuts to make more pain.” I could really imagine and feel the pain on my own skin from reading passages like this one. I also really enjoyed how the story was written. Gary Paulsen wrote the book using run on sentences and incorrect grammar. As seen in my previous quote “...made mammy to go to the salt house...” Having the story written this way allows the reader to connect to the Sarny and the lifestyle she is experiencing. This book is a great read and I would recommend it to everyone. ( )
  kfrey4 | Apr 13, 2015 |
First I chose this book because one of my fellow classmates talked Gary Paulsen up as an author so much, I felt the need to read one of his books. I enjoyed this book because the story was told from the perspective of a young slave girl, named Sarny, who is quickly approaching puberty. Once she reaches puberty her role and "dutites" as a slave would change significantly. Sarny makes friends with a man named Nightjohn. Nightjohn is a slave who had escaped and gone to the north to learn how to read, but then come back to try to teach others how to read. I liked that both Sarny and Nightjohn knew the potential trouble they could get in for learning to read, if they were caught. But their desire for knowledge and to help others outweighed the consequences of the risk. I loved Nighjohn’s character he is so inspiring and strong. Nightjohn has escaped slavery twice, but he returns for the sole purpose of teaching others how to read. The message of this book is that knowledge is power, and it can never be taken away from you, no matter what others do to you. This book shows the reader what true courage and determination is. ( )
  corzel1 | Mar 31, 2015 |
I enjoyed this book mainly because I'm a big Gary Paulsen fan, but I loved how Paulsen developed his character Nightjohn. With this truly inspiring story, Paulsen explains how NIghtjohn escaped slavery but twiceand came back to risk everything for the sole purpose of teaching others. I also felt that the message of this book is extremely relevant to anyone with an appreciation for academics and their importance in life. Knowledge is power, and it can never be taken away from you; Paulsen explains that no matter what happens to you physically or emotionally, you will always have what you know to lean on for the rest of your days. ( )
  ajohns75 | Mar 26, 2015 |
What a touching realistic story. I felt very connected to this story. Its about a little girl in slavery that learns how to write even though she is a slave. Nightjohn wanted to teach kids how to write since they weren't getting any education. Age-4th
  Jessie32 | Dec 9, 2014 |
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Questo libro è dedicato alla memoria di Sally Hemings, comperata, allevata e in seguito usata da Thomas Jefferson, terzo Presidente degli Stati Uniti, senza che mai potesse permettersi un solo respiro da donna libera.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0440219361, Paperback)

Imagine being beaten for learning to read, shackled and whipped for learning a few letters of the alphabet. Now, imagine a man brave enough to risk torture in order to teach others how to read; his name is Nightjohn, and he sneaks into the slave camps at night to teach other slaves how to read and write. Celebrated author Gary Paulsen writes a searing meditation on why the ability to read and write is radical, empowering , and so necessary to our freedom. These skills threaten our oppressors because they allow us to communicate--to learn the real status of our slavery and to seek liberation. In this tightly written, painful, joyous little novel is a key that may unlock the power of reading for even the most reluctant teens.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:22:38 -0400)

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Twelve-year-old Sarny's brutal life as a slave becomes even more dangerous when a newly arrived slave offers to teach her how to read.

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