When we think of a nonfiction book, what usually comes to mind is something like the narrative prose of a true story like a biography. Generally, the nonfiction genre is not as popular as the fiction genre because nonfiction stories are slower and do not require as much analysis. I always believed that nonfiction stories tend to drag on longer than they should and I thought it was inevitable to lose interest after the first few chapters. However, my opinion of the nonfiction genre changed when I took an English course this term called the Craft of Nonfiction.
One of my favorite books from the class was Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt. The book focuses on an antique dealer named Jim Williams who is accused of murdering one of his workers and a male hustler named Danny Hansford. The story takes place in Savannah, Georgia and the author shifts his focus from one character to another and from one event to another. Therefore, Berendt tests the limits of the boundaries that puts a story under the category of nonfiction. He does not tell the story chronologically since he rearranges the sequence of events to dramatize them and to take the readers by surprise. While reading the book, I had to keep reminding myself that the peculiar characters and the beautiful yet isolated setting of Savannah are all real. This book is definitely recommended to readers who want to try nonfiction.
Recently in my English class, I read a short story called “Graduation” by Andre Dubus. The story focuses on a teenage girl, Bobbie Huxford, as she tries to escape her stagnant life in Texas. At her high school, Bobbie is considered to be an “easy” girl who would have sex with anyone who shows interest. Her bad reputation eventually causes her to feel lonely and vulnerable. When she finally graduates high school and moves away for college, she decides that she has the chance to start anew. She starts to live a lie as she acts as if she were a virgin. When she gets a boyfriend in college, she lies to him and tells him that she was raped by her uncle when she was younger. Bobbie lies in order to portray herself as an innocent and pure girl. The boyfriend buys her lie. He feels like her protector and loves her for being so pure. Bobbie eventually marries her boyfriend and she lives her life of lies. This story shows how as teenagers we all care too much about what others think of us. We don’t like to feel like we don’t belong and sometimes we lie to fit in or make others like us. Lying is easy. But the hardest part is to live with the lie. I thought that the story was relatable and I highly recommend it to students.
In April, a speaker from The Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame, Bambi Mroz, talked about how we are living in an age where women are rising to their feet and demanding to be empowered. For far too long women in general were classified as the weaker sex. However, through the years, women have challenged the traditional female roles and have gradually climbed up the social ladder. Fighting passionately to make their voices heard, accomplished individual women have challenged themselves as well as the public’s view to break down the gender barrier. One of the examples that Mrs. Mroz gave us was Loomis graduate Ella T. Grasso who was first woman governor in her own right. Though women have progressed in a number of areas, the fight for women’s rights is not over. Gender equality is an ongoing battle for women. Although there is still more work to do, women today have many more opportunities than women of previous generations. We, as women, shouldn’t be discouraged, because it’s often the last key in the bunch that opens the lock. The women of the past were the keys that opened the door for the women today. In the near future, there will be more women leaders opening more doors. I hope to be one of those women to open a brighter and better door for the future generations.