Sunday, February 1, 2009


I have recently been studying Nightjohn, by Gary Paulson. While looking around at the book, and some critiques, I found this wonderful essay. After reading it, I immediately asked for permission to use it on this blog, which I got instantly. I enjoyed it very much, and I hope that you do too:

In the case that I could bring a character back from Nightjohn, by Gary Paulson, I would bring back Nightjohn. I would think that if he came to the present day and age, he would be impressed with the relatively high literacy rate that African Americans have today. Obviously, the importance that he gave to teaching literacy among his priorities would make it possible to infer that this was probably one of his dreams come true.

Another striking difference would be the absence of slavery. The fact that everyone is free and equal would probably be a big deal for someone like him, especially since he was once a slave, and under today's laws, it would be illegal for anyone to own him in any way. I would hope that he would be pleased about the drastic change from slavery to one of his own race being the president of this country. I think that he, more than most people, would appreciate this difference.

On the other hand, I would think that he might miss teaching the English language. Of course, he could probably apply for an ELA teacher job, but with all of the restrictions and license related issues, he would probably have a tough time making it into a school system. However, I am pretty sure that he would enjoy present day life more that being a slave, or being on the run. In conclusion, I think that Nightjohn would be happy about how his life's goal has been accomplished.

-R. R.