english literature

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English Book Report Slam By Nick Hornby English Literature Essay

I think the story is set in the beginning of the 21st century, because they have cars, computers and mobiles. They also go to the cinema and the Mac Donalds.

“She looked at the wrapper.

’21/05/09, it says’.

(If you’re reading this in the future, then I should tell you that all this was happening long before 21/05/09. We had plenty of time to use that condom, years and years.)”

Time: how much time does the story take? Does it take hours, months, years?

The story takes about 2,5 years. In the beginning of the story is Sam sixteen, but in the end of the book he’s eighteen. The biggest part of the story takes about one year; the time before Alicia gets pregnant and when Alicia is pregnant.

I found two quotes:

“Before I go on with this conversation, I have to stop and say this: I’m eighteen years old now. I was just sixteen when this conversation happened. So it was only two years ago, but it feels more like ten years ago.”

“I’m eighteen, and so is Alicia, and Roof is nearly two, and my sister is one, and even my mum and dad aren’t old yet.

Place: Where is the story set?

The story is set in England; London but also in the skate park Grand City and Hastings.

It takes part in a city. Sam and his mother are standard citizen.

They are not very rich, because his mother and father are divorced. When his mother was sixteen, she got pregnant of Sam and therefore she didn’t have a good education. She doesn’t have a good career. She is struggle to raise Sam. His father is a plumber and he has no interest in raising his son.

And Hastings was the first place I thought of when I woke up that morning, the morning after I’d been whizzed into the future. I was positive that Alicia was pregnant, and I knew I didn’t want to be a father. So I had to move out of London and never come back, and Hastings was the only other place in the whole of England that I knew. “

Alicia and her parents live in the rich side of the city.

“They lived in one of those big old houses off of Highbury New Park’. ‘I’d never been in one before. Everything about her place was different form ours’. ‘Hers was big, and we lived in a flat’. ‘Hers was old, and ours was new. Hers was untidy and a bit dusty, and ours was tidy and clean.”

Plot

Introduction:

Sam goes with his mother to a party, and his mother introduces him to Alicia. They fall in love with each other and they have sex. But after a while they break up and Alicia finds out that she’s pregnant.

So you read about the time before Alicia is pregnant.

Main part:

Sam can’t handle the pressure, so he runs away to Hastings. But then he realizes that he has to be a good father for his child. He decides to go back home. Together with Alicia they tell their parents that Alicia is pregnant. Both parents don’t like it.

So you read about the time during the pregnancy.

Conclusion:

Everything is calming down. Sam and Alicia get back to each other, and he moves in with Alicia. They get a son, named Rufus.

So you read about the time after the pregnancy.

Characters

Main Characters:

Sam Jones: He’s a sixteen year old skateboarder. He knocked up with his girlfriend but he is scared and unprepared to be a father. In the beginning of the book he is a little bit a still child because he doesn’t want to take responsibility for his own actions. His idol is Tony Hawk. He has a poster of him to whom he talks about skate tricks and his life. He has numerous dreams in which he’s in the future, raising a child with Alicia.

Alicia Burns: She’s sixteen years old. She had met Sam at her mother’s birthday. They fall in love with each other and they have sex. After a while they break up, but Alicia finds out that she’s pregnant. She doesn’t want an abortion, so she is going to keep the child. They raise their son, Rufus, together. At the beginning of the book she is funny and crazy, but in the end she is smart and almost grown-up.

Annie Jones: She’s the mother of Sam. She’s 32 years old. She doesn’t have a good relationship with her ex-husband (Sam’s father). She struggles to raise Sam, and she is very mad when she discovers that Sam’s girlfriend, Alicia, is pregnant. She thinks he is throwing his life away. She is thinking so because she also has got a child when she was sixteen years old. She becomes involved with Mark, a man she once knew through work, and later in the book it’s revealed that they have a child together.

Minor Characters:

Dave Jones (Sam’s father)

Andrea Burns (Alicia’s mother)

Robert Burns (Alicia’s father)

Tony Hawk (Sam’s idol, a profession skater)

Rabbit (Sam’s skater friend)

Rubbish (Sam’s skater friend)

Rufus (Roof, the son of Sam and Alicia)

Mark (The boyfriend of Sam’s mother)

Emily (the baby of Annie and Mark)

Alex (Sam’s girlfriend in the future)

Carl (Alicia’s boyfriend in the future)

Theme/message

The clearest message of the book is teen pregnancy. The writer wants the reader to know in what kind of trouble you can get if you’re going to be a teenage parent. He shows you that you have to deal with family’s who are going to be mad at you, because you are very young to be a parent. Their also comes financial problems and relationship problems.

Sam’s mother also gets pregnant when she was a teenager so she gives the wrong image to Sam. The parents of Alicia also said: “Don’t you people ever learn anything?”. The parents of Alicia are better raised. In the rest of the book Sam thinks about the pregnancy and how it effected his mother’s life.

This is a quote, when Alicia and Sam tell the parents of Alicia that she is pregnant. Her father ask Sam a question about his mother.

‘Can I ask you something, Sam?’ said Alicia’s Dad. He hadn’t spoken for a while.

‘Yeah. Course.’

‘I remember your mother at the party where you met Alicia. She’s very pretty, isn’t she?’

‘I dunno. S’pose, yeah.’

‘young and pretty.’

‘yeah.’

‘How old is She?’

‘she’s… Well, yeah, she’s thirty-two.’

‘Thirty-two. So she was sixteen when you were born.’

I didn’t say anything.

‘Jesus Christ,’ he said. ‘Don’t you people ever learn anything?’

I think Nick Hornby wants to learn teenage children that they have to be careful with having sex when they are young, it brings a lot of problems with you. Of course it also have good things, but it’s better to wait with having children’s when you are a little bit older.

B: Your opinion

Which character(s) did you like?

I found Rabbit sympathetic. He’s so stupid that it’s funny. Sometimes he made really stupid comments, but he also gives Sam good advice about his relationship with Alicia.

“David Beckham and Posh Spice have sex in Brooklyn. And nine months later they have a baby. What’s the word? Brooklyn was something in Brooklyn’ ‘Conceived.’ ‘Exactly. I was wondering whether yours was conceived on the roof.”

‘What the fuck are you doing, Rabbit?’

‘What am I doing?’ he said. ‘Me? What about you?’

‘I was skating, Rabbit. In the Bowl. That’s what it’s for. Who goes to sleep in the middle of a concrete bowl? Where people skate?’

Rabbit laughed.

‘It’s not funny. I might have broken my wrist.’

‘No. yeah. Sorry. I was laughing because you thought I was asleep.’

‘What were you doing then?’

‘I was just dozing’.

‘what’s the bloody difference?’

‘I hadn’t actually gone to bed there. That would be weird.’

I also found Annie Jones sympathetic. She’s a good mother, she wants the best thing for Sam, because she wants him to be happy. I found it sad for her that she has a bad relationship with her ex-husband.

‘No,’ I said. ‘Sorry.’ There was no point in explaining it all. She wasn’t going to think I was being heroic. ‘Do you want to live at Alicia’s house?’

‘It’s gone past what I want, hasn’t t?’

‘No,’ she said. ‘You mustn’t think that. You’re a kid. You’ve got your whole life in front of you.’

(…)

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. My mum! Telling me I should run!

(…)

‘I’m saying, you know, go there every day. Look after your kid. Be a father to him. Just… don’t live in Alicia’s bedroom.’

Which character did you dislike?

I found Andrea Burn unsympathetic. She thinks that she is better than other peoples, because she is rich. She thinks that Alicia doesn’t deserve Sam, she also acted so mean to his family. She is so arrogant. When Sam and Alicia told her parents that she’s pregnant, her mother wants to go to Sam’s mother and tell her the news. She doesn’t give Sam the chance to tell it his mother by himself.

‘Alicia? Are you up there?’

‘She came in with someone about half an hour ago,’ her dad shouted. He’d been in all the time, having a batch or reading in his bedroom or something.

she walked out of her room and I followed her.

‘we’re here,’ she said.

‘Who’s we?’ said her mum all cheerful. And then, not so cheerful, as she saw us coming down the stairs, ‘Oh. Sam. Hello.’

I found Sam Jones also unsympathetic, well I mean, some stupid actions of him. You can see he’s a child, because he acted so childish. In the beginning it looks like that he doesn’t take the pregnancy serious, he brought himself in a mess. He should take responsibility but instead of that he is walking away. First he thought that Alicia could take care for everything, but eventually he changed his mind. After that I started to like him more, because he is smarter then before.

“Just before Mum got home from work, I realized that i could have done anything apart from lean on one side of the lamp-post. I could have knocked on Alicia’s door, and asked whether she was pregnant, and how she was, and how her parents were. And then I could have got on with the next part of my life. But I didn’t want to dot that yet. I had seen what the next part of my life looked like, when I was whizzed into the future, and I didn’t like the look of it one bit. If I sat at home and watched TV, then the next part of my life would never come.”

“Did I have to go and watch the baby being born, because I was the dad? I didn’t want to. I’d seen a baby being born on TV and it was terrible. Would Alicia make those noises? Could I ask her not to?”

What did you feel when you read the story?

The book made me laugh but it also surprised me and I learnt a lot of it.

It made me laugh because they are really soft about this issue. Nick Hornby wrote it in a funny way and I like that. He exaggerated some things and he made the character Sam as a very strange but also funny character.

“A couple of other things, before we go on. First of all, my mum was thirty-two years old at the time I’m talking about. She’s three years older than David Beckham, a year older than Robbie Williams, four years younger than Jennifer Aniston. She knows all the dates. If you wants she can supply a much longer list. The list hasn’t got any really young people on it, though. She never says, ‘I’m fourteen years older than Joss Stone,’ or anything like that. She only knows about people round about her age who look good.”

The story made me feel surprised because I didn’t really expect a lot from this book. A teenage boy becomes a father and that’s a reason why I’ve learnt from this book. You have to be careful. But Sam also talks to a poster of Tony Hawk and then he gets whizzed into the future. There were more surprising things that I didn’t expect.

“When I got into skating, my mum bought me a Tony Hawk poster off the Internet. It’s the coolest present I’ve ever had, and it wasn’t even the most expensive. And it went straight up on to my bedroom wall, and I just got into the habit of telling it things. At first, I only told Tony about skating – I’d talk about the problems I was having, of the tricks I’d pull of. I pretty much ran to my room to tell him about the first rock ‘n’ roll I managed, because I knew it would mean much more to a picture of Tony Hawk than it would to a real-life mum.”

(…)

“After a while, I started talking to Tony Hawk about other things – about school, mum, Alicia, whatever, and I found that he had something to say about those things too.”

What is your favourite part?

“Phase Two of my mission was over, and I couldn’t see how there could be a Phase Tree, so I walked back to the bus stop. I spent the rest of the day watching ‘Judge Judy’ and Deal or No Deal’, and eating rubbish food which I paid for out of the money that was supposed to support me in my new life in Hastings. That was just one of the great things about coming home. I could spend the rest of my forty pounds in one day on crisps if I wanted to.

Just before Mum got home from work, I realized that I could have done anything apart from lean on I one side of the lamp-post. I could have knocked on Alicia’s door, and asked whether she was pregnant, and how she was, and how her parents were. And then I could have got on with the next part of my life. But I didn’t want to dot that yet. I had seen what the next part of my life looked like, when I was whizzed into the future, and I didn’t like the look of it one bit. If I sat at home and watched TV, then the next part of my life would never come.

And for maybe two days, it worked, and I felt powerful. I could stop time! At first, I was careful: I didn’t go out, didn’t answer the phone, not that it ever rang much anyway. I told mum I had picked up a bug from the crappy hotel and coughed a lot and she let me stay off school. I ate toast and messed around on YouTube and designed a new T-shirt for Tony Hawk.“

Sam is back from Hastings and is afraid of the future. He just really wants to stop the time. In his ‘new future’ he spends the rest of the day watching TV and eating rubbish food.

This part is before all the drama, that’s why I like it and why I chose for this part . It’s before that Alicia told Sam that she is pregnant and that they told their parents about the pregnancy.

What do you think about the theme?

Teenage pregnancy is a very actual theme. Also on TV they give a lot of attention to it, there are different programs about it. In America they have ‘Sixteen and pregnant’, ‘Teen mom’. But in the Netherlands they have ‘Tienermoeders’, ‘Babyboom’, and also a lot of movies. Despite that they give so much information about it, still there are a lot of teen moms.

I find it very good that he wrote a book about this theme. He doesn’t show only the good side, but also the bad side. As you can get financial difficulties and your youth is really fucked up, it changes your life.

Questions to the writer.

Why did you chose for the theme teen pregnancy?

What would you do, when you where in this situation?

Do you like skating?

I like to ask these questions because in the book you read a lot about this. Maybe it has a connection to the writer. Maybe he knows somebody who’s also a teen parent. In this situation you can do a lot of things. But would the writer do the same thing as Sam? Or would he do some really different? Sam is a boy who really likes skating, it could be that the writer also likes skating.

C: The summary

Chapter 1.

Sam introduces himself. He tells that he likes to skate and that his idol is Tony Hawk. Also he tells that his life is finally coming together because his mother broke up with her boyfriend and that it’s going all right in school.

Chapter 2.

Sam explains the situation with his mother. That she got Sam when she was sixteen years old, and that his friends Rabbit and Rubbish like her. He also talks about the day that he met Alicia, and how they flirted with each other. They should go to the bios, but they are going to Alicia’s home and have sex there.

Chapter 3.

Sam tells about the time that everything is fine between Alicia and him, and that they were in love.

Chapter 4.

But then comes the time that the relation between him and Alicia isn’t going so good. He doesn’t like the parents of Alicia and his mother got a new boyfriend, Mark.

Chapter 5.

The relation between him and Alicia is definitely over. He met Nikki and they got a date, but equally he didn’t liked her. On his birthday he got a text from Alicia that she needs to talk to him. He doesn’t want to talk to her, but she said that it is very important so he comes to her. She told him that she was late with her period and that he needs to buy a pregnancy test.

Chapter 6.

Sam wakes up in the future. He lives with Alicia and they have a son, named Roof. He also finds out that his mother is pregnant. Sam doesn’t know why he’s here, probably Tony Hawk did this.

Chapter 7.

Sam runs away to Hastings. He got a job, so he helps Mr Brady and he sleeps in a hotel. He wants to get away from reality.

Chapter 8.

Sam decides to go back home. When he got home, there is a police car, because his mother was very worried about him. He lies and says that he got scared about school, and that’s the reason why he was gone to Hastings. She also talks to Alicia, but she didn’t tell that she’s pregnant. He wants to know how it’s going with Alicia, but he’s scared to ask it.

Chapter 9.

Sam doesn’t go to school for a couple of days. Alicia goes to Sam’s house, and tells him that she is pregnant en she’s going to keep it. They tell their parents that Alicia is pregnant, and they get really mad.

Chapter 10.

Sam and Alicia get back together but Sam is not really glad about it. They also had a sonogram and they go to parenthood classes. Sam’s mothers tells him that Mark is going to move in with them.

Chapter 11.

Sam and Alicia talks about living with each other. Sam is going to skate with Rubbish and after that he is going to talk with Tony Hawk. His mother finds out their future plans, and she tells him not to life together with Alicia.

Chapter 12.

Sam wakes up in the future again. He and Alicia doesn’t life together anymore. Sam is now eighteen years old, and he has a son (Rufus) who is almost two years. He also has a sister (Emily).

Chapter 13.

Sam slams with skating, and needs to go to the hospital. His mother thinks that he need to stop with skating, because it’s better for his future with Alicia. He also finds out that his mother is pregnant! (but now in the present time).

Chapter 14.

Sam is skating and then his mother runs to him to tell that Alicia has contractions. She will give birth. On 12 September Rufus is born. After childbirth the two grandmothers have a discussion about the family name.

Chapter 15.

Rufus is at home and Sam goes to Alicia. He lives now with her. But his mother isn’t entirely happy

with it.

Chapter 16.

‘It’s the night of the future’, but a little bit different. It’s midnight and Rufus wakes up. It’s Sam’s turn to change him. Rufus is now 3 weeks old. Sam goes to school and get a fight with the ex of Alicia. When he is back home, he talks with Alicia and after that he’s going to skate.

Chapter 17.

A year after the birth of Rufus, Sam’s father get back in touch. They meet and have got a good conversation. That night Sam is back home because he has a cold. He has doubts about his future with Alicia.

Chapter 18.

Sam looks at the internet and finds a lot of information about teen pregnancy and that the fathers will lose their child. He doesn’t want that and goes to Alicia to tell her that.

Chapter 19.

In this chapter Sam answers some questions, that you get when you read the story. Questions like; ‘What about your mum’s baby? How did all that turn out?’

‘Do you still talk to Tony Hawk? And does he still talk back?’

‘And what about you and Alicia?‘.

Chapter 20.

Sam wakes up in the future again. He and his girlfriend (Alex) are going to Alicia and his boyfriend (Carl). Sam is still going to college but he finished the skating. Eventually is everything going to be ok!

Expectations:

Write down which expectations you had for the course of the story while you were reading the book. Did the book end the way you had expected it to? Would you have liked it to end in a different way? How?

When it was clear that Alicia was pregnant, I didn’t expect that Sam would ran away from it. I thought that they might consider for an abortion. But only Alicia did so, but she wanted to keep the baby. I wish the ending of the book was a little bit different, I would like it when they get back to each other and that they could be a happy family. Unfortunately Alicia and Sam didn’t get back together. But for the story it’s perfect, because that’s what you expected and then it will be boring.

Overall opinion:

Did you like the book? Why / why not?

I really liked the book, the subject also really sparked my interest. There is also a television program about, ’16 and pregnant’, it isn’t the same but it looks like it. I found is easy to read because the writer keeps the story simple and there were not many details in the book. I also liked it because the persons in the book were about my age so I do understand them.


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