Reviewing The Autobiography Be My Guest English Literature Essay


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The autobiography Be My Guest, brings forth a story of a visionary man named Conrad Hilton who dreamed about building grand hotels in the United States of America. This is the biography that I am examining for my journal. In this first journal, I will examine the first two chapters under the categories of setting, characters, conflicts, theme and point of view. Additionally, it will include my personal opinions on the autobiography and experiences I possess to relate to it. This is my first journal on the novel and I have read the first to chapters so far. The life that Conrad could remember took place from around 1902 to 1979, beginning when he was around fifteen years old. It was also at fifteen when he started his life outside his original home in the American south. His home was located in San Antonio, New Mexico alongside many Mexican families. Conrad's father describes the town by proudly by saying, "San Antonio, Socorro County, Territory of New Mexico," (Hilton 9). The Hilton family owned and operated a town mercantile which was the centre of attention in the growing town. At this point in the novel, I can tell that Conrad is very comfortable in his hometown because he feels free to do whatever he pleases. After travelling to a neighbouring town and back he says, "I would drive my wagon and its heavy load out onto the open spaces and spend the night under the stars," (Hilton 58). This is significantly shown, because I believe later in the story he will be forced to move out of his comfort zone. The autobiography point of view is the first person participant. Conrad, the author and narrator, speaks with personal pronouns and can only access his own thoughts and reactions. He demonstrates this through stating, "It would not be fair to leave an impression that I gained nothing from those several years," (Hilton 52). Conrad is narrating in first person which helps the reader connect with him because of the use of personal pronouns. Conrad's opinions on others such as his father are addressed frequently throughout the book. The narrator states, "Father was exhausting, gay, stimulating, and I could see why mother loved him" (Hilton 40). Conrad has a specific view of his father which I believe will help build Conrad's to work ethic. Be My Guest brings out three main characters in the beginning. They are Gus Hilton, Mary Hilton, and Conrad Hilton. Gus and Mary are Conrad's parents and they are very close to Conrad. Firstly, Gus believes the most successful are the ones who work their hardest. Gus states, "Give em' something to do," (Hilton 19). Gus liked to see his children work because it made him feel a sense of pride. If this hadn't occurred in Conrad's life, he may not have been nearly as hard working as he was. On the other side, Conrad's mother, she believed in prayer before work and would say, "Teach them to pray," (Hilton 19). So together, they depended on work and prayer. Conrad accepts what his parents have to say but feels inside that he is a dreamer. He states, "It always started with a dream," (Hilton 24). This occurs in his early years and could explain why this characteristic of dreaming, may have been the reason he was so successful at accomplishing bigger than life ideas, such as the hotel business. The incident that had caused Conrad's life to progress was because of Helen Keller. He says, "I wanted to see Helen with compelling eagerness," (Hilton 55). Conrad had been inspired by her so much that he started to think about working for the future and aspiring to be something great even though he didn't have much. At this point in Mr. Hilton's life he has run into very few conflicts beside two small person versus person conflicts. The first incident occurred when he was around fourteen at his home. He had received a letter from a girl he met at school and his mother read it out loud to him. Conrad retorted, "You've been reading my mail!"(Hilton 48). Because of this occasion I predict that later on in the autobiography Conrad will hide his mail from his mother since this greatly affected him. Secondly, Gus had Conrad handle a barter once with an old woman at the mercantile. Gus knew she was a tough barterer and did this as a test for Conrad. Conrad handled the barter very carefully by holding to the retail value of the product safely even though the lady was screaming at him and swearing. Once she left with her shoes, Gus said proudly to Conrad, "Done like a gentleman and a businessman," (Hilton 52). Conrad had passed the test and from then on was allowed to have products ordered for him. From this I can predict that Gus will have a few more tests for Conrad so he can learn and grow. During the first two chapters, I stumbled upon a situation in Conrad's life that reminded me of something that happened in my life. It was two years ago at a garage sale that reminded me of Conrad bartering with the old lady. A man had come to look at our garage sale and found something that he liked. He asked me the price and I told him, but he wouldn't buy it until I sold it to him for one dollar. The product, a lamp was originally listed at eight dollars. I made little money at this sale as contrasted to Conrad, who made a good sale even when challenged on price. Be My Guest is a remarkable novel and reveals an inspiring plot to become something great. During the course of completing this book, I predict that new conflicts will arise regarding Conrad getting married because it has been hinted at by Conrad. In my next journal I will be studying the categories of foreshadowing, flashbacks, morals, themes, new conflicts, specific characters, and poetic devices included in the novel. I have only covered the first two chapters and I will study the rest in my second journal.

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