A Northern Light Book Report Essay
A Northern Light book report Honors Literature Main Character Mattie Gokey | The main character in A Northern Light is Mattie Gokey - A Northern Light Book Report Essay introduction || The main character in A Northern Light is Mattie Gokey. She has thin brown hair and lots of freckles scattered along her pale face. Her hair is a simple plain brown, the same color of her eyes. Her hands are rough and unshapely from days of long, hard work on her father’s farm. She is small, but strong. She is 16 years old, and loves writing. Mattie likes to “collect words. ” Every day she gets out the dictionary, and picks a word for the day. She is set on receiving her diploma and going to Barnard College in New York City.
Her family lives on Uncas Road in the North Woods in Eagle Bay with her 3 sisters and her father, whom she calls “Pa”. Her mother has passed away from cancer, which leaves her as the woman of the house and primary caretaker of her sisters Lou, Beth, and Abby. Her older brother is also gone, but he has just run away from home. Her father does much of the work on the farm, and his daughters frequently have to help him. | Minor Characters Weaver Smith | One important minor character in A Northern Light is Walker Smith. He is the only African-American boy in Eagle Bay.
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His eyes are brown, and his skin is “dark as tobacco” as Mattie puts it (pg. 31). He shares the same passion for words as Mattie does, and also wants to get his diploma and go to college. Although he excels in writing, he is better at Algebra than Mattie, and often has to help her. When he lived in Mississippi, Weaver’s father was killed by three white men for not moving off the sidewalk when they passed, and the men shot him. Walker’s father was shot right in front of him and his mother, Aleeta. It was then that they moved north to Eagle Bay. He also works with Mattie at The Glenmore Hotel for extra money to use for college. Setting | A Northern Light is based in spring and summer of the year 1906. Mattie, the main character, lives in the Great North Woods of Eagle Bay. She and Weaver works at Glenmore Hotel, one of the finest in the town. It has four stories, plus an attic. There are forty rooms for guests to stay in, and almost over 100 people can fill the hotel when it is fully booked. It has a parlor, a grand main staircase (for guest use only, no employees allowed! ), and a full service restaurant. In the foyer, there is a gorgeous antler chandelier and a coat tree with branches and deer hooves adorning it. 20 Series of Events | Grace Brown’s body is found in the lake. Her companion, Carl Grahm, is no where to be found. Mattie picks fiddle berries for extra money. Mattie gets accepted to Barnard College. Pa’s brother, Uncle Fifty comes to visit the family. Uncle Fifty leaves without saying goodbye to the family. He breaks his promise to Mattie to pay for her train ticket to New York. Mattie find out that one of their neighbors and close friends, the Hubbards, are behind on their taxes and their farm is going up for auction. Mattie’s teacher, Miss Wilcox, reveals her true identity.
She is Emily Baxter, a poet. Royal Loomis asks Mattie to marry him. He doesn’t have a ring, but he say’s he’ll buy one. Mattie gets a job at Glenmore Hotel. She makes four dollars a day, and gives some of it to her dad to buy a new mule. Tommy Hubbard runs all the way to Glenmore to see Mattie. He says that her sisters and father have grippe, and she has to come home immediately. Mattie quickly comes home to find her family nearly dead and all of the animals unfed and sick. Royal gives Mattie a wedding ring, and properly asks her to marry him.
Mattie receives a letter from Miss Wilcox. It says that Miss Wilcox has decided to leave Eagle Bay. Mattie goes to visit Miss Wilcox, and asks why she is leaving. Mattie tells Weaver that she and Royal are engaged. Weaver is disapproving, and says she could do better. Martha Miller tells Mattie that Royal plans to buy the Hubbard’s farm. After her birthday party, Royal arrives at Glenmore with a birthday present for her. She is disappointed when she finds out it is nothing but a worn cookbook he bought at the secondhand store.
Weaver presses charges on three men who attack him, and they come to his home. They burn it down, but not before taking all of his money for college and breaking his mother’s arm. Mattie decides not to burn a stack of letters that Grace gave her and asked her to before she died. Mattie decided not to marry, and to leave Eagle Bay to go to Barnard. | Conflict | Mattie wants to go to school, but her family, the farm, her fiance, and a recent death in town are just a few of the obstacles that keep her from deciding whether or not to go. Climax | The climax is when Mattie siblings and father become terribly ill, and she finds them almost dead in the house. | Resolution | The resolution is when Mattie says goodbye to Eagle Bay and heads off to New York for school. | 8 Sensory Images | “Belinda is pretty name. It feels like meringue on your tongue or a curl of sugar on snow. ” pg. 51 “Sometimes, they leave other sorts of things. A sigh trapped in the corner. Memories tangled in the curtains. A sob fluttering against the windowpane like a bird that flew in and can’t get out.
I can feel these things. They dart and crouch and whisper. ” pg. 135 “There was a man, a very dirty man with long, wild black hair, lying face down in our manure pile. He was wearing dungarees, suspenders, and a plaid wool shirt. There was a large sack near him and a pair of Croghan boots with their laces knotted together. ” pg. 142 “What I saw next stopped me in my tracks. Books. Not one or two dozen, but hundreds of them. In crates. In piles on the floor. In bookcases that stretched from floor to ceiling and lined the entire room.
I turned around and around in a slow circle, feeling as if I’d just stumbled into Ali Baba’s cave. I was breathless, close to tears, and positively dizzy with greed. ” pg. 199 “I realized I was being rude, so I made myself stop staring at the books and looked at the rest of the room. There was a fireplace with two settees in front of it, facing each other across a low table. ” pg 200 “There was a writing table under a window, with pens and pencils and a stack of good paper. I touched the top sheet. It felt like satin. ” pg. 00 “I burst through the kitchen door, and right into the thick, low stench of sickness. Barney lifted his head when he heard me and thumped his tail weakly. There were dirty pots in the sink, and plates of half eaten food on the table. Flies crawled over them, feasting on the crusted remains. ” pg. 284 “She raised her head. Her eyes were dark hollows. Her cheekbones were sharp beneath her skin. ” pg. 286 | Five exaggerations | “Pa says his bones would ache too, if they had as much lard hanging off of them as hers do. ” pg. 105 “She is as thin as a pike pole. ” pg. 08 “He’d been on a jam when it suddenly gave way and then had to ride a log halfway to Saint Lawrence before he could leap to safety. ” pg. 148 “He said he once saw him dance a hornpipe on a log once, and do a cartwheel and a handspring, too. ” pg. 149 “Reading [one of her poems] was like pulling a stump. ” pg. 208 | Evaluation | I would recommend A Northern Light to one of my friends. I like how you get a taste of what life was like in the early 1900’s. Not to mention it has a great murder mystery to it, and a hint of romance. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book like this before, but I’m glad I did. |