Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Great Fire (Last post for LDG)

The Great Fire
By: Jim Murphy

(Used for our Literature Discussion Group)

Murphy, J. (1995). The great fire. New York: Scholastic Inc.
Chapters 6-7

Well it's over and it is hard to believe what all took place in such a short time period. I was relieved that Claire found her family. Her story helps the reader to grasp how terrible the fire truly was. The whole day that she was supposidly standing infront of her house waiting on her family, she was really at the wrong house. The fire had destroyed so much that she could not even recognize where her own home used to be.

I was also appalled at the gossip, blaming, pointing the finger at others in blame, and demoralizing others that took place after the fire. I thought Murphy did a wonderful job at not only drawing the reader into the book and capturing you to not want to put the book down; as well as providing the reader with the truth about the fire. He let you see the destruction through photos and illustrations as well as through maps. Murphy also pointed out that the fire destroyed a city as well as peoples perspectives of others. He did a wonderful job at letting the reader be aware of all the spiculations of how the fire got started and showed you how it seperated the different social classes which is still evident today in Chicago.
The LDG has helped me to see how I read text and to see others perspective on how they read text. I found at first that I had lots of aesthetic responses. I tended to focus mainly on the connections and how the book made me feel, which I think we were all doing. As time went on I started having more efferent responses as I started picking out how Murphy was writing, quotes, the map, and the facts of what was actually taking place.
It seemed to me through the LDG we all started doing this within our blogs. However, we all brought seperate feelings, responses, and connections to the table which helped me to read the next chapters a little diffrently and get more out of my reading. Overall, I enjoyed the book and sharing it with others. I will definitely never look at Chicago the same way I did before reading this book.


Tassie Rosamond said...

I was sad that this book was over! Initially, I wasn't looking forward to reading this book, but once I got into it, I was glad that I got this book! My emotions ran high in this chapter. First and foremost, I was so happy that Claire was reunited with her family. I can't even begin to imagine what she or her parents were feeling during that scary time. I was moved when Murphy wrote about Claire's travels through the city on her way back home. I can't imagine passing "burnt lumps" and not having it effect me in a profound way. I know that what Claire and the others felt stayed with them for the rest of their lives.
A personal connection I made to these chapters were the actions of those in Chicago after the fire and what I've witnessed in the aftermath of a hurricane. My experiences didn't even begin to touch the same level of severity of destruction in this book, but human behaviors are the same. People that would harm others for a bag of ice (after the hurricane) or bucket of water (after the fire), looting (such as was seen after Hurricane Katrina)....these things are horrific. Murphy did an excellent job of describing how bleak things were after the fire. In chapter 7, I felt empathy for the O'Learys and the firefighters that shouldered so much blame for the fire. When reading this, I was amazed at how idle gossip was allowed in the newspapers!
In this LDG, I looked forward to reading the responses of my group members. This venue allows us to share our thoughts in a way that broadens our own sense of what we read to include the perspectives of others. After reading that Angela was so connected with Claire, I thought of both Angela and Claire as I read the book. LDG allow us to connect with our classmates on a personal level by sharing our thoughts in a safe environment.The advantages of using nonfiction books in an LDG is that we can learn new information and share ideas and resources that may relate to the book.

brooke dycus said...

First, I am so glad that Claire found her family. I was very worried about her. I wonder if a lot of the families that were seperated ever reunited? We have such a vast amount of technology that it would not be near as difficult if it happened today. These people did not have any telephones or any other way to get ahold of each other. Their only option was to place a small add in the paper and hoped their lost loved ones saw it. This is an absolutely terrifying thing to think about!
At first the citizens seem to come together to support each other, but the further I read the bigger the divide got between the rich and poor.
It is very sad that the city of Chicago further divided the two groups by not helping those that could not afford to rebuild.
I really enjoyed the last chapter that helped seperate fact from fiction and to know what really happened and how it differed from the stories told by some of the people in the story. I think Jim Murphy did a wonderful job with this book. He was able to wrap up what happened, what might have happened, and people's stories all into one very informative book.