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The Ravenmaster's Secret - Book Report/Review Example

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Forrest Harpers life is unlike of any eleven year old. He is lonely most of the times and his only friends are his pet raven, Ned (a rat catcher) and his…
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The Ravenmasters Secret
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20th October The Ravenmaster’s Secret: Review Forrest at the beginning of the book At the beginning of the book, we see Forrest, an eleven year old boy who lives with his father at the Tower of London prison. Forrest Harpers life is unlike of any eleven year old. He is lonely most of the times and his only friends are his pet raven, Ned (a rat catcher) and his fathers prisoners (Woodruff 2003:12). Forrest feels confined and sheltered form the outside world. His life is tiring and his social life is far from admirable. He hates watching the executions at Tower Green (Woodruff 2003:20).Through the lies fed to him day by day about the Scots, Forrest is exited when he learns new Scottish rebels will be brought as prisoners in the tower. He feels its time for him to prove his courage to bullies who constantly torment and make fun of him due to his small size. The boys (bullies) also tease when he vomits during the hanging of the highwayman as "hare heart". Forrest feels resentment from these bullies. The constant lies fed to him greatly influence his thoughts. He believes them and has a dislike for Scots (Woodruff2003:18).
Historical elements – people and places
The Ravenmasters secret is rich in historical elements. One of the historical persons is a rat catcher, named Ned White, who is an orphan and a friend of Forrester. Ned is nicknamed Rat. Another historical character is a chimney sweep, Simon Frick, who overworks children until they die. There are also many historical places in the book. The Tower of London, in which the story is set, is a historical castle in London (Woodruff 2003:14). It is where the royal prisoners are confined. The Bloody Tower is also found in the book, also a place for imprisonment. Maddy, a young Scot is imprisoned here (Woodruff 2003: 16). Another historical place is Tower Green, where executions are carried out. There is also a drawbridge and a moat in the story.
The hanging and the highwayman
Elvira Woodruff brings to the readers attention the cynicism in London through the hanging. Throngs of people leave their homes to watch the hanging (Woodruff2003: 24). Though Forrest hates the view of it, kids bully him and make him watch. The hanging prepares the reader to the struggles which Forrest will experience later in life. The highwayman is a criminal who robs people on the road.
Forrest’s struggles regarding the new prisoner
Being constantly bullied by the other boys, Forrest feels he has a chance when a new prisoner is brought. He thinks it is time he proves himself to those boys. What baffles him is that the prisoner is a young girl - daughter of a Jacobite. Forrest is humiliated by this. He and his pet, Tuck, take food to the girl, Maddy, every day. Continually he has to live with this new job - feeding a girl (Woodruff 2003:89). The boys will even bully him more for this! But as he interacts with her, Forrest realizes she is like nothing he heard about the Scottish. He has to face internal struggles of his own. To befriend this traitor and betray family and country, or continue believing what he is now convinced to be untruths about the Scottish (Woodruff 2003:100). When he hears about her scheduled execution, for her trial fails, Forrest must make the ultimate decision.
Tuck’s importance to Forest
Tuck is Forrest Harpers pet raven. Confined in the towers walls, Forrest has few friends. Tuck is one of these few friends. Forrest spends most of his time with Tuck, teaching him new tricks.
Next happenings
The story progresses with an unlikely friendship being forged. Forrest and Maddy develop a friendship and they also plan to escape the tower.
Changes of Forrest
Forrest is undergoing an internal struggle. When he meets Maddy, he learns that she is just like him. He befriends her against the odds. Forrest learns of Maddys planned execution and devises a plan to smuggle her out of the tower.
Predictions
I predicted that Forrest would. Maddy out of the prison. Indeed this happens and Maddy returns to Scotland (Woodruff 2003:167). However, my prediction that Forrest would accept the invitation to Scotland never came true as Forrest feels his place is in the tower.
Forrest’s changes by the end of the story
From the beginning to the end we see the perpetual change which Forrest undergoes. We see a small eleven year old boy who feels detached from his world; and feels he has no role to play in the environment he lives in. At the end, however, Forrest is a grown man who has played a major role in the lives of his friends. He has learnt of true contentment and happiness.
Conclusion and Generalization
Overall, the story has much to do with friendship, judgement and stereotypes. Forest risks family loyalty and even commits treason to save his friends. Forrest also dissociates himself from the prejudices he has been taught about the Scots as he interacts with Maddy. In general, the story has much to do with day to day activities even in modern times. Friendship needs sacrifices and often we have to make important decisions to preserve it.
Meaning of words
Forbid – is to prohibit. In the story, we see a friendship between Scots and Englishmen is forbidden.
Noose – is a loop with a running knot used for hanging criminals. It is used to hang the highwayman.
Yeoman – is a guardian of the Tower of London. In the beginning of the story, we are told that Forrest Harper is the son of a Yeoman Warder.
Urchin – is mischievous young boy like eleven year old Forrest. In one scene, Forrest and his two sisters Mary and Bae are at home. Forrest uses charcoal to draw a beard on Baes face.
Kindling – dry twigs which are easily ignited and used to light a fire.
Chortle – is a joyful laugh. In the same scene of Forrest with his sisters, Forrest and Mary chortle when their mother does not realize they are tricking him.
Indignant – showing anger. This can be seen when a new Prisoner is brought and turn out to be a small Scottish girl. Forrest is indignant and feels humiliated.
Treason – is simply betraying ones country. Forrest, by aiding Maddy, commits treason.
Malicious – showing ill will. Simon Frick hopes to make Ned fall and die while climbing the walls.
Obliged – to be grateful and indebted. Maddy is indebted to Forrest for helping her escape the tower and hence save her life.
Jovial – filled with joy. Forrest is in jovial mood when he helps Maddy escape.
Cunning – achieving a goal through deceit
Taunt – is a remark made to anger someone. Forrest has to face taunts everyday from other children.
Scurry – fast movements like Forrest smuggling Maddy on the towers dungeons to avoid being caught.
Works Cited:
Woodruff, Elvira. The Ravenmasters secret: escape from the Tower of London. New York: Scholastic Press, 2003. Print. Read More
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