The Glory Field

March 31, 2009
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In The Glory Field, Walter Dean Myers tells a thought-provoking story of an African American family, the Lewises. The unique plot of the novel, including frequent point of view shifts, may aggravate the reader at first, but will gradually become a key point of interest. The author spins a tale which spans over two hundred years, the purpose of which is to, through detailed introspective stories of the individual characters' lives, show readers about the cultural heritage of African Americans and the struggles which they endured for centuries, until their eventual acceptance as citizens who deserved equal rights. My evaluation of this remarkable piece of historical fiction is the purpose of this review.


The novel begins with a brief story of Muhammad, the family's earliest documented ancestor, who endures a tortuous trip from Sierra Leone to America aboard a cramped slave ship. It then switches to a time a few generations later, taking the point of view of a descendant of Muhammad living in the time of slavery. Myers then proceeds to describe in vivid detail the struggles of later descendants as they cope with racial discrimination, segregation, and other struggles faced by African Americans in the late 1800s through the 1900s. Myers culminates with the story of a descendant in which he provides precise insight into the lives of African Americans in modern times. I believe that the criteria by which this particular book could be judged are accuracy, attention to detail, and interestingness. In my opinion, all of these are wholly fulfilled in The Glory Field.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this book is the somewhat unusual plot. This is not a story of only one African American individual with only one rising action, one climax, and one conclusion, but rather several interconnected yet dependent stories about several different main characters, starting from the earliest ancestor of the Lewis family to the most recent descendents. A family tree is conveniently provided at regular intervals to clarify this. This critical element of a unique plot is, I think, what makes the novel immensely interesting. The frequent switching of main characters may at first be disliked by some readers who prefer a more traditional plot; however, after hundred pages or so, one realizes that the degree to which this novel achieves its purpose is greatly enhanced by its unique plot. I recall reading in a literature textbook a short story by Walter Dean Myers called The Treasure of Lemon Brown, in which, like The Glory Field, the theme of heritage plays a key role. Myers, therefore, seems to be an author who enjoys writing with the theme of heritage; thus, The Glory Field communicates a sense of the importance of heritage to African Americans.

In conclusion, The Glory Field is a terrific and unique work of historical fiction that will take readers on a journey through the ages leading up to African American integration into American society. The unique plot is a key element in this story of a family with a strong sense of heritage and culture, which are the essential values communicated in this novel. Walter Dean Myers' skillfully keeps his readers turning the pages with his remarkable ability to grab and withhold a reader's attention. I was completely satisfied with this book, and I recommend it as a must-read for all readers who enjoy a unique and interesting historical fiction novel.





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biffn said...
May 4 at 1:34 pm
hey biff is your c7 okay??!!
 
fuck your shit said...
Apr. 1, 2015 at 7:40 pm
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