סיכום על Summers Reading



סיכום באנגלית ספרותית (Module F ) על הסיפור "Summers Reading" מאת המחבר Bernard Malamud 
 

George was a twenty-year-old neighborhood boy who had quit school at sixteen on an impulse. He didn't like school because the teachers didn't respect him and because he could not cope with the material. It seems that George needed special treatment, but as he could not get it, he felt bored and left everything behind.

  He was ashamed of not having a formal education, but his character was not strong enough to handle a situation that involved sitting and studying with younger kids. He had a further difficulty: he could not get a job because he had not graduated from high school. So, he had no money to spend except for a few bucks that were given to him by his older sister, Sophie, every now and then.

George lived in a flat above a butcher. It was a neighborhood of ordinary people, some of whom were immigrants, coming from different countries. George used to hang around in the house, listen to the ball games on the radio and sometimes read magazines or newspapers that Sophie had brought home from the cafeteria. He would like to have a hobby or do something worthwhile, but he could never pull himself together to do anything.

George felt very depressed and miserable. He could not stand his miserable way of life. He was ashamed to walk in the street, and he did not talk to any of his acquaintances, so he stayed in his room during the day time. It seems that George had an inferiority complex.

When it got dark, he went out to a park that was isolated from the rest of the world by an iron railing. That park was his refuge. It was green and blooming in contrast to his neighborhood that was crowded, stony and gray. He felt elated there, as he used to meditate and dream about the life he would like to have. He imagined himself living in an exclusive neighborhood, with houses far from one another. He saw himself as a person with money, a job, a girl and, above all, respect. At midnight, he went back home, to his sad reality.

     Once, George met Mr. Cattanzara, who asked him what he was doing during the summer. George respected Mr. Cattanzara though he was nothing but a change maker. Nevertheless, he was different from the other people in the neighborhood. In George's eyes he was very educated and broad-minded although he had no formal education. He used to sit in the street and read the newspaper from the first page to the last, while his wife was watching him, looking out of the window. As Mr. Cattanzara asked George what he was doing, George was ashamed to admit that he wasn't doing anything, so he spontaneously answered that he was reading a lot to pick up his education. This lie was going to cause George a lot of trouble in the future.

Mr. Cattanzara spread the rumor that George was reading, and George felt approval(respect and recognition) wherever he went. People smiled at him and whispered that he was a good boy. His sister Sophie even gave him an allowance of a dollar a week. George felt elated(very pleased). He felt that people respected him. He stopped hiding in his room all day; instead he wandered in the streets. He even skipped the park, as he didn't need it any more. Everything changed. The people didn't seem as awful as they had been before, and even the neighborhood seemed nicer. (It was a reflection of his inner feelings).

Nevertheless, this good time couldn't last for ever. George had to justify his reputation. He was afraid to encounter Mr. Cattanzara for he feared that the change maker might ask him questions about the books he was supposed to be reading. So, he began to avoid him. He began to feel obsessed and he was helpless as he didn't know how to solve the embarrassing problem.

 Once, George met Mr. Cattanzara while the latter was drunk. Not being sober, Mr. Cattanzara didn't control himself and said whatever he felt like, namely the truth. He implied that he knew that George wasn't reading at all, which was very bad. He challenged him, treating him like a small child (he wanted to give him a nickel to buy a lemon-ice with), and he warned George not to make the same mistake he himself had made. It seems that Mr. Cattanzara referred to his not having completed his formal education.

George felt down again. The neighborhood didn't seem as good as it had seemed before. He was afraid of the reaction of the public when they found out that he was not reading at all, so he locked himself in his room again. Now George felt trapped. He was embarrassed confused and frustrated. What could he do? He knew he would not be able to stand the mockery of the neighbors when they met him.

The summer was hot and his room was stifling(hot, suffocating,unbearable). This atmosphere was again a reflection of his inner world. He felt hot, helpless and miserable as if confined in a prison from which he could not escape.

One day, not being able to stand the heat, he left his room and went into the street. Surprisingly, a strange thing happened. The reaction of the public was astonishing. Instead of mocking him, they whispered that he had already finished reading the one hundred books. He immediately recovered from his depression, realizing that Mr. Cattanzara had spread that second rumour. Now George realized how much he needed respect, and he knew that he had to justify his reputation, otherwise he would not be able to enjoy life. So he pulled himself together and went to the library to read.


 

Why is the story called "A Summer's Reading"?

 The story is called A Summer's Reading although George did not read in summer at all. Nevertheless, the process of the realization of who he was, what he was looking for and what he had to do in order to achieve his goal took place during the summer. It was an inner reading. The summer was very hot, stifling and sterile, which reflected George's state of mind. George pulled himself together and went to the library to read in the autumn, which is the season of the beginning of the school year.

The role of Mr. Cattanzara in the story

Mr. Cattanzara has a very important role in the story. He gives George the incentive to read. He is called the change maker because he makes the change in George. He starts the first rumour which enables George to feel what it is like to be respected. Having felt it, he knows what he may miss if he does not justify his reputation.

Mr. Cattanzara also starts the second rumour because he knows that George must be encouraged to read; otherwise, he may withdraw his attempt to get an education. Mr. Cattanzara knows that the only way to make George fulfill his ambition is to give him the feeling that he is respected. It is no use punishing him for having told lies. Mr. Cattanzara cares about George and he uses psychology to make george read.

The park was for George what beer was for Mr. cattanzara

The park was a refuge for George. George was dissatisfied with his life because his achievements did not meet his expectations. He did not graduate from high school as he was not competent enough and he had no support from his family. Consequently, he could not get a decent job and he had to compromise with simple jobs, such as being a delivery boy, a runner or an unskilled worker. He quit all those jobs because he was looking for respect. George felt ashamed and embarrassed because he was neither studying nor working, so he used to hide at home all day. At night he used to sneak to the park which served as his refuge from the grim reality and frustration.

The park was isolated from the outside world by an iron railing which lent it a feeling of privacy. Outside the park, everything was gray and stony, whereas inside it everything was green and blooming. George used to sit in the park and dream about a different reality in which he had money, lived in an expensive house and had a girlfriend. Sitting there, he forgot himself, and the daydreams he experienced relieved him temporarily.

Mr. Cattanzara was very frustrated, too. We learn it from the piece of advice he gave to George- not to do what he had done. In other words, he did not want George to make the mistake he had made, not completing his education. The fact that he considered not having graduated from school as a mistake, and the fact that he used to read so much in order to widen his horizons, show very clearly his attitude to education and knowledge. It seems that Mr. Cattanzara would have liked to have a job for which a good formal education was needed. Nevertheless, he had to resign himself to a very simple and non-prestigious job as a change maker in the subway. The contrast between his wide reading and the boring job he had, must have caused him a lot of frustration, which manifested itself in his drinking. The drinking was his refuge. Only while drunk, could he forget his gloomy reality and get relief for a short while.

 

 


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