Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Laugh Til You Cry

Excellent Literature Circle post (thanks, Nikki Hunt):
Nixon, J.L. (2004). Laugh till you cry. New York: Delacorte Press.
I absolutely loved reading this realistic fiction novel by Joan Lowery Nixon! As I mentioned in last week's literature circle post, I anxiously awaited the character developments Nixon had in store during the second half of the book. As I read, I couldn't help but notice the maturity Cody continued to reveal through events in the story, as well as the transformation Hayden went through at
the very end of the book. I always knew Hayden, the antagonist, was jealous of Cody. It was because of this jealousy that Hayden treated Cody the way he did. I also imagine Hayden as a follower, trying to determine his own identity. This explains why he allowed Brad and Eddie to convince him to do things, even if he thought they were wrong. So, why didn't Hayden just befriend Cody? Was it because he felt intimidated by his maturity and eagerness to do the right thing? I'm glad Cody and Hayden chose to become friends at the end of the novel, for their grandmother's sake (as well as for Cody's). Who can resist smiling after reading this quote, "Cody dropped his arm from Hayden's shoulders and walked back to the kitchen, Hayden following.’I wouldn't mind if you came over to hang out,' Hayden said." (Nixon, 2004, p.98). I was hoping the story would end this way.

I thoroughly enjoyed the plot of this story. Each chapter was full of details used to describe person against person conflict between Cody and Hayden. What about the conflict between Cody and Coach Anderson? Doesn't it seem like she was always out to get Cody? I'm still trying to figure out why. Let's talk about the protagonist for a moment, Cody. I fell in love with him during the story. How many times did you want him to tell on Hayden, or feel sorry for him when he was set up once again for something he didn't do? Cody is a great example of a round character. He had positive character traits like maturity, honesty, and the willingness to let things roll of his back. But, he
also had jealousy issues with Hayden. He even admitted his jealousy on page ninety. As strong as Cody was throughout the entire book, I thought he would break down when he was caught trying to reenter the school building after following Bobby out of the basement. "Cody felt a tear slide down his cheek, and he rubbed at his face. The situation he was in looked hopeless, but he was too old to break down and cry." (Nixon, 2004, p.68) How sad! One of the many times I wanted to wrap my arms around that sweet boy!

I continued to use active reading symbols as I read the rest of Laugh Till You Cry. Check out some notes I made.
Active Reading Symbols
A I agree, p.90...Cody's jealous of Hayden, too
X I disagree or I need help, p.69...What's Coach Anderson's beef with Cody? I don't understand.
+ New information, p.71…Mrs. Carter's plans to move back to California when Aunt Tillie comes
? I need clarification or I wonder about, p.63…Use of foreshadowing...Something will happen with the report...Cody put it in his drawer for safekeeping
??? I don’t get it, Coach Anderson's relationship with Cody
!!! Wow!, end of story...Hayden and Cody are working on a positive relationship

Questions to consider:
l Have you ever felt jealous of someone? Why?
l How would you respond to being treated like Cody was by Hayden?
l How did you feel about Cody's oral report?

No comments: