Academic journal article New England Reading Association Journal

Witness

Academic journal article New England Reading Association Journal

Witness

Article excerpt

HESSE, KAREN. (2001). Witness. New York: Scholastic. ISBN: 0-439-27199-1

Though it seems strange to include a book whose setting is rural Vermont in a selection of multicultural literature, I have chosen to enter it here because it depicts a very foreign time and place in Vermont history. It speaks of individuals whose actions and values may, perhaps, be more difficult to understand than those of characters from a foreign country. Witness concerns the formation, actions, and ultimate demise of the Ku Klux Klan, circa 1924, in an unnamed, small Vermont town. As a poetic novel, Hesse uses the past to illuminate the present and future. She weaves a story that is compelling and that causes us to understand the impact that a single individual or group of individuals can have on the mental images we create and the morals to which we aspire.

Examining issues of racial prejudice and its potentially devastating impact, readers will follow the lives of two girls, Leanora Sutter and Esther Hirsch, their friendship, and the violence and hatred with which they are faced. …

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