For part II of the Read-Along hosted by Stainless Steel Droppings we are discussing Chapters 4, 5 and 6 of the book.
The Witch’s Headstone is about Bod’s introduction to a new section of the graveyard. It is also a lesson is giving people a chance. Nobody learns that if he is willing to let go of preconceived notions, prejudices and labels, then people can sometimes surprise you. He finds and unexpected friend in Liza the ghost and there’s something sweet about forming a friendship with someone even the other ghosts ignore.
Danse Macabre is just a beautiful chapter. It’s a joyful day for both the living and the dead when they come together and spend one night dancing. The bittersweet evening is wonderful in some ways, but then Bod realizes the living remember nothing from the dance and the dead refuse to talk about it. Also, Silas is excluding from the whole thing because he is neither living nor dead so he can’t participate. In this chapter Bod meets the Grey Lady for the first time and has a sweet interaction with her. He doesn’t really understand who she is and why he can’t ride on her horse yet.
Interlude: The Convocation: This isn’t a full chapter; it’s just a bit to show us that Bod’s family’s killer is still out there. It’s creepy in a good way and helps fuel the bigger story that the book is building towards.
Nobody Owens’ School Days is a hard chapter in a lot of ways. It brings up questions about when it’s okay to fight back and stand up for yourself. When you do fight back against bullies and how far should you take it? When is it ok to threaten or scare someone? Did Bod do the right thing? The whole dreamwalking bit is scary in a lot of ways, but it’s also fascinating. I could see this chapter being a great way to talk about some of these issues with kids in junior high. I think this chapter also shows how protective Silas feels. He would do anything to save him and he’s a man of actions and not words, so it’s important to see that love played out in this very tangible way.
“It’s like the people who believe they’ll be happy if they go and live somewhere else, but who learn it doesn’t work that way. Wherever you go, you take yourself with you.”
“We wants you to stay alive. We wants you to surprise us and disappoint us and impress us and amaze us.”
“Fear is contagious. You can catch it. Sometimes all it takes is for someone to say that they’re scared for the fear to become real.”
Here’s Part 1 of the Read-Along.