READINGREPORT “AFTER THE FIRST DEATH”
1. Practical information:
- Author: Robert Cormier.
- Title of the novel: After the first death. (It’s a psychological thriller)
- Publisher: Lions tracks.
- Place of publication: London.
- First print:1979.
- Number of pages: 184.
- The main characters are:
- Ben, he’s a schoolteacher. His father works in Inner Delta, a secret part of the army. He sends Ben to the hijackers, because he knows him, better than anyone else.
- The four hijackers, Artkin, Miro, Antibbe, and Stroll. They have captured a bus full of children, because they want to release several political prisoners. Miro plans to kill his first man, but the man is a woman and that makes things complicated.
- Where does the story take place?:
They didn’t tell it exactly, but somewhere in America in town.
- When does the story take place and how much time does thep story cover?
The story takes place around 1975, and covers two times. In the first time the boy looks back to his accident and in the other time, the story takes place.
- Description of the first scene:
The story begins with a boy, who kept saying he has a tunnel in his chest. The boy named Ben is the son of a general and that’s why he eventually ends up on the bridge and there a bullet caused that tunnel in his chest.
- Description of the last scene:
Miro realised how important Artkin had been for him and he wondered how it must go further. He realised too that Kate had again trying to manipulate him not to kill her, and that’s why he had decided to kill her and start all over again. He would keep himself empty like before. He killed a man, while he was out of his car to urinate and drove away in his car.
- Where does the story reach a climax?:
When Ben arrived on the bridge and went into the van. There he was auestioned and tortured. He couldn’t take it and told everything. But everything he knew was shown to him intentionally, because it was wrong information. So Inner Delta attacked half an hour earlier as Ben told them. During the attack Ben got shot by Artkin. All hyackers died exept Miro. He got Kate and run into the woods.
- What is the theme of the story?:
The central theme of the story is the obsession to kill. Patriotism plays a big role in it. The behaviour of some principal figures entirely arises from patriotism. And innocents become victims of it.
- Explain of the title:
After Miro has killed Kate he has to escape and to save himself he needs to kill another man.
- Who tells the story?:
The story is told partly by Ben, partly by Miro and partly by a narrator.
- Which developements are going through the main chracters (Ben and Miro)?:
When Ben came out of coma, he wrote about what has happened on the bridge and about his life, with the puropse his father would know what he had done to him.
- Is the story told chronologically?:
In the story are flash-forwards and flash-backwards.
The story begins with a boy, Ben, who keeps saying that he has a tunnel in his chest. The story tells what is the cause of that.
It all happened on an old railway bridge. Four hyackers, terrorists, captured a bus full of children under the age of six. The hyackers were Artkin, who took charge of the operation, Miro a sixteen-year-old boy, who had never known his parents and later also lost his brother and two other men called Antibbe and Stroll.
Artkin and Miro had watched the bus’ route for weeks. Miro’s assignment was to kill the driver, his first kill.
But when the bus arrived the driver wasn’t a man as supposed to be, but a girl. The girl was Kate, the niece of the bus driver. When Artkin decides to let the girl alive for a while, because she might be useful, Miro was disappointed because he wanted his first death to be perfect, so as they planned it to be and now the first thing went wrong already.
Artkin drugged the children with drugged chocolate so they would sleep. But one child was probably allergic to the drug and died. Of course this wasn’t planned but Artkin used it as a warning to the world. Then he went to the van where Antibbe and Stroll were also. He had Miro given the order to watch over the children and Kate and win her confidence. In the conversations that Kate and Miro have, Miro tells about himself to win her confidence and Kate tries to be nice and kind to persuade him not to kill her. Kate also has conversations with herself: am I acting all right and then she decides to be brave for herself and the children. She tries to escape once with the bus but she fails.
In the meantime Artkin has sent out the demands to Inner Delta, a secret intelligence. They want the release of several political prisoners, ten million dollars and abolishment of the secret agency. Their main goal is to free their homeland. They threaten to kill one of the children for each man of them, who will be killed. And they keep their promise. When Antibbe accidentally get killed, Artkin sacrificies a boy named Raymond, who has given Kate a little strength by acting so smart and brave for a little kid.
But then the hyjackers get a message from Inner Delta telling them that their big leader, Sedeete, has been captured by the agents of Inner Delta. Artkin wants proof. He asked them to let somebody bring a special stone from Sedeete’s apartment. The messenger should be a non-professional. The general chooses his son Ben to do this job. He wants Ben to do this, although Ben is his only son and he is aware that it is dangerous mission. His work was the study of people’s behaviour and to forecast how they would act.He has studied his son since he was a little boy. He monitored the classes of his son and taped his telephones. He knows Ben better than anyone else. And he decides his son is the best choice for this dangerous mission.
When Ben arrives on the bridge and goes into the van, he is questioned and tortured. Ben tells them everything. But everything he knows was shown to him intentionally, and it is false information. So Inner Delta attackes half an hour earlier then Ben had told the hyackers. During the attack Ben gets shot by Artkin. All hyackers die except Miro. He escapes and takes Kate with him to the woods. There they have a last conversation. Kate asks Miro if Artkin was his father. Then Miro realises how important Artkin has been to him and he wonders how to continiue. He realises too that Kate is trying to to manipulate him not to kill her. He decides to kill her and start all over again. He would keep himself empty like before. He kills a man, who was out of his car to urinate and drives away in that car.
Ben wasn’t killed by the bullet, but he was in a coma. When he comes out of it, he writes a book about what has happened on the bridge and about his life, with the purpose his father will know what he has done to his son. That’s where the story starts.
- Recognizable situations:
I can’t recognize myself in this book, because it describes a situation in which I have never found myself.
- My opinion:
I recommend the book to other people only if they like to read psychological thrillers. Miro doubts the whole story if he will kill Kate or not. Finally he kills her and a short time later he kills the next man.
To me, the last part of the book is very exciting. In short time there happens very much and like many other books there isn’t a happy end. I hadn’t expect this.
- Sensible passages:
- Artkin drugged the children with drugged chocolate so they would sleep. But one child was probably allergic to the drug and died. Of course this wasn’t planned but Artkin used it as a warning to the world.
-The hyackers threaten to kill one of the children for each man of them, who will be killed. And they keep their promise. When Antibbe accidentally get killed, Artkin sacrificies a boy named Raymond, who has given Kate a little strength by acting so smart and brave for a little kid.
- All hyackers die except Miro. He escapes and takes Kate with him to the woods. There they have a last conversation. Kate asks Miro if Artkin was his father. Then Miro realises how important Artkin has been to him and he wonders how to continiue. He realises too that Kate is trying to to manipulate him not to kill her, so he decides to kill her.
- Comparable books or films:
I can’t remember me that I have red a book or that I have seen a film that comparable is with this book. But when I look at the feelings that were expressed in this book I can compare it with the book “Het gouden ei” from Tim Krabbé. Both books are showing a life in narrow circumstances.
- Requisite time to make this readingreport:
I have worked about 10 hours to read the book and make this readingreport.
Andere boeken van deze auteur:
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