Boekverslag : Donna Tartt - The Secret History
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1. The Secret History

2. Donna Tartt, who was born in 1963 in Greenwood, Mississippi. She was the elder of two daughters born to Don and Taylor Tartt, but she grew up in Grenada, Mississippi, on the eastern edge of the Delta. Details from her formative years are scant, but she appears to have been a precious child with an early love for literature.

3. 1992

4. A fictive novel with the aspects of a thriller

5. It takes place from about 1990 - 1991.

6. The story is set in Hampden, Vermont, USA.

7. A whole schoolyear with the exception of the epilogue which is set a few years later.

8. Richard Papen, the main character is 28 years old when he starts telling his story. This story starts when he was 19, and a student psychology. After a year he switches to Greek. He is a character whom you get to know better as the book progresses. He is very poor young man, but he can cope quite well. Just like all the other students at Hampden College he likes to drink a lot and occassionally uses drugs too.

Edmund Corcoran, also known as “Bunny” is also an Greek student at Hampden. He is quite chubby and can always be found eating. He wears glasses and drinks a lot too. He appears ro be quite a wealthy young man, but the truth is he doesn’t have a cent and gets everything from Henry.

Henry Winter is the richest of the six Greek students at Hampden. He is also very intelligent for he speaks over seven languages, and is always reading. He is very tall and quiet. He seems to know the answer to almost any problem.

Charles Macaulay and Camilla Macaulay are twins. They are also orphans. The twins aren’t so wealthy, but they have more money than Richard. Charles is a smart boy, but can panick a lot too. Camilla is smart too, but very nosy also. The odd thing is, that they appear to be sleeping together! In the end Charles can’t get of his drinking problem and Camilla leaves him for Henry, who she really loves.

Francis Albernathy is the sixth and final Greek student at Hampden. He has an uncle who owns a house in the country where the six of them often stay. Francis is also atracted to men, which causes some funny problems. He and Henry are the only ones who own a car.

Julian Marrow is the excentric Greek tutor, who, at first, won’t allow more than five pupils in his class. This is because he spends a great deal of time with his pupils. After a year he will accept Richard as one of his pupils too.

9. Yes, there is an I person, but it is not the author Donna Tartt. It is the main character

Richard Papen.

10. There is a lot of action in the book. About three people get killed and there are many fights in the book too!

11. There are many conflicts in the story too. An example: Charles gets in a fight with Henry about his sister.

12. Yes, the problem in this book is about being loyal to your friends. The six students all know about a murder and have promissed to keep their mouths shut. When one of them appears not to, he is killed.

13. The epilogue starts with Richard telling how it all started. So the teller is a narrator within and an omniscient writer. The events he tells are presented chronologically, but occassionally the author uses flashbacks.

14. The most important moment in the book is when Richard is told about the murder on the farmer. This is when he becomes part of the group and there is no turning back, because he knows everything.

15. I felt a lot of sympathy for the main characters, dispite what they had done. The story is told in such an enchanting way that the main charcters can get away with anything even murder without me minding.

16. No, it wasn’t written in a difficult language, the only trouble was that the book has 660 pages, which makes it quite thick and tiring to read.

17. The themes are: friendship (between the main characters and the teacher),

Deception (on Bunny’s, Camilla’s and Henry’s side too),

Murder (on the farmer and on Bunny),

Love (between Francis and Charles, Camilla and Henry, Camilla and Charles)

and Hate (between Bunny and the rest, Francis, Charles and Henry)

18. The lady in the library had recommended it to me and I couldn’t refuse to take it, so I read it and in the end I was quite glad I’d taken it.

19. When I read the cover I thought there would be more murders in the book, but with an exciting plot this book, even if it wasn’t the story I expected, was a great book to read.

20. Richard Papen, a Californian by birth, who grew up in a little village called Plano, leaves his parental home to study at the Hampden College.

As soon as he is in Hampden, Richard is interested in a little class of five students, who follow all their lessons with Julian, a Greek tutor. Richard becomes part of this class after a while, which makes six of them. All these students, and their teacher are creating a very close and intense relationship, better say friendship. Richard finds their behaviour rather weird, as Henry buys everything for Bunny as if he were his wife, Camilla appears to be sleeping with her twin brother Charles and Francis is gay. The ancient Greek way of thinking fascinates them deeply, which makes the following act quite understandable.

Four of the students (Camilla, Henry, Charles and Francis) try to get in a high and narrowed consciousness- via an old Greek ritual, in shich they succeed, but in which they also, without realising it, kill a man in the proces.

Bunny, selfish and insecure, feels excluded and blackmails the others by threatening he’ll go to the police. The rest of the group exclude Bunny more and more. From this moment Richard knows about the horrible deed, all of them are sharing and which makes their emotions very intense. Many strange behaviours and crazy situations had passed before he understood what really was going on.

The five kill Bunny, and after this happening everyone is very shocked. Richard can hardly sleep, Charles’drinking problem gets even worse, so he starts beating Camilla. This is when Camilla moves away into a hotel where Henry takes care of her. Henry and Charles are then having terrible fights and one day, when Charles comes to Henry, totally drunk, attempting to kill him, Henry manages to take over the gun and shoots himself, in front of all his friends, to death.

In the end Richard is the only one who actually graduates and when he sees Camilla years later, she’s still in love with Henry.

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