What is the main issue being addressed in your novel?
Running's relationship with enlightenment. The author writes that he doesn't think the worlds best runners also being the most enlightened peoples is a coincidence. McDougall writes that we all love running, but is causes a lot of injuries, with an injury rate of 60-66 percent (80% according to author). He embarks on a quest (kinda) to more about the Tarahumara (Tara-oo-mara) and their relationship with running (as well as how he can safely run with a build such as his).
Why did you choose this piece for your project?
I’m interested in running, and this caught my eye. I'd never heard of the Tarahumara before, nor of ultradistance running. I wanted to learn about something not quite as saddening as the other novels, but it to still be an issue I could kind of relate to (I needed to take a break from Tae Kwon Do due to a foot injury).
What background knowledge do you already possess on this issue?
Nothing, except my own personal experience with running.
What questions do you have as you begin to read?
Is the setting being near drug farms going to play a major role in the novel?
Are the dangerous trails in the canyons going to be important, in terms of moving around?
Is McDougall going to learn what he wants to about running?
What players/characters have been introduced so far?
Christopher McDougall: The author and main character. He’s looking for the Tarahumarans on his quest for knowledge on running
Caballo Blanco: The White Horse, a man who adopted Tarahumaran values and has a similar worldview to Tarahumarans
Salvador Holguín: McDougall’s guide in the canyons
Ángel: Tarahumaran man, introduced by Salvador to McDougall
Marcelino: Tarahumaran boy, very athletic, even by their standards
Rick Fisher: A highly esteemed canyon explorer Thanks for reading, Kellan
For this litspiration challenge, I'll be comparing and contrasting a few literary aspects of Watership Down(which I just finished reading) with the Warriors series (which I read for a grade 8 litspiration challenge).Please note: I have deliberately used generalities in my comparisons, to avoid spoiling of the books for those who wish to read them. For some background info:
Warriors is by Erin Hunter (pseudonym for 4 authors!), and is a series of books focused on four/five clans of cats. It is an ongoing series with 5 sub-series. The first books were published in 2003 and 2004.The initial series is about Rusty, a house cat who has left his owner to join ThunderClan.
Watership Down is by Richard Adams, published the the 60s. It's a book about the adventures of a group of bucks (male rabbits) as they journey away from their home, because Fiver, one of the group, has had a premonition of danger.
Part 1: Personification
In this series, almost all actions are personified. This indicates, to me, that the book is aimed at a Middle School audience, as it is easy to relate to the goings on of the novel. It has a far higher level of personified thoughts than Watership Down. Even the cats’ strategies and how they worry about what their enemy might do are quite humanized. Also, when the cats misbehave, they do things that humans might do when misbehaving. One example is going to the enemy and trying to find a peaceful resolution rather than a fight without your leader’s permission. I know I would do that.
The rabbits in Watership Down aren't as personified as the cats of Warriors. They're more rabbit-like - how you'd expect a rabbit to think. However, the rabbits are very tricky and clever. I would venture to say that, in the book, they're far more full of tricks than humans. They make elaborate plans and they're good plans, too. I definitely would say that I couldn't think of plans like that if I suddenly found myself in their place. An example of this is their plan to get domestic rabbits out of a hutch. They execute it, although at a cost and even though they are surprised with a very unexpected event.
Part 2: Character development
The character development in Warriors is more straightforward than in Watership Down. The cats usually have their personality from birth. When events are perceived through their eyes (the narrator inside their head), you can sometimes guess some of the upcoming occurrences. If the cats are developed, they're pretty much always developed outside of battle, and they tend not to get involved with non-cats. They usually have to think and act quite quickly, though. There are times when they are very careful in their descision making; for example, when they are choosing the warriors that are going to find a new place for them to live in the second sub-series.
The rabbits have a wide variation of personalities and are trickier than the cats. You can't guess upcoming events as easily through their eyes. The character development for the rabbits is almost always happening. The exceptions are story-telling, in which you get a glimpse at their culture, and setting description. However, they are most prominently developed when they're being tricksters; you get a look at what their thought process was. It can sometimes take a while to fully develop these tricks, but they get the ideas for them almost right off the bat.
Part 3: Organization of Societies
The warriors organize themselves in clans, which are headed by a leader, whom have “star” as a suffix to their name. For instance, they would be born as 'Sprucekit'; then when apprenticed, they'd be 'Sprucepaw'. Then something like 'Sprucefur', or 'Spruceclaw', as a warrior. If they became leader, they'd be 'Sprucestar'. The leader relies on the senior warriors, who lead hunting patrols, border patrols, etc. that the leader demands. The warriors teach apprentices, and they become warriors in their own right. The kits are usually named after appearance. Stories are not told as often to older cats, although they are told to younger cats by the elders. Clans are more organized than the rabbit counterpart, warrens. The female cats are treated differently in warriors than watership down. They can get any position in the clan if they strive for it.
In a warren, you can eat when you like, and you don't usually ever go on patrols. They do, however, have leaders and a group of rabbits who the leader appreciates enough to get them help him make decisions (I think males are usually the leaders). The leader has '-rah' suffixed to their name. Rabbits culture is best shown through the stories of El-ahriarah. Coincidence? Nope. Clearly this shows that each regards their '-rah' as representing/being chosen by El-ahriarah. El-ahriarah actually means something in the ancient language 'Basque', the language of the Basque peoples of Spain and France. However, 'rah' and 'Owsla' do not. The Owsla is the group of rabbits the Chief Rabbit consults and regards as his inner circle. Owsla are the equivalent of the senior warriors in Warriors. The rabbits don't have apprentices, tell more stories than the cats, and are usually named after plants. Rabbits value their females for their digging skills and their giving new kits to the warren. In the book, a female leader/Owsla member isn't mentioned.
Part 4: Domestic Members of Their Species
The warriors despise 'kittypets'. The warriors themselves are feral, and, unlike the rabbits in Watership Down, would never consider releasing domestic cats for increasing their own populations via breeding.
The rabbits don't have nearly as low an opinion of domesticated rabbits as the cats do (of domestic cats). The rabbits are, again, feral. In Watership Down, the rabbits conducted a raid on some hutch rabbits, and escaped with three. Two were does, the gender they wanted, having their entire warren made up of bucks until that point.