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Ghost Hawk (2013)

por Susan Cooper

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3211462,392 (3.6)10
At the end of a winter-long journey into manhood, Little Hawk returns to find his village decimated by a white man's plague and soon, despite a fresh start, Little Hawk dies violently but his spirit remains trapped, seeing how his world changes.
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Little Hawk is about to leave his family and village to go into the woods and live alone for three months, a ritual that will see him in his way to manhood. But life if changing for his tribe, and for all Native Americans. The European settlement of America is well under way and with it the whole continent is about to be utterly altered. His is the first part of this story.

The second part of the story revolves around John Wakely, a young boy who is one of the English colonisers. His father dies when a tree falls on him and soon his mother remarries. He and his step-father do not get on so he leaves his village to become an apprentice cooper.

In her author’s note at the end of the book Cooper says that this is not a work of historical fiction but is rather a fantasy story in an historical setting. And as such I really enjoyed the book. It is lovingly told, with so many details and touches that add so much to the bare story. There such a sad, melancholy feel to the book. The modern reader is, of course, aware that the Native American way of life will be utterly destroyed, that so many will be shot, murdered, displaced and treated as though they were not human by the settlers.

And I think that Cooper does a great job at getting across that fact, those atrocities happened, they are the origins of the modern United States of America.

There are some problems with Cooper’s depictions of Native Americans. They seemed very generic and stereotypical “good indian”1 perhaps she could have done more to represent the realities of the Wampanoag way of life. And if she had described this book as a work of solidly historical fiction I might have been a little harsher on that. The fact that she seems to recognise her lack of knowledge2 and calls this a fantasy book gives her a little leeway.

I really liked how she showed the hypocrisy of the Pilgrim settlers. So many fled England and Europe because they claimed they wanted the freedom to worship in their own manner, yet the first thing they seemed to set about doing was persecute anyone else who was different. Not only the “savages” but other settlers who differed in their shade of Christianity.

Additional spoilery paragraph in my full review : http://www.susanhatedliterature.net/2013/10/ghost-hawk/ ( )
  Fence | Jan 5, 2021 |
Urghh! What a mess of what could have been a good book. It's impossible to explain in detail without spoilers, so suffice to say that it's a structural mess that detracts from a tale of Puritan hypocrisy in American Colonial days that could have had a pleasing symmetry reminiscent of Alan Garner. ( )
  Arbieroo | Jul 17, 2020 |
This is a story of Little Hawk, a member of the Wampanoag tribe. The book's timeline is around the time of the Pilgrims coming to America to settle. The book is really interesting, but may be a bit slow for young readers. In the middle of the book, Little Hawk is killed and the rest of the story is told by Little Hawk as a spirit following John (a pilgrim Little Hawk met years before and who was present at Little Hawk's death). I didn't love that Little Hawk dies, I think it makes a drastic change to the feeling of the story half way through. I am also unsure of the accuracy of the depiction of the Wampanoag people. That being said, I did enjoy the story and the perspective it gave. ( )
  heidimaxinerobbins | Jul 25, 2018 |
heard as audio tape, so I may not have remembered things correctly.
The book is separated into before & after Hawk's death. Hawk is a Native American living in what will be known as New England, on the coast. The time is just at the beginning of English immigrant contact with their tribe. The book opens as he is leaving on his fast to become a man, but there is a fair amount of flashback on his younger years--including his meeting with a young Pilgrim boy when Squanto brought some new settlers to the village so they could learn how to fish.
After Hawk dies, his spirit remains and is able to communicate with this young boy, John. We follow John's life as he becomes an apprentice cooper and as he resists the dominant restrictive religion which is also the government.
Some parts are a bit awkward at trying to write of emotions and lifestyles which are not innate to the author, but overall a good book with a good lesson on equality (as well as acceptance of the unknown). ( )
  juniperSun | May 31, 2018 |
This is a story of adventure and friendship between a young Native American (Little Hawk ) and a colonial New England settler (John Wakely). The book divides the stories of both characters and is narrated and told the eyes of Little Hawk. The story spans from 1630 to present day. Through the narrative, the reader learns about the intolerance of the people of 17th-century Massachusetts, Separatist Roger Williams in Providence Plantation and the growth of America. The text provides insight into the cost of following one’s convictions, standing up for truth and the risks involved in such choices. Depictions of the harshness of wilderness life and war-like conflict. The book includes a detailed timeline of Native American history and a disturbing author’s note.

Grades: 5-9

Classroom use: right/wrong, truth, tolerance, Discussion on conflicting viewpoints
  GEMaguire | Jul 24, 2016 |
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Boast not proud English, of thy birth & blood;
/Thy brother Indian is by birth as Good. /Of one blood God made Him, and Thee and All,/ As wise, as fair, as strong, as personal. - Roger Williams, 1643
This land is your land, this land is my land, / From California to the New York Island/ From the Redwood Forest, to the Gulf Stream waters / This land was made for you and me. - Woody Guthrie, 1944
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For Betty Levin
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He had left his canoe in the river, tied to a branch of a low-growing cherry tree.
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At the end of a winter-long journey into manhood, Little Hawk returns to find his village decimated by a white man's plague and soon, despite a fresh start, Little Hawk dies violently but his spirit remains trapped, seeing how his world changes.

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