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Analysis of Book "King of Shadows" by Susan Cooper

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King of shadows is a book by Susan cooper set in a cross between 1999 and 1599 it is the story of a boy Nathan field who is playing puck in a midsummer night’s dream in the newly opened globe theatre but then is suddenly whisked away to 1599 Shakespeare’s time.

In this story the author has carefully structured her writing as well as selected devices to help give a better sense and description of the story the author has structured her story as a historical novel in chapters of around 15 pages and included certain important elements to her story key to the plot such as the time travel of Nathan field the main character to give the sense of time travel the author has used italic when changing times as well as the description of Nat feeling dizzy and noticing different smells or sounds before and when the changing of time occurs to give this affect. The author has also used extracts from Shakespeare in her text which she has put in italics to symbolise these as not being her words such as ‘’I am that merry wanderer of the night I jest to Oberon and make him smile (p.22).’’ italics have also been used by the author to express Nat’s thoughts so we as the reader can understand better how he is feeling for example ‘’Don’t ask, please don’t ask me.’’

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Nathan field has clearly grown hugely throughout this story.

Nat experienced the tragic loss of his mother and then his father who commits suicide of which Nat blames himself ‘’I was all he had left and I tried to be enough for him, but I wasn’t. I wasn’t enough’’ Nat not knowing what to do with all his grief falls into the common and understandable trap of bottling up all his emotions and just trying to push all his pain in the past away as well as hide it from everyone else for example ‘’Like an arrow he went to my haunting, that I had tried so hard and so long to hide from everyone, and most of all from myself (p.97)’’ but as he gets whisked away in this almost unreal experience he meets Shakespeare who was a poet like Nat’s father this may have helped Nat start to open up about how his parents died to Shakespeare after being told Shakespeare clearly helped Nat start to accept and learn to deal with his parents death he comforted him as well helped him realise it was not his fault ‘’Do not say thou wast not enough for thy father’’ Shakespeare later continues to comfort Nat and gives him a poem about losing loved ones to further help him. Nat later says ‘’thinking my head was haunted only by the death of my father – as it had been too, until now.’’ In this extract Nat explains how by that point in the story he had accepted his parent’s death and in so has grown throughout the events of the story.


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