Why is style important to understanding The Misfits written by James Howe?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One of the primary motivations that exist in Howe's work is to understand individuals as human beings.  Bobby comes up with this realization when talking about Mr. Kellerman: "because when you get down to it, thinking of somebody as 100% human seriously gets in the way of hating them."  This idea of enabling full understanding of an individual requires communicating with them devoid of barriers and obstacles.  It is clear talking, as if they are near you.

This style of writing is evident in Howe's work.  He does not write with a style that is distant.  He writes with clear communication at the forefront of his style.  The way in which the narration and dialogue are constructed ensure clear and open communication with the reader about exploring the humanity of his characters:

Another thing I think about names is that they DO hurt. They hurt because we believe them. We think they are telling us something true about ourselves, something other people can see even if we don't.

Such lucid expression is an example of the style Howe employs in order to communicate his primary point of understanding individuals and creating empathy for them.  In such a point, the style must match the message.


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