i need a good COMPREHENSIVE summary of the first two parts of specimen days

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coachingcorner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A 'good comprehensive summary' of the novel Specimen Days would take more time and space than we have here, but we can certainly help you with an introduction and framework to work to. The novel 'Specimen Days' is composed of three narratives which are bound together with vision and imagination and which explore the relationship between machines and people. The ghost narrative tale is the first one and takes place during the Industrial Revolution, and explores that in terms of man eating machines. An excited young boy, who hardly exists in the real world, uses Walt Whitman's vision and voice to communicate the narrative. The boy slaves away in a relentless factory which produces some strange chemical or fuel on which the whole world is utterly dependent. The  boy is small and frail in comparison to the monster machine that he has to use - and which consumed his own brother and he barely has enough strength to work the machine which speaks to him in his brother's voice.

Then the boy becomes fixated on his dead brother's girlfriend, terrified that she is next to be eaten and resolves to rescue her. The first tale is strange and gruesome  but it's function is to set in place these important characters so they can come back to life later in the subsequent building blocks of the book. Each character must rise above the awful reality and not feel scared or alone as is shown by the words of Whitman 'I am with you.' The second part shows a city at risk from crazy bombing and is written in thriller style and the last two segments are more sci-fi and futuristic. The brother who was eaten by the machine has now become one himself, being just a robot who transforms back into human form as the reader watches. His girlfriend is now a space warrior in her own distant country in the universe but just a slave in the planet the reader sees. Specimen Days breaks the mould of usual fantasy stories and forces the reader to cross genres in a courageous and innovative effort from the writer.

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