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“Hunter in the Dark” by Monica Hughes Essay

Monica Hughes, a truly gifted novelist, has written a first class book titled Hunter in the Dark. I chose this gripping novel, which was published in 1982 because I have immensely enjoyed some of her other works. After reading the preview, I expected that the story would give me a greater appreciation for life, since it focused on a boy’s struggle with leukemia, and how he overcame it.

Hughes uses theme to weave a well-developed plot by using her unique style of writing. Sixteen-year-old Mike Rankin is preparing for a hunting trip, with his best friend Doug O’Reilly, that he has been planning and waiting for all year. He is sent to the hospital for treatment, as a result, he misses the hunting trip. Mike’s parents refuses to tell him about his sickness for fear of hurting his feelings, and he had to discover that he has leukemia by tracking down his symptoms and treatments at the library. He becomes angry that his parents hid his sickness from him and wants to discontinue his treatment due to the fact that he feels that he doesn’t have anything to live for. He thinks about how nice it would be if he could go hunting and decides that he wants to go hunting one last time before he dies.

With Doug’s help, he plans a solo-hunting trip, and prepares mentally and physically for what he could encounter in the bush. He leaves his protective house and drives into the bush. After numerous days, Mike tracks down a massive whitetail buck and prepares to fire his rifle when he suddenly has a flashback to when he was still in the hospital. He remembers when the nurse clipped a plastic tag, a badge of slavery, around his wrist, and he wonders with despair when it would be cut off. He realized he wasn’t running away to go hunting, he was running away so that he could forget about his sickness and pretends that everything was fine. He saw his life through new eyes. Mike lowers his rifle and prepares to head back home. The following passage from the novel illustrates the author’s descriptive style of writing.

“The pickup was there, just where Doug had parked it. Mike had had an irrational twinge of fear that somehow it might have vanished overnight. But there it was, tan-coloured, squared and business-like, sparkling with frost under the blue lights.” You can tell that Hughes has a descriptive style of writing because this passage is loaded with adjectives and similes. Some examples are: tan-coloured, squared and business-like and blue lights. These descriptive elements help form a picture of the pickup in the reader’s mind.

Monica Hughes has written a fantastic novel, which I couldn’t put down. Hunter in the Dark has a fast paced plot that flowed from event to event. This, along with the suspenseful situations she created, impelled me to continue reading. The characters were complex and seemed as if they were real, due to the fact that their reactions and how they act were realistic. Also, the author used vivid details to form a clear picture of every scene in the reader’s mind. This book deserves to stay on the reading list because it is an outstanding novel.

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