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This is a book written by Silas house. The book’s main character is Eli. In the natural and everyday life a child is born in natural and good environment that has trust and order. But then times come when things change around for the young and children discover that life is confusing, messy and sometimes it becomes even chaotic. Such a mishap causes the world for a child to look like it has tilted and happens to cause a lot of unsteadiness and also gives the feeling of frightening suddenly. At this point, the child experiences a sudden vertigo. In the book ‘Eli the Good’ such a moment happened to him in 1976 when Eli was ten years old.
Eli narrates the story about himself and the family, of how the family undergoes a transition. To speak the truth, the summer of 1976 was a period no man can forget and especially crow county of Kentucky where Eli lives. Eli does not seem to know the changes that he is facing but goes through them anyway. He spends most of days when young hanging out with his best friend Edie though she is a girl and snoops on his sister and her boyfriend. At his tender ages he discovers that all the people he associates with have secrets and one by one starts to unravel the truth. Eli realizes that life continues like the refuge river that flows near his house even if anything is thrown into it. He has a journal where he records everything, every thing, that happens or goes on around him and is from these journal entries that he is able to narrate the story.
Eli is depicted by the writer as being a very observant child who is able to pay attention to reasons of how things are happening around him. He goes to an extent of realizing how strong love his father and mother have towards each other and he becomes even jealousy to the fact that his mother loves his father more than him. In addition to that, he notices the tenderness his sister holds for him despite the fact that his sixteen years old sister is angry at the world. He also notices the pain his best friend Edie suffers when her parents separate. As if that is not enough, he takes note of the commitment that Nell, his aunt has towards her brother (Eli’s Dad). He looks too young to understand these things but he understands them anyway. He is also aware of the painful experiences of his dad while in Vietnam and also of how a wedge has destroyed the relationship with his father (Brennan 96). Time and again Eli’s mother tries to smoothen things up and insist on that everything is fine, but little Eli is not a boy to joke with, he seeks to understand things much better the way they are happening. He also seems to get strength by observing trees, the sun and the river in order to live a life despite all these challenges.
The reader easily gets connected with this tale especially the understanding of the Vietnam War because it wasn’t clear of what was happening. There was a trouble in the oil industry as oil was becoming a currency and that alone would push the world economy and politics. But the pace then was slow. Then, there were no mobile phones and telephones’ wires were crossing the streets, all rivers were clean and anybody interested would swim in any river and even drink water directly and the neighbors knew each other so well. People used to grow slowly and life was natural because everything happened at the right time. Now this is the environment that is described as ending in the book “Eli the Good” and slowly another culture is crippling in through this story.
It is also important to note that within this tale, there is a violence that shocks suddenly. However it is meant to unfold the story and also magnifies the kind of confusion that Eli undergoes and explains to the reader the reality that produces chaos at the root of confusion. Although there is no sex, it becomes a centre of attention in the tale. At that time sex was so innocent and nobody would discuss that topic anywhere and it is amazing what the reader understands that the only fear of having sex then was only pregnancy whereas nowadays there are so many fears associated with having sex, the main one being the HIV/AIDS prevalence. Psychology also bounds this great tale of Eli the Good; it vividly explains that the Oedipus complexes are seen to be thicker that July evening. Mythology is also used especially when the Wounded Warriors, the Goddess of homes described as stirring the world into action.
Eli’s theology also leaks out of his life and the community in which he lives. Eli seeks to become a part of nature that is welcoming to him.
There is also a contrast in the tale while the father to Eli is a war vet dedicated in serving his nation in defense against Vietnam, his sister is a war protestor and criticized the war.
According to the author, the family is the centre of the tale. The stability of the family, definition and direction will always enable an individual to develop naturally in terms of emotions, psychologically, theologically and in doing so, the family and the entire world will become a healthy place where people grow up with moral understanding.