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H is for Hawk
Winner of BookBrowse's 2015 Nonfiction Award.
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How does T.H. White's life story help the reader understand Helen's journey?

Created: 03/20/16

Replies: 10

Posted Mar. 20, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1358

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How does T.H. White's life story help the reader understand Helen's journey?

"The book you are reading is my story," Helen writes. "It is not a biography of Terence Hanbury White. But White is part of my story all the same. I have to write about him because he was there." (p.38) How does T.H. White's life story help the reader understand Helen's journey?


Posted Apr. 04, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
normar

Join Date: 05/15/11

Posts: 21

RE: How does T.H. White's life story help the reader understand Helen's journey?

I think that the parts about TH White add to the story line. They have so much in common


Posted Apr. 05, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
KateB

Join Date: 02/11/16

Posts: 56

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RE: How does T.H. White's life story help the reader understand Helen's journey?

I thought they added to the storyline too, Normar. I felt that comparing herself to White made Helen feel better about herself and in some way validated her unusual way of coping with the loss of her dad.


Posted Apr. 05, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
joanp

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 91

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RE: How does T.H. White's life story help the reader understand Helen's journey?

They were both seeking escape from the pain in their lives. Because Helen was so involved with Mabel, she could put facing her father's death on the back burner. White was dealing with " failing to excel". He left the school and threw himself into training Gos. Once again, he failed to excel.


Posted Apr. 06, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
laurap

Join Date: 06/19/12

Posts: 180

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RE: How does T.H. White's life story help the reader understand Helen's journey?

I found the T.H. White passages confusing and distracting. I did not think they added to the story line, or to my understanding of Helen's journey. Aside from the fact that they both trained goshawks, they seemed to have little in common. While they did both experience pain, Helen was a healthy, together woman until her father's sudden death. White, with his abusive parents and educational experience, was pretty much a mess from the get-go. I had a hard time drawing enough parallels to make Helen's obsession with White's work relevant.


Posted Apr. 06, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
barb23703

Join Date: 10/04/15

Posts: 53

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RE: How does T.H. White's life story help the reader understand Helen's journey?

I found the time Helen spent reviewing her innocent, childish assessment of White's work, against her more mature understanding of the world and abuses that are born by some, assisted Helen in putting her grief and her desires to fully immerse herself in the training of her hawk into perspective. They both sought emotional isolation to immerse themselves into the training of a powerful creature with the understanding that a partnership must be forged to be successful. Helen's success as compared to White's initial struggles with Gos led me to wonder about the nature of an obsession - how much is environmental, how much does social stigma or how much is found in our own nature seeking for acceptance, love and fulfillment.


Posted Apr. 07, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
BarbMJ

Join Date: 10/10/14

Posts: 11

RE: How does T.H. White's life story help the reader understand Helen's journey?

Initially I found the White sections distracting, hard to follow. Later they helped me understand the difficulty in training a hawk and what could go badly. Overall, though they could have been edited down. I dd learn a lot about White's life but that wasn't the point of the book. More emphasis on the lessons Helen learned on patience from her father would have been more in line with how she was able to train her hawk (and how White was not able).


Posted Apr. 09, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
bonnieb

Join Date: 09/11/11

Posts: 105

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RE: How does T.H. White's life story help the reader understand Helen's journey?

I agree with Barb. Both White and Helen feel like outsiders - White because of his homosexuality and inner desire to both hurt and nurture and Helen because of her grief and isolation. The struggle between the wild and the civilized is a theme throughout the book, one that White and Helen share.


Posted Apr. 12, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
pattys

Join Date: 09/17/11

Posts: 9

RE: How does T.H. White's life story help the reader understand Helen's journey?

I would have enjoyed this book a lot more if the White passages would have been cut way down. I understand what she was trying to do, but for me, they didn't really work that well. I got to the point where, when I saw a long White passage coming up, I skimmed it. Sometimes it seemed more like a way to pad the book than to really explain (or even compare) her experience to his.


Posted Apr. 26, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lynnes

Join Date: 10/17/11

Posts: 6

RE: How does T.H. White's life story help the reader understand Helen's journey?

I found the White passages both distracting and interesting. At first I wondered why all the detail about him and his struggles, but then realized the author's obsession with his book gave readers insight into her own state of mind and personality both in comparison and contrast.


Posted May. 18, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
JLPen77

Join Date: 02/05/16

Posts: 164

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RE: How does T.H. White's life story help the reader understand Helen's journey?

Helen uses White as a kind of touchstone or measuring stick for herself: as a hawker, as a person struggling with grief, and as a member of the larger human community. (Probably as a fellow writer as well.) I think his story plays a role for her in looking at her own story because his writing had such an impact on her as a child.


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