The Silent Boy by Lois Lowry | Teen Ink

The Silent Boy by Lois Lowry

January 21, 2008
By Christie Kim BRONZE, Irvine, California
Christie Kim BRONZE, Irvine, California
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Silences may be deafening, awkward, long, or terrifying. However, in The Silent Boy, Lois Lowry tells of a young girl who is able to observe and understand silences.
Katy is an eight year old girl growing up in the early 1900s. She and her family live a comfortable life to where her only worries are what toys she'll get for her next birthday. Her father is a busy doctor, and she regularly joins her father on his rounds. While with him on routines, Katy is always attentive to every new person that crosses her path.
Katy becomes especially interested in a boy named Jacob. She soon learns that Jacob is "touched in the head," meaning his mind has in someway been tampered with. The town looks at him as an imbecile and a "deaf-mute", however, Katy soon learns that he is more than meets the eye. She finds that Jacob can understand her, but just has an interesting way of responding. Rather than replying with words, he mimics sounds, like the grinding sounds at a mill, or the cry of a baby. Katy also sees that Jacob has a special gift with animals. Because they communicate beyond words, Jacob has an inexplicable way of connecting with them and making them calm. Katy often finds Jacob in her barn, spending time with her horses, and their relationship grows, though in a somewhat peculiar way.
Jacob never looks at her, or speaks to her, yet Katy learns how to understand the silences he gives.
The relationship that Lowry creates between Katy and Jacob pulls the reader in. Each new quality learned about Jacob makes the reader want to know more about this different, but gentle boy. Lowry expresses the characters emotions so that the reader is affected. If a character feels a certain mood, Lowry makes the reader want to read faster, and sometimes slower.
By the end of the story, Katy realizes that Jacob ends up doing something mightily heroic. But because of his lack of words, he gets stuck in a situation he can't get out of.
This fictitious novel is brilliantly written. It reaches out to many genres. It includes elements of reality, childish situations, and a bit of fear. Lois Lowry also writes in a way where there is a story behind the story. Some situations are up to the reader to deduce, and it definitely adds to the mystery and depth of the story.


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