Jack, Backwell School
The Stars at Oktober Bend
the capital letter is an extremely important part of english punctuation. it helps distinguish between various different word types and meanings, and clarifies where the start of a sentence is. wikipedia gives this on capital letters:
capitalisation is the writing of a word with its first letter in uppercase and the remaining letters in lowercase. capitalisation rules vary by language and are often quite complex, but in most modern languages that have capitalisation, the first word of every sentence is capitalised, as are all proper nouns.
capitalisation in english, in terms of the general orthographic rules independent of context (e.g. title vs. heading vs. text), is universally standardised for formal writing. capital letters are used as the first letter of a sentence, a proper noun, or a proper adjective. the names of the days of the week and the names of the months are also capitalised, as are the first-person pronoun “i” and the interjection "o" (although the latter is uncommon in modern usage, with "oh" being preferred). there are a few pairs of words of different meanings whose only difference is capitalisation of the first letter. honorifics and personal titles showing rank or prestige are capitalised when used together with the name of the person (for example, "mr. smith", "bishop o'brien", "professor moore") or as a direct address, but normally not when used alone and in a more general sense. it can also be seen as customary to capitalise any word – in some contexts even a pronoun – referring to the deity of a monotheistic religion.
other words normally start with a lower-case letter. there are, however, situations where further capitalisation may be used to give added emphasis, for example in headings and publication titles (see below). in some traditional forms of poetry, capitalisation has conventionally been used as a marker to indicate the beginning of a line of verse independent of any grammatical feature.
other languages vary in their use of capitals. for example, in german all nouns are capitalised (this was previously common in english as well), while in romance and most other european languages the names of the days of the week, the names of the months, and adjectives of nationality, religion and so on normally begin with a lower-case letter. on the other hand, in some languages it is customary to capitalise formal polite pronouns, for example du, den (danish), sie (german), and vd or ud (short for usted in spanish).
informal communication, such as texting, instant messaging or a handwritten sticky note, may not bother to follow the conventions concerning capitalisation, but that is because its users usually do not expect it to be formal.
this helpfully informs us that correct capitalisation is required in any formal writing, as surely such a book is. in this book, the lack of capitals is used as an indication of alice's mental state, but i found that this only disrupted the flow of the story. when reading, and coming across a sentence which ended as the page ended, i found myself turning the page, and, faced with no capital, assuming i'd turned two pages, because this surely cannot be a new sentence. i would then check page numbers to ensure i had only turned one page, and the flow of my read would be disrupted.
i also question the need to omit capitals. if alice is able to write poetry, and punctuate the rest of her section of the book (which is written as if she had written it), why is she unable to use the capital letter? i am of the opinion that a few missing capitals, along with other missing punctuation marks, would give the desired effect much more effectively.
Then, we arrive at the ninth chapter, when we are rewarded with capitalisation. Unfortunately, as a result of this, we are denied any suspense. Let me demonstrate. This is the first section of the book that is written by the second main character, Manny.
I am the running boy. The one who loves Alice.
So much for subtlety and suspense.
the book continues to switch between manny and alice, and what little story it contains starts to unfold. i won't give a brief summary of the story, as the book could be easily condensed to one sentence, and i'm supposed to give you the opportunity to read it for yourself.
there must, i hear you ask, be positives to this book. i agree. it deals with issues that are not discussed enough in this time and place. this book should open these topics up for debate, but it focuses so much on the very basic storyline that all the potential this book holds is lost.
A book focused on Manny would provide a very interesting story, as he has such a turmoil of a past. But this is also underplayed and wasted.
One would hope that the ending would at least make up for the rest of the book, but this too is weak. I would in no way like to reread the book, and there is no chance I would recommend it to anyone else.
Posted on: 3rd May 2017 at 10:52 am