Category Archives: Responses

Freedom at a cost: Lockdown Escape from Furnace

Through reading this book I have found that a lot of the events within the book and the themes within the book can have many connections to the audience of this book. One thing that is occurring within the book is the potential escape of Alex and his close companions. They are trying to escape from the prison that is advertised as a waiting place for criminals before they die. Also that it is impossible to escape from furnace penitentiary. Although the boys are constantly reminded of these facts, they believe that freedom is possible. But what will this freedom cost them? “But it was too late. The wheezer stabbed the needle into Donovan’s neck and the boy went limp and silent. “You can’t do this!” I shouted. “Donovan, I’ll come for you. I’ll come for you!” (Pg. 260). Their efforts to regain their freedom cost Alex and the boys one of their closest friends in the penitentiary, Alex’s cellmate. Along with the loss of one of the boys, this escape attempt comes with a high chance of failure, and death. Alex and his friends have to be willing to take that risk if they want to be free. When I think of this situation, it causes me to connect this to making hard decisions in life. When we make hard decisions there are always costs involved. No matter what, we always are going to have to give something up or take some risk in order to pursue that decision. What I think the author is doing in this story is he is trying to invite the youth of the world to take risks and make decisions that are going to benefit our lives even if there are costs involved. If we believe in something, and we want to pursue something in life, we should be willing to take the risk and pursue despite the costs.

Overtaken by Fear

Alex now lives in the most dangerous prison in the entire world, and lives each and every day in fear of what is around him. He lives each day in constant fear of what comes next. As he lives each day in the penitentiary, he grows close to a group of inmates. Their companionship helps calm the fear that they live in. When reading this story, it is hard to understand the situation Alex is in because I have never been faced with a situation when I was living in fear, or overtaken by fear. When I think of someone living in fear I think of the Jews living in the concentration camps, or the Africans living in slavery. When hearing true stories of the fear they were overtaken by I see the pattern of mystery. They didn’t know what was around the corner. They had no idea what was going to happen to them. Alex is living in that same mystery. He has no idea what is going to happen to him while living here in the furnace. And he has no idea if he is ever going to see the daylight ever again. One quote that I found when reading that shows how Alex is living in a mystery caused by this immense fear can be found on page 131. “He’s something rotten they dragged up from the bowels of the earth, something they patched together from darkness and filth. He’ll be the death of us all, every single one of us here in Furnace. Only question is when.”

Lockdown: Escape from Furnace by Alexander Gordon Smith

Right now I am reading the first book of the Escape from Furnace series by Alexander Gordon Smith. The title of the book is Lockdown. When starting this book, I found that the style of writing was very easy for me to get into and find myself lost within the story. The author writes in a way that keeps the reader on their toes, and is always wondering what may happen next to our main character Alex and his close friend Toby. What is very significant is how the author is using this big flashback at the beginning of the story to sort of help you as the reader to “catch up” to where Alex is within the story. When the story starts, Alex is already in Furnace Penitentiary. But the author begins with “I can tell you the exact moment that my life went to hell” (Pg. 7). The author is writing in a way where Alex is helping us catch up to where he is at. He knows that as the reader, we aren’t aware of how he even got to the penitentiary. A few characters that I found very significant in the beginning of this story were the mysterious black-suited men. They have had a lot to do with the framing of Alex and I know they are important within the penitentiary, but as the readers, we still are unaware of who these characters actually are. That aspect of mystery, along with suspense, and action is what makes this book extremely interesting to read, and easy to get into. According to Alex’s retelling of his history, it all started with some school yard bullying. But eventually it grew into breaking and entering, robbery, and he was eventually framed for murder. After he was framed, he began to regret his decisions thus far. And as he enters Furnace Penitentiary, I feel that he will begin to regret his decisions more and more.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien is an epic fantasy chronicling the beginnings of Frodo’s journey to Mordor to destroy the One Ring. A powerful ring used by the dark lord Sauron to destroy all that is good in Middle Earth. Frodo and a band of companions will soon meet and form The Fellowship of the Ring. Although this journey is ahead of the young hobbit Frodo, Gandalf is just now informing Frodo of the Ring. And the treacherous journey ahead of him, full of danger and evil.

Tolkien’s style of writing is easily the most descriptive writing I have personally ever read. His use of imagery and extensive description throughout every line of text allows the reader to easily dive deep into the story. And this story is definitely one that a reader can dive into, and get lost in. Tolkien’s extensive description and imagery allows the reader to imagine each setting, and feel as if the reader is sitting with Gandalf and Frodo as they are discussing the fate of the world. Another noticeable part of Tolkien’s writing style is his reference to the prequel of the trilogy. I think that he is using references to the prequel to remind us as the reader of the history of the story. To make sure that as we are reading each and every page we know how Frodo received the Ring, and why the ring is in fact evil. “Even if Bilbo could not kill Gollum, I wish he had not kept the Ring. I wish he had never found it, and that I had not got it!” pg. 93. Tolkien uses little snit bits such as these to remind us of events that have led up to where we are at in the story. He uses these references in such an extensive way, that the reader can understand the story without having to read the actually prequel.

Although I have read this book multiple times, every time I read this book I always find something new that I never discovered before. I believe that every reader can experience this just as I have. Tolkien wrote this story in such a way that there are so many little details, settings, and characters that though they have little significance, can add a lot of influence to the power of this story. I believe this causes each and every reader to love this book from page one, all the way to the final page. This causes this story to seem new and spontaneous every time a reader flips a page. As me and other readers keep on flipping pages I know that the story will increase in “juiciness” and we will all enjoy Tolkien’s various writing styles throughout the entire book.