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Virginia Hamilton Essay Research Paper I never

Virginia Hamilton Essay, Research Paper ?I never thought seriously of any other career?1, Virginia Hamilton said, speaking of being an author. Virginia Hamilton is a very talented

Virginia Hamilton Essay, Research Paper

?I never thought seriously of any other career?1, Virginia Hamilton

said, speaking of being an author. Virginia Hamilton is a very talented

African American Children?s author. She was born on March 12, 1936 in

Yellow Springs, Ohio. Her Mother had lived in Yellow Springs since the late

1850?s. Virginia Hamilton said that she loves Yellow Springs. ?I live on land

that has been in my family for generations?2 ?I love my hometown?3.

She says, as a child, both of her parents were enthusiastic readers and

gifted storytellers. Hamilton recalls that her mother could ?take a slice of

fiction and polish it into a saga.?4 Virginia Hamilton is known for her

wonderful ability to create mood, tension and to build individualistic and

complex characters. She also teaches the reader something whenever they

read one of her books. These expressive qualities have led her to win

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numerous awards such as the Newbery Award, the Coretta Scott King

Award, the Edgar Allen Poe Award, the National Book Award and many

others as well. She has also been awarded three honorary doctorates and is

the only Children?s author to have been awarded a MacAuthor fellowship.

In The House of Dies Drear and The Mystery of Drear House, Virginia

Hamilton uses fictional stories with historic background to educate the reader

about the Underground Railroad.

The House of Dies Drear is a story about a family living in South

Carolina. In the beginning of the book, they move to Ohio, to a giant mansion

that supposedly ?held secrets?. The Small Family found out that the house is

known to the town as haunted. Throughout this book, the house does prove

itself as having secrets. Thomas Small finds secret passageways, special

rooms, tunnels and many other secrets used in the Underground Railroad. The

Small family finds out that the house had a century-old legend, where two

fugitive slaves, trying to escape, had been killed by bounty hunters. Also

killed, was Dies Drear, the abolitionist who had made the house into a station

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of the Underground Railroad. The ghosts are still said to walk the rooms of

Drear House. When they get to their house, they meet new people like the

Darrow?s and the scary land lord, Mr. Pluto, who Thomas thinks is the devil.

While they were living in Drear House, it was obvious some one did not want

them to be there. They got many threats and damage to their house. In the

end, Thomas and his Father stumble into Mr. Pluto?s underground lair. Mr.

Pluto?s son is there, and they explain how the Darrow?s are trying to take

over the treasure Mr. Pluto had. So, Thomas, his Father, Mr. Pluto, Mr.

Pluto?s son, and some of their friends scared the Darrow?s away by dressing

up as ghost slaves.

This story teaches the reader a lot about slavery and the Underground

Railroad, while also having an entertaining fictional plot. Virginia Hamilton

says, of her book, ?I needed to know how men, women and children could

travel hundreds of miles on foot through enemy land. I found out that they

were brave beyond belief. Perhaps with this book I have at last touched them

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the way they first touched me so long ago.?5 One of the reasons she became

so interested in the Underground Railroad is because her hometown was one

of the stops. It is said that her Great Grandmother was a conductor. Family

stories of slavery and freedom fascinated Hamilton, and in her books, she

explores both historical and contemporary African American experiences.

She also draws from her heritage, childhood and life experiences, and shares

much of herself in her writing.

?Virginia Hamilton is one the country?s most versatile and spellbinding

authors for young people.?6

The Mystery of Drear House is the sequel to The House of Dies

Drear. In this book it is a lot like the first one, but just a little more deeper in

detail. The reader gets to know the characters a little better. When Virginia

Hamilton was talking about this book she said that when she wrote it she

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realized that she had left something or someone out of the first book that she

had put in this one. Also, in this book, Thomas? little brothers Buddy and

Buster, the twins, were more a part of the main story. They were always

getting in trouble and finding new passageways. They were even in physical

danger, at one point, due to their toddler curiosity.

This story also talks more about the hidden secret passageways of the

Underground Railroad. It brings back the same characters from the other

story, along with a new one. Thomas Small, the main character, in his early

teenage years, full of curiosity and pensiveness. His twin brothers, Buddy

and Buster, the two toddlers always getting in trouble but also known for

their powers to sense evil. Mr. and Mrs. Small, parents of Thomas, Buddy

and Buster. Pesty and M.C. Darrow, Thomas? friends and the only members

of the Darrow family that are good. Pluto, the old landlord. The rest of the

Darrow family, the bad people who are looking for hidden treasure. ?Darrows

had been hunting for hidden treasure in the maze of underground slave escape

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tunnels of the region?s hills for generations.?7 Also, not a main character in

the first book, Thomas? Grandmother Jeffers from North Carolina, is much

more of the Small?s lives.

When asked how did Virginia Hamilton first know she wanted to be a

writer, she replied, ?Well, I?ve always written, since the time I was a child. I

kept a notebook in which I kept all those things adults couch in cover up

phrases so children won?t understand. I figured someday I would know what

they were talking about. Unfortunately, I lost the notebook during my rush

into puberty.?8

It is very evident when one reads a book of Virginia

Hamilton?s, that she has had years of practice. Her stories have good plots

and they teach the reader something. It is no wonder that many of her books

have won awards and can always be found on children?s summer reading lists

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everywhere. Also, they are also a great pick of librarians to read to their

class or recommend to read outside class for fun.

Mrs. Hamilton is also a very respectable and large achiever due to her

hard work. Before she was a writer she held other jobs such as a bookkeeper

and singer in New York City. She worked her way up and now she is very

successful.

Virginia Hamilton uses historical undertones in The House of Dies

Drear and The Mystery of Drear House with a fictional plot. This is what

captures the reader. A child would probably not be very interested in a

non-fiction book all about the history of slavery and the Underground

Railroad. She creates a fun story to read where you enjoy the plot and also

learn historical facts. It is a combination of the two. That is what makes her

stories so delightful to read. She writes about slavery and the Underground

Railroad with knowing, because her family was involved in helping at stations

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of the Underground Railroad. That also makes a story good, when the reader

has experience and knowledge of the topic they write about. Mrs. Hamilton

has many traits that classify her as a wonderful children?s author. She is

hardworking, talented, knowledgeable and fun, which makes her the best

candidate for any children?s author.

Bibliography

SOURCES CONSULTED

Hamilton, Virginia. The House of Dies Drear. New York: Macmillan

Publishing Co., 1968.

——. The Mystery of Drear House. New York: Greenwillow Books, 1987.

——. Sweet Whispers Brother Rush. New York: Philomel Books, 1982.

——. ?The Mind of a Novel: The Heart of the Book?. Children?s Literature

Quaterly 8. (Winter 1983), pp.10-13 .

?Hamilton, Virginia?, 1998. Available

http://falcon.jmu.edu/~ramseyil/hamilton.htm

——. available http://www.cris.com/~bonfire2/pages/mothers.htm

Harper, Amy, ?Yellow Springs News?, March 28, 1996. (Virginia

Hamilton).

as told to Hoffman, Tracy. ?An Exclusive Interview with Virginia Hamilton?.

Available

http://www.wordmuseum.com/virginiahamiltoninterview.htm

IPL Youth Division : Ask the Author, ?Virginia Hamilton?. available

http://www.ipl.org/youth/AskAuthor/hamilton.html

Landsberg, Michele. ?Kid?s Source?, Entertainment Weekly, May 1, 1992.

ML Author Spotlight – Virginia Hamilton, 1998, McDougal Littell Inc.,

Available

http://www.mcdougallittell.com/lit/guest/hamilton/index.com

Reisman, Rosemary M. Canfield. Masterpieces of African American

Literature. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1992. pgs. 293-296

Walters, Susan. Virginia Hamilton Papers, April, 1995. Available

http://www.library.kent.edu/speccoll/children/vh2.htm

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