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Rachel-K
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Breathing Tips of Great American Beatboxers

[ Edited ]

 

 

"Since we're helping each other out"

 

is how NP begins asking UTFO for a pass to get into the concert. Do the boys "help each other out" for this most important event of the summer? How to they stick together or abandon each other? Do you remember something essential to you as a young person that is embarrassing to you now?

 

What do you make of their "cool" Uncle Gideon in this chapter? Why is he having the boys drive him around?

 

Benji finally gets close enough to girls to feel the need to cover his braces when he speaks or laughs! How would you describe his early infatuation?

 

Message Edited by rkubie on 03-02-2009 10:02 AM
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DSaff
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The Concert

Do the  boys help each other out? In a word, no. NP is clearly looking out for himself when he asks for two tickets - one for himself and one probably for his girlfriend. This is where friendship took a backseat. This concert was huge, and they all wanted to be there. If NP had asked for enough tickets for all of them, he probably would have been told yes. But, he didn't. Ben knew he was on his own, the proverbial fifth wheel, so he got a ticket to be sure he was included. Bobby seemed to think he would just get in. Erica and Devon simply figured the guys would get them in.

 

I was very surprised at how quickly both NP and Bobby were to abandon the girls when they were told they were too young to get in. That spelled the end of the relationships, the end of a status symbol, even though Bobby did finally take them home. Anger would have been my first reaction, especially when it didn't appear that he would take them home. No, they didn't hang together.

 

Once inside, Ben didn't know where NP was, but he had a great time anyway. He was a little paranoid about how much people knew about his age, but soon was dancing with the others. He was totally caught up in the crowd. NP brings his a Bartles and James, and all seems well. I was fascinated by the description of the scene and music, seeing each part as I was reading. It was equally fascinating to hear our narrator talk about how corny the music was. Things definitely change for us as we age!  :smileyvery-happy:

 

DonnaS =) " Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." Charles Scribner
"A book is like a garden carried in the pocket." Chinese Proverb
My blog: http://bookworm56.blogspot.com
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DSaff
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Uncle Nelson

It appears that Uncle Nelson was the outcast of the family, at least to the older generation. Even though Ben hadn't seen him for a while, once recognized, Ben wanted to say hello. While worried about Bobby asking him to buy beer for them, he did protect it in case there was a problem. I felt sad for Nelson because it was easy to see that he didn't fit in anymore. The trip around his former haunts brought sad memories, some of once full but now empty houses, some of not being included in a big party. But the saddest was when they went by Gideon's house and Nelson just stared. He wanted to go in, he wanted a relationship with his "father", but his pride wouldn't let him move out of the car. "He told me, 'Don't set foot in my house ever again.' So I'm not." (pg. 221) is one of the saddest lines in the book. Ben didn't know what to say or do, so he just sat there. Then Nelson says, "That doesn't mean I can't look, does it?" followed a few moments later by, "I can look, right?" Very sad! It truly points out that sins of the past do follow us, and that we shouldn't burn our bridges.

 

Ben's encounter with Uncle Nelson causes him to think about his future. Would he and his friends always come out to Sag Harbor? Surely they would. But, could he really be sure?

 

DonnaS =) " Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." Charles Scribner
"A book is like a garden carried in the pocket." Chinese Proverb
My blog: http://bookworm56.blogspot.com
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booksJT
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Re: Breathing Tips of Great American Beatboxers

"Since were helping each other out". No. Np is definitely looking out for himself. He made sure he had his ticket even if nobody else did. I think Benji knew this would happen so he bought his own  ticket to the concert. The incident with the girls ,the boys  just abandoned them so they could get in. I am quite sure they knew the girls were too young to go. After Np and Bobby abandoned the girls for the concert there realtionships would be over. I think this was insenitive on the boys part. They should have found out the age limit before asking the girls to come along.  Once inside Benji no longer has sight of Np and Bobby but he manges to enjoy himself.

 

 Benji's time with his Uncle Gideon was memorable. Uncle Gideon wanted take the boys to his old hangouts when he was younger. The time Benji spent with his uncle made him think about  what his future might hold. He wondered whether he would ever return back to Sag Harbor. I think that he might but no really knows for sure. I think Benji was self conscious of his braces. The braces took away from his smile and looks.  He couldn't kiss anybody because they would get in the way. 

 

 

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Bonnie824
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Re: Breathing Tips of Great American Beatboxers

To me, this chapter showed the boys, and their girlfriends, as just summer people to hang out with. Not really friends. Which made it odder that Benjy was OK moving apart from Reggie. Who did he have really? Not his family or his friends that he was truly close to.
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detailmuse
Posts: 180
Registered: ‎01-24-2008

Re: The Concert


DSaff wrote:

I was fascinated by the description of the scene and music, seeing each part as I was reading. It was equally fascinating to hear our narrator talk about how corny the music was. Things definitely change for us as we age!  :smileyvery-happy:

 


I'm not familiar with U.T.F.O. so I listened to some clips in the iTunes music store. And it does sound "corny" compared to today ... reminded me of the theme song to "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air." I loved seeing Benji dancing, finally feeling comfortable.

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DSaff
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Re: The Concert

You hit the nail on the head - he was finally feeling comfortable. 

detailmuse wrote:

I'm not familiar with U.T.F.O. so I listened to some clips in the iTunes music store. And it does sound "corny" compared to today ... reminded me of the theme song to "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air." I loved seeing Benji dancing, finally feeling comfortable.


 

DonnaS =) " Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." Charles Scribner
"A book is like a garden carried in the pocket." Chinese Proverb
My blog: http://bookworm56.blogspot.com
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aprilh
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Re: Uncle Nelson


DSaff wrote:

It appears that Uncle Nelson was the outcast of the family, at least to the older generation. Even though Ben hadn't seen him for a while, once recognized, Ben wanted to say hello. While worried about Bobby asking him to buy beer for them, he did protect it in case there was a problem. I felt sad for Nelson because it was easy to see that he didn't fit in anymore. The trip around his former haunts brought sad memories, some of once full but now empty houses, some of not being included in a big party. But the saddest was when they went by Gideon's house and Nelson just stared. He wanted to go in, he wanted a relationship with his "father", but his pride wouldn't let him move out of the car. "He told me, 'Don't set foot in my house ever again.' So I'm not." (pg. 221) is one of the saddest lines in the book. Ben didn't know what to say or do, so he just sat there. Then Nelson says, "That doesn't mean I can't look, does it?" followed a few moments later by, "I can look, right?" Very sad! It truly points out that sins of the past do follow us, and that we shouldn't burn our bridges.

 

Ben's encounter with Uncle Nelson causes him to think about his future. Would he and his friends always come out to Sag Harbor? Surely they would. But, could he really be sure?

 


 

Uncle Nelson driving around with the boys is one of the saddest scenes in the book. The fact that he had the boys drive past all these places he used to visit, when all he really wanted to see was his old house, but then couldn't go inside, made it even sadder.
April
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thewanderingjew
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Re: The Concert

Anyone who is estranged from his family knows the pain that Uncle Nelson felt. It doesn't matter if the ostracism is well deserved or not, it is still a very unhappy situation. I am sure there are lots of us out here who do not speak to members of our familiy and wish we could right the situation but sometimes too much time passes or there is just too much water under the bridge to go back and fix things. Sometimes it is just a matter of pride. No matter what the reason, it is sad because there is really nothing like the ties that bind families together or the walls that separate them or the wedges that drive them apart.
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Sassy398
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Re: Breathing Tips of Great American Beatboxers

I feel Benji made a great connection with his Uncle in this particular chapter.

Family ties are truly of an importance to most people. It's definately sad to lose

the closeness of family.

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Deltadawn
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Re: The Concert


thewanderingjew wrote:
Anyone who is estranged from his family knows the pain that Uncle Nelson felt. It doesn't matter if the ostracism is well deserved or not, it is still a very unhappy situation. I am sure there are lots of us out here who do not speak to members of our familiy and wish we could right the situation but sometimes too much time passes or there is just too much water under the bridge to go back and fix things. Sometimes it is just a matter of pride. No matter what the reason, it is sad because there is really nothing like the ties that bind families together or the walls that separate them or the wedges that drive them apart.

I agree - I felt very sad for Uncle Neslon.

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detailmuse
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Re: The Concert


DSaff wrote:
You hit the nail on the head - he was finally feeling comfortable. 

detailmuse wrote:

... I loved seeing Benji dancing, finally feeling comfortable.


It's such an optimistic feeling that when the chapter ends -- "Now you'll have to excuse me. Can you feel it? It's about to start" -- I thought that although the "it" referred literally to the concert, it also referred figuratively to Benji's life, that a life that really fit him might finally be starting.

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libralady
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Re: Breathing Tips of Great American Beatboxers

[ Edited ]
I think it is "every man for himself" in this chapter.  NP and Bobby had little time for Ben when Erica and Devon were around.  They chose to spend time with the girls rather than hang out with Ben.  I think Ben knew he would be the odd man out when NP started making plans to get into the concert.  He was determined to go to that concert and took steps to make sure he got in.  He was definitely not looking out for anyone else.  NP was only looking out for himself when he left Bobby and the girls when they could not get in. 
Message Edited by libralady on 03-04-2009 04:40 PM
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Rachel-K
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Re: Uncle Nelson


DSaff wrote:

It appears that Uncle Nelson was the outcast of the family, at least to the older generation. Even though Ben hadn't seen him for a while, once recognized, Ben wanted to say hello. While worried about Bobby asking him to buy beer for them, he did protect it in case there was a problem. I felt sad for Nelson because it was easy to see that he didn't fit in anymore. The trip around his former haunts brought sad memories, some of once full but now empty houses, some of not being included in a big party. But the saddest was when they went by Gideon's house and Nelson just stared. He wanted to go in, he wanted a relationship with his "father", but his pride wouldn't let him move out of the car. "He told me, 'Don't set foot in my house ever again.' So I'm not." (pg. 221) is one of the saddest lines in the book. Ben didn't know what to say or do, so he just sat there. Then Nelson says, "That doesn't mean I can't look, does it?" followed a few moments later by, "I can look, right?" Very sad! It truly points out that sins of the past do follow us, and that we shouldn't burn our bridges.

 

Ben's encounter with Uncle Nelson causes him to think about his future. Would he and his friends always come out to Sag Harbor? Surely they would. But, could he really be sure?

 


 

I agree about how heartbreaking this is. And I love that the kids really only seem to interpret the experience as kind of drawn out and awkward--they are self involved, happy to get beer, and have no real register for his experience. 

 

For me, it also struck such a note with Benji's own parents being present, and that chapter starting out with "when Dad called Reggie sh*head for a year"--how families unravel over the generations!

 

It's such a twist/contrast to to larger picture of tenderness and nostalgia for summers on Sag--like flipping through a box of photos that go back through Benji's own youth, as well as his parents' and grandparents' generations.   

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CJINCA
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Re: Breathing Tips of Great American Beatboxers


libralady wrote:
I think it is "every man for himself" in this chapter.  NP and Bobby had little time for Ben when Erica and Devon were around.  They chose to spend time with the girls rather than hang out with Ben.  I think Ben knew he would be the odd man out when NP started making plans to get into the concert.  He was determined to go to that concert and took steps to make sure he got in.  He was definitely not looking out for anyone else.  NP was only looking out for himself when he left Bobby and the girls when they could not get in. 
Message Edited by libralady on 03-04-2009 04:40 PM

Ben took care of himself and his plan worked, maybe for the first/only time in the book -- so he had the satisfaction of that on top of a great concert and some Bartles & Jaymes (!).  No wonder he had such a great night!

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chris227
Posts: 111
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Re: The Concert

I also loved the part about Benji dancing in the club.  Isn't it amzaing that out of the entire book so far Benji was the most comfortable when he was completely surrounded by people he did not know?  A place where he did not care what everyone else thought about him?



detailmuse wrote:

I loved seeing Benji dancing, finally feeling comfortable.

 

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mapleann
Posts: 44
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Breathing Tips of Great American Beatboxers

 

 

I found this chapter to reflect on where one's place is within society. Are you in--or are you out? Does it matter?

 

What really was occurring was Benji acquiring independent thinking and autonomy. Benji is learning to think for himself and question misunderstandings/rumors/the lyrics of society, and to understand that he was capable of performing a freestyle dance on the great dance floor called life. He also allowed himself to indulge in the pleasures of seeking individuality--such as his love of the song "Super Freak". Being Benji, who he is, the nerd and everything that goes with it makes him a "Super Freak." The "gusts" of liberation feels great!

 

Uncle Nelson being forbidden from Uncle Gideon's home. Nelson=black sheep=**bleep**head (Reggie's name given to him by his own father)=thug (not respectable and brings down the outward appearance of the family)

 

Uncle Nelson was another lessons in free thinking. He first labels the situation as "Evil. Nothing else to call it" (p.223). He mentioned writing lyrics to the Gideon and Nelson song, but comes to the conclusion that he cannot write the lyrics to another person's song because they were not his to write. They are Nelson's and Gideon's reality. The lyric metaphor is important to understand the chapter and his coming of age. He relates the experience of misunderstanding sacroiliac for sacadiliac...oops! His misunderstanding became his reality, but it also involved Bobby owing NP $100, changing the reality of others. "Mishearing song lyrics, making your specific travesty of the words, is the right of every human being. Getting socked in the nuts, the dungeon--these were metaphors that made a lot of sense to me. Blame Society" (p.216). "As for my role in the breakup, I can only shrug over my misreading of "The Message" (p.216). He cannot write the lyrics to their breakup song, thus he shrugs.

 

Autonomy is saying to your peer group, "Now you'll have to excuse me. Can you feel it? It's about to start" (p. 222).

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fifenhorn
Posts: 36
Registered: ‎01-26-2009

Re: Breathing Tips of Great American Beatboxers

The boys were really out for themselves...they didn't care about ANYTHING except what they wanted for themselves. Which is typical of teenagers...both boys and girls. What I found hilarious is that Benji actually BOUGHT a ticket, just HOPING he might be able to slide by, and he had an "argument" all prepared in case he was called on it. And he just KNEW he wouldn't get it. In the end, he gets in with his ticket, and without a fight.

 

Uncle Gideon...that was just such a sad scene.  To be so close to what you were a part of, and to be "banished" by your father...ouch. But the sadder part was driving from place to place...reliving the memories of what was, and most likely, thinking about what could have been. I think we might all have one of these "uncles" in our lives.

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maude40
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Re: Breathing Tips of Great American Beatboxers

The part about Benjii's uncle was heartbreaking. Life's too short to have relationships broken and never to be fixed. I think Benjii was really affected by his uncle's actions. His own family is so disfunctional and there's another segment of the family having troubles. he must wonder about his future relationships. Yvonne
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jclay26
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Re: Breathing Tips of Great American Beatboxers

Benji is realizing here that things are quickly changing and that he is a bit behind. His friends ditch him at a moments notice for girls and the introduction of another car adds an additional dimension to their separation. He is still tinkering between being a kid and being a teenager and we see a few instances where he isn't real successful with the transformation. He is not only moving away from his brother, but his plans to get into the concert don't include his friends.

 

It is at the concert that he realizes that he can fit in as just one of the crowd. He is not someone important or unimportant - he is just there in this large crowd without anyone taking notice. For a teenager (and adult) it can be a relief to just be without having to feel like you need to fit in one way or another or that someone is singling you out. 

What you have to do...is trust your own story. Get the hell out of the way and let it tell itself. - Tim O'Brien; The Things They Carried