A Walk in the Woods

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Topics: Bill Bryson
AP Lang 5-16-13
A Walk in the Woods Reading Critique
Title and Author:
A Walk in the Woods, by Bill Bryson

Literary Criticism on Author (by Critic):
The general consensus of many critics on Bill Bryson’s work is that he has a very satirical, yet truthful style, which makes his writing so unique and pleasurable to read. Much of the book uses such a conversational tone that the inclusion of history and factual information doesn't disrupt the narrative structure much. “His humor manages to shine through at just the right moments. I thought there was something very honest, very human, in his sarcasm” (Jenna Baker, MST Publishing, 2011). Kirkus Review said, “…Bryson is a talented portraitist of place. He did his natural-history homework, which is to say he knows a jack-o-lantern mushroom from a hellbender salamander from a purple warty back mussel, and can also write seriously about the devastation of chestnut blight” (2004). Almost every review of this novel shows Bryson’s incredible duality of sarcasm and truth within the book. The humor he uses is a very bright sarcasm that includes with circumstantial evidence and intelligence.

Method of Development:
Because this book is an autobiography, the characters were all completely real and developed from Bill Bryson’s memories of the actual events that occurred in his story. As Bryson’s trek progresses, so does his sense of self. Bryson is transformed from a soft middle-ager to a serious hiker. Along the long Appalachian Trail that stretches from Georgia to Maine, Bill Bryson encounters several people (characters) along the way. An old school-friend of Bryson’s, Stephen Katz, joins Bryson for the trip. An out-of-shape and abrasive companion, Katz is also known for traveling with the author through Europe when they were in their early 20s, as documented in Bryson’s earlier book, Neither Here Nor There. Although Katz complains constantly and is often insufferable on the trail, his

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