Miles Pruitt was brought up in Staggerford, Minnesota. He attended school there, and he is now an English teacher in the school. This in his lifetime represents a life of lunches in the dining hall, a life span of writing or approving arguments, a lifetime of friendships, and days of solid permanence. This book represents one week in Miles's life at Staggerford; this life is a sheer representation of the life activities that people face in the small town. Their lives are full of disturbances and conflicts that, at the end, create a climax of violence in the book. According to Mrs. Fremling, she could clearly remember at least seventy-five names of people who had tried to treat her husband of his drinking and his dangerous driving. These included names of highway patrolmen, psychiatric consultants, neighbors, businessmen, prison officers, and members of the clergy of three Lutheran houses of worship, all to no avail.
Jon Hassler has a writing skill that is characterized as ordinary, graceful and one filled with tragic irony. The irony in this book is always set against everyone’s awareness of absurdity and the hilarity of the wrongly chosen reaction to life's eventualities.
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In this town, most people are considered ordinary citizens, this has clearly been depicted in Hassler’s book. Despite the elaboration of people living in the town being ironically represented in the book, they are full of love and understanding. A true example of this can be seen in Pruitt's landlady, Agatha McGee, who, after years of teaching Staggerford's children, has developed a belief in the looming come back of the Dark Ages, and she expects her personal code of conduct to rise to any occasion. Looking at other people, one cannot forget to mention Superintendent Stevenson, a man that is swallowed by his better judgment. He believed when it was explained to him that he was an Indian specialist who has lived to be unhappy about his youthful hubris. Coach Gibbon rides his private relaxation pony, while fighting hard to come up with a winning team from of Staggerford's people. His wife, Stella, larks about tedious work in a local dentist office. Imogene Kite, the tightfisted librarian, is depicted as having a relationship with Miles; Thanatopsis Workman, whom Miles admires from a distance; Beverly, the bone woman's daughter who, through Miles, is in search of a good life. These are some of the notable characters inhabiting Staggerford. These characters are ordinary citizens; however, Hassler depicts them with a lot of humor which, in turn, makes the book one of the most hilarious books in his name. The events that are around the people in the small town are turned ironically to fit a comedy. This is a masterpiece as the book is exceptionally moving and fascinating to read at any time.
As stated earlier, the book details Pruitt’s life for one week; however, it is this one week that changes many peoples’ lives. Despite the life in the small town being satirized and depicted to be full of drama, people struggle through ups and down to make it in life. Hassler in this book displays a talent by forming characters that stick to the reader’s mind, and he writes about the characters with immense warmth. He also shows his understanding of life in a little town, the community feeling, the test of being diverse, and the beats of daily life. Emotional and amusing feelings the reader gets from the novel tenderly mock academic situations and the problems of American small town existence while feeling sorry for the outstanding efforts and triumphs of an extensive diversity of "ordinary" citizens.
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