Book Report: "Impact Zone"

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade October 2001

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Plot Summary

Jim Nichols is living with his mom and stepfather, Larry. Jim began the novel living with his mother and stepfather. He really disliked Larry and he wanted to get away from it all. Jim, displeased with his current environment, decided to run away from his problem(Larry).

He ran away from California to live with his dad in Hawaii. His father not knowing of it, Jim shows up. His dad was actually surprised but welcomed him with open arms. When with his father Jim lived right on the beach. The ocean waves splashing were in view when looking out the window. Outside is the pipeline, the biggest and terrifying surf in the world. Jim is faced with the decision of riding the wave. Overcoming this feat will win Jim his ever so longed independence. ConflictsThere were lots of conflicts in this novel. This story is filled with all types of conflicts.

The three that I am going to touch on are: Person vs. Person, Person vs. Self, and Person vs. Nature. The first is Person vs. Person. The main person vs. person conflict would be between Jim and his stepfather, Larry. Jim and Larry have none of the same interest at all. Throughout the whole story Jim never gets along with Larry. Jim had several encounters with Larry and this is what made him angry enough to run away. Larry took away Jim's vacation, which was the last straw. Jim stole money from Larry and ran to Hawaii.Secondly I would think Person vs. Self is the next major conflict. Jim is continuously in a scuffle with himself. His encounters with himself throw around lots of feelings within himself. Jim's main trouble within himself would be overcoming fears. He gained courage and overcame his fear of running away. He fought with himself to take the money without guilt. The whole way to the airport Jim was also trying to decide whether to turn back or not.The last one I am to talk about is Person vs. Nature. This doesn't appear until closer to the end of the story though. When Jim reaches Hawaii he has troubles with nature. The first few days he had to overcome the heat for a few days without shelter until he found his dad. After he had found his dad though he had the pipeline. He wanted to decide whether to ride it or not. Riding the pipeline would let Jim show his courage. This would show to other people that he is not a wimp. This also would prove to his family that he is independent. This would let them know that he could actually make his own decisions and does not always need them there for him.CharactersI have chosen three characters to talk about. I am going to explain Jim, the main character, Larry, his stepfather, and Jasmine, Jim's first "love". These three got me interested early on for some reason or another.Jasmine is obviously a girl. She, to tell the truth, is a little simple minded. Jasmine is either dumb, not trying to learn, or actually is a slow learner. Jasmine writes Jim letters several times and he reads them to us, the reader. Jasmine in her letters spell simple words wrongly. She is the first girl Jim fell for in the novel. Jim went into great detail about what he did when he lost his virginity to her.

Larry is Jim's stepfather. He is a stubborn man who thinks he is always right. Larry is a short man who is overweight who doesn't do anything but play around on his computer. When he isn't at work he plays on his computer and at his job he works with computers as well. Larry is the one person who Jim has the most troubles with. Jim wants more attention from his mom but Larry doesn't seem to allow his mom to do that. Larry is the real reason Jim ran away because he didn't allow him to go on a vacation.

Jim is the main character in the novel. The whole story revolves around Jim. The story is told as if Jim were talking to us himself. He is the narrator for his story. Jim is 15 years old, and he is dealing with adolescence. He is filled with mixed feelings and hormones. Jim hates his stepfather and misses his father. Jim runs away to be with his dad and that is where the novel ending takes place.

Themes One theme in this novel is "loss of innocence". As tough as Jim's life was it was good. He had a good life, he had disputes with his stepfather but he couldn't have had it much better. When with his Mother and Larry they babied him. They provided him with all of his needs and most of his wants. They were also always there for him in case of emergencies. Jim just saw the bad things and then he ran away. Jim obviously thought he had it bad but it was the best he could get it. The first day he got to Hawaii he got mugged. That is "loss of innocence" if I ever saw it! Jim went from being pampered by his parents to thinking he was invulnerable to having no power or control of his life at all.

SettingThe story takes place on the western coast of the United States. Jim begins by living in Ventura CA and he ran away and lived with his dad in Hawaii. This all takes place back in the 1980s. This is actually important because it was in the 80s when this type of thing was newer and extremely popular. Also where else would you go to go surfing other than the ocean. Of course it needs to be a warm climate. Hawaii is also known for its amazing surf so this would be an ideal region to have a story with surfing take place.My OpinionThe novel, "The Impact Zone", was a very interesting story. It had an interesting plot including realistic situations that a teenager at 15 would be feeling. The story was filled with excitement and suspense, which would make you to keep reading. You wouldn't want to put the book down. The part I liked the most was when Jim stood up to Larry. Larry was yelling and made a comment to which Jim was not pleased. Larry said something about Jim's mother, which angered him and caused him to stand up to Larry. This showed that Jim had courage and had family values. When Jim rode his bike through the rockslide I wasn't very impressed. This was the part I liked the least because it was not all that realistic. Jim rode through a rockslide and a rock, which was about 8-10lbs, hit his bike and he kept riding through. He continued until he reached the airport. Not too impressed by that bit. That was only a minor problem though. It didn't take away from my over all view. I thought this was a great story and I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a good novel to read.ValuesSome of the values shown were family values, the value of Independence and also love. Jim really has a lot of love to give. He loves his parents but cant chose between one of them. His stepfather helps make his choice a little easier though. Jims dislike of his stepfather made it easy to decide to go live with his father. These happenings helped show Jims values for family and love. But the actual motion of running away helped him learn a lesson about independence. Jim took several days to actually get to his dad's house after running away. He learned how to be independent during this time and then he also won his freedom and independence by riding the pipeline. This showed to his parents and himself that he was capable and he does not always need someone there, looking over his shoulder.

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