Report on Robert McCammon's "Boy's Life"

Essay by DoubleH29Junior High, 9th gradeA-, February 2006

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A bike with an eye, a ghost that drives a car, and shotgun shells that turn into snakes are just a few of the pieces that make the small, southern town of Zephyr such a magical place in Robert McCammon's novel, "Boy's Life". Readers journey through the year 1964 as they follow the life of Cory Mackenson, a twelve year old local of the town Zephyr, Alabama. Many extraordinary and abnormal incidents happen to Cory's family and friends throughout the novel. These eccentric incidents may make a person question the type of literary device McCammon uses in the novel. Magical Realism is a literary genre in which magical elements appear in an otherwise realistic setting. Boy's Life illustrates Magical Realism throughout the novel by the use of magical elements that are not questioned by the characters, incorporation of legend or folklore, and demonstrates rich sensory detail.

The characters in the novel are constantly questioning each other, but they never once question the magical events they experience.

McCammon uses this in the novel to create certain events in the book that are so magical and unrealistic that they are never questioned by anyone in the town. For example, "Wings tore through the back of his shirt as they grew through his shoulder blades...Ben's feet lifted off the earth and his wings began to take him upward"(137). The boys never question that they all sprouted wings from their backs and flew around Zephyr. Another example would be when the lonely boy Nemo threw a baseball high in the sky, "...he hurled that baseball almost straight up into the sky. I saw it go up. I saw it keep going. I saw it become a dark dot. Then the sun took it" (269). Even though the ball magically never came...