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The Island Gary Paulsen Essay

Fifteen-year-old Wil must move with his parents to a small rural town in Northern Wisconsin when his father transfers to a new job.
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Keeping mostly to himeself, Wil discovers a small lake while bicycling on the back roads near his home. There he finds an abandoned minnow boat that he rows to an island in the middle of the lake.

On the island, Wil discovers the wonders of nature and sits mesmerized by the different island inhabitants: cranes, turtles, frogs and fish. He is drawn to the island and decides that he wants to stay on the island until he learns everything the island has to teach him.

He begins camping on the island, despite his parents protests, and is visited at first only by Susan, another fifteen-year-old who has befriended Wil and helps him with his dream.

Along the way in this coming of age story, Wil is visited by his parents, the town bully, a reporter and eventually even the television media bent on telling his story.

Chapter Analysis of The Island

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   thoughtful Time/era of story    -   2000+ (Present Day) Kids growing up/acting up?    -   YesIs this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Age group of kid(s) in story:    -   high school

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   student Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White (American)


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   8 () Island?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Amount of dialog    -   significantly more descript than dialog

Books with storylines, themes & endings like The Island

Gary Paulsen BooksNote: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).

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The Island by Gary Paulsen



    The book I read was The Island by Gary Paulsen. It is about a 15 year

old boy named Wil Neuton who moves with his family to northern Wisconsin.

There he finds an island on Sucker Lake where he stays to learn about



    Wil likes riding his bike early in the morning. He also likes watching

nature. He is very tall for his age-6 feet 2-but well-built and strong. He

is honest,cares about others and prefers to talk things  through than

resort to violence.


    The title is good because the book is very much about the island and

about Wil finding himself on this island. The island also becomes a very

prominent point in Wil's life. By comparison and observation, he learns

that all things are connected.


    An interesting minor character is Emil Aucht. On the morning of his

first day in Pinewood Wil wakes up to find Emil staring at him through the

window. Emil is an old man with one tooth, no hair and ears that stick out.

He chews tobacco and spits brown gunk all over the place. He first appears

in the story to request that Wil help him get his car out of the mud. Then

Emil reappears to fix the plumbing,wrecking Wil's parents' nerves in the



    The atmosphere in the story is that of a small hick town in northern

Wisconsin:open,friendly,relaxed and very laid-back. It strikes me as being

very much like "cottage country" in northern

Ontario:lakes,forest,fishing,small town life. The time is the late 1980's.


    The novel ends with Wil seeing that his father is watching him from

shore. Wil rows over and finds that his father is tired and sad,his eyes

rimmed with red from crying. Wil invites his father over to the island and

realizes that this saga will only end when Wil finds an island big enough

for his whole family so they can learn what he has learned.


    I feel that the most interesting part of the book is the beginning of

each chapter where there is a paragraph by Wil himself about life and other

important pieces of trivia. It offers insight into Wil's personality and

gives his views on many subjects.


    In conclusion,I think this is a good book for people my age. It

stresses the importance of knowing who you are and of saving the

environment. I enjoyed it and it really made me think.

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