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Hello everybody. This page is actually the main part of an Narrative Essay paper I just made for a college English course assignment. I think it is technically for a midterm type grade. The assignment was to write a narrative essay about a particular person or event that meant/means a lot to you. We were supposed to recount how/who we were before, during, and after coming in contact with the person or event. I believe Brian Jacques and the Redwall series have had an important impact on my life, and here's why.
An Author and His Books
- It started several years back, around the year 2006. Our family lived in
Jacksonville, North Carolina, at the time. My older brothers were into this book series
called Redwall that a few other families attending our church were also interested in.
These books told tales of brave and heroic animals such as mice, fighting for peace and
freedom against evil, cruelty, and tyranny. These tales revolved around an old sandstone
fortress called Redwall Abbey—a place of safety for those in need of a shelter. Redwall,
a haven of peace surrounded by the vastness of Mossflower woods; an envied dream to many
defeated warlords. It might sound childish, but my brothers loved it, and because I
wanted to do what they did, I tried to like this Redwall series.
- I can remember getting on our family desktop computer with my older brothers and
ordering the cheap, used, 1¢ Redwall books from Amazon with the help of our mom. (Tax on
the books was usually $3.99.) Afterward came the days of great excitement where my
brothers and I would do our homework at one of our house’s front windows. We each wanted
to be the first one to spot the mailman, delivering us our sacred packages. I’m sure I
always ended up getting mine last. It always seemed that way to me. I was only a kid
then, and though I wanted to read these books badly, I know now that I wasn’t ready for
them. I recall a certain incident which marred my initial experience with reading
Redwall books—an event that happened after I got one of my anxiously-awaited orders
which contained the third book in the series, Martin the Warrior. I read the book
speedily, and when I came toward the end I was surprised by the unexpected death of a
certain character that I’d grown very fond of over the course of my reading. I was about
nine years old at the time, and I remember that it brought me to tears. The worst of it;
is that I mixed that book’s plot with the plot of another Redwall book. I was angered
and confused by these books that I couldn’t understand and hadn’t quite finished. On my
shelf they stayed, and they began to collect dust.
- Now let’s go a couple years into the future. Our family lives in Norfolk, Virginia.
My older brothers have long since lost interest in this book series, and I have taken
their place and surpassed them with interest in the books. My love for the Redwall
series re-ignited as I stumbled across a fan-based, Redwall community website and really
started listening to all the audiobooks in the series. Redwall audiobooks were narrated
with lifelike realism by Brian Jacques and a full cast of voice actors. Audiobooks I
would put on my iPod and listen to as I did homework, chores, or drawing. I found new
friends who also happened to like this series, I made a few Redwall fan poems and tried
to draw characters from the Redwall world. All my brothers’ Redwall books became mine,
and my collection started to grow. Less and less I cared about the individual plot of
each book, thinking of them as a twenty-one member family, with the author, Brian
Jacques, as the patriarchal father.
- Jacques (pronounced “Jakes”) was born in 1939, and since I became a fan of his books
he’s been very important to me. Part of why I like these books and their author so much;
is the great sense of wonder, familiarization, and memory which many of his books
conjure up with their verbally illustrated and well described scenes. Scenes depicting
great feasts with marvelous selections of food from antiquity; scenes describing
autumnal evenings in the forest, with the wind howling around trees, scantily clothed in
leaves, and the pale moon shining bright above the pelting rain; and scenes of summer
afternoons in the water meadow, with rough-made log-boats floating lazily around water
lilies while butterflies and dragonflies flitted among reeds and bulrushes. Pictures
that stay in my memory, and which give me a reminiscent feeling when they are recalled
by beautiful changes in weather or Jacques’s well-narrated audiobooks.
- I realize now that what I am trying to get at may be called the “magic” of Jacques’s
Redwall world. A feeling for those who read or listened to these books as a kid, and
grew up to remember just how much they liked them. It was a feeling that I got from the
books. I am no longer crazy about them, but I still have a passion for their essence,
what they stand for, and their world. Here is a taste of how Brian Jacques communicates
through writing and also through speaking. The following is an excerpt from the
introduction in his first book, Redwall, though I doubt that this alone can do him
justice in describing his character and personality.
- “Years are rarely referred to in my books; instead, seasons mark the passage of time. So, it is forty seasons, and more, since I commenced to write of Redwall, the enchanted world I discovered. What an enormous privilege it has been to share my brain child with readers worldwide! I am certain that in the hearts and minds of all my readers, no matter how young or how old, they consider it, as I do, a flowing, timeless saga- from Mossflower’s green acres, with its ancient abbey standing fast on the dusty path of the woodland fringe, to Salamandastron, mountain sentinel of the seas on the far western shores.”- (Jacques 3).
- I won’t go into details about this, or how well I think he speaks and writes, but
with his homely, old, British character, what isn’t there to like about this man? His
best-selling series was written to share with the audience, by a man whose penmanship I
look up to, and whose creativity I admire. A man who has been an inspiration to me
through writing and has inspired me to levels of drawing I would otherwise never have
hoped to achieve. I wasn’t sure before, but now I know he is what inspired me to draw.
- On February 5th, 2011, Brian Jacques died without my ever having met him. Never was
he more important to me; than after he had passed away. I hadn’t realized what I was
missing until after I’d missed it. Before, the books were just books. Now, they’re
legends; the expressions of an old man who’d passed away. A man who spent his writing
hours imagining, interpreting the world of his inner child. I don’t miss him as much
now, for I know that part of him remains in his books and their legacy he left behind
- “Aha! Today I shall become an author! And I will auth and auth and auth and make a squillion dollars, whoopee!”- Brian Jacques
- “In our imaginations we can go anywhere. Travel with me to Redwall in Mossflower country.”- Brian Jacques
- Jacques's quote from Redwall is from page 3. Philomel Books. First American Trade Paperback Edition, 2000.