Sunday, December 19, 2010

Have a Little Faith

Have a Little Faith, a nonfiction story by Mitch Albom, starts with an eighty-two-year-old rabbi from Albom’s old hometown asks him to deliver his eulogy. Feeling unworthy, he insists on understanding his rabbi better, which throws him back into a world of faith he’d left years ago. Meanwhile, he starts the story of Henry, a poor black Christian kid growing up in Detroit. Mitch continually visits his rabbi, Albert Lewis (also known as "The Reb"), and starts to learn more about his as a man. Meanwhile he discusses Henry's life growing up, and him getting involved with drugs and organized crime. Mitch learns how the Reb accepts other people and religions for what they are. Henry goes to jail, gets married, and gets addicted to his own drug. Late one night, Henry barely avoids death. He starts worshipping God, and starts his own parish in a broken down church. He helps homeless and poor, just like himself. Now Mitch meets him for the first time. He is skeptical of him at first, but later helps them get food and heating. Mitch continues to visit the Reb, who dies. The story ends with Mitch's eulogy, and the message that faith can overcome great obstacles.
1.Have a Little Faith talks about many faiths coinciding. How can many faiths coexist? If different faiths have different beliefs, can they all be correct?
2.When Mitch asks this of the Reb, he explains that just as there are a variety of trees, multiple faiths all come from the same God (page 160). What do you think about the Reb’s explanation? Can dialogue and debate about different beliefs, as the Reb argues, really enrich one’s own faith?

The Rescue by Nicholas Sparks

At the beginning of the story, Denise, the main character, was driving along the highway on the way back from a doctor's appointment for Kyle, her son. There was a major storm just trailing behind them. It was like a race on the highway just trying to keep ahead of it. As it was raining, a deer came across the highway. Denise tried to stop but her car slid off the road. She knocked her head on the steering wheel and became unconscious. Her son aware that they were in trouble got out of the car and headed into the woods on the edge of the highway.
Taylor, a volunteer firefighter, saw the accident and was on the sight within minutes. After Denise woke up, he became aware that her son Kyle was missing. There was extra help within minutes. They immediately began looking in the woods because that was the only shelter nearby. Denise had warned them Kyle would not respond to anything they called because he had speaking disabilities which is why they were at the doctors earlier that day. She also said Kyle hated storms. It was completely dark in the woods and flashlight would only allow a person to see a few feet.
At the end of the search, it was Taylor that found Kyle because of his pure instinct and ability to think like a child that hated storms and wasn't afraid. Kyle was near a duck structure that would provide him shelter and a way to escape the wind. He was transported to the hospital with Taylor because that is where his mother was sent because of her injuries.
As the story progresses Taylor and Denise develop a relationship. Taylor's friends pray she will be the one and she won't end up like Taylor's past girlfriends. Taylor begins pushing Denise away. He tends to help women in need without realizing it and once his help his done he leaves. He does this because he lost his father to a fire when he was little boy and he blames himself. It takes his best friend's death for him to realize what he was doing and how much he really loves Denise.

1. Why do you think Taylor's father's death affected him so much that it affected his life in such a big way?

2. I mentioned Kyle had a learning disability, how do you think he was treated by other parents and kids in the story?