About the Book
The Snow Goose is told very simply, very purely, like a folk-tale, but its meaning and echoes of meaning are deep indeed. The story was published in 1941 and won the O’Henry Award for short fiction. It tells the story of Rhayader, an outsider largely on account of his appearance, and Fritha, a young girl who one day brings a wounded snow goose to the older man’s lighthouse. Rhayader brings the goose back to health as the relationship between him and Fritha grows. One day, he decides to sail to Dunkirk, accompanied by the flying goose. He manages the heroic effort to save as many soldiers from the beaches as he can but in doing so is killed. The goose returns to Fritha, now a young woman, who has already worked out what must have happened; finally, she realises how much she loved Rhayader. The lighthouse is destroyed in a German attack.
Reasons for Selection
Simply written, this novella, published in 1941, provides an insight into the historical and cultural context at the time it was written. The writing is evocative, providing a vivid sense of place. Dialogue is sparse, and a lot passes between the characters that is left unsaid. This leaves readers to infer thoughts, feelings and motivations from the character’s actions. On one level the story is about a man and young girl rescuing a goose and nurturing it back to health, but the secondary narrative about the Dunkirk rescue offers the opportunity for a deeper response through the connections and parallels it makes with the primary narrative.
About Take One Book: The books in the Take One Book collection can be used in conjunction with the Take One Book website, or independently. Take One Book is Just Imagine’s programme for teaching reading and English using high quality literature. You can find further information and free exemplar units on the Take One Book website takeonebook.org
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