Killing Mr. Griffin Choice Book-Brandon Roe

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Audience: 16+

Summary:

Mr. Griffin is a harsh, strict literature teacher who is not one to suffer fools, especially a select group of popular kids who think they can do whatever they want. When these students decide they have had enough of Mr. Griffin’s attitude, they devise a plan to humiliate him and teach him a lesson of their own. They recruit Susan McConnell, a lonely outsider, to help them lure Mr. Griffin into their trap. However, when the plan goes horribly wrong, nobody is safe.

Read Aloud:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEXvzpuAh6o

Themes

Peer Pressure is a major theme in this story as it is what really drives Susan to join up with the others in their plan against Mr. Griffin. They all follow Mark, the leader, without question. Then when tragedy strikes, they all follow each others lead and cover it up completely.

Identity is a theme in here that I found very interesting. An example of this would be Mr. Griffin. At school he is very strict, not very likable, and has zero patience for his students. However, at home he is a loving and attentive husband. Then there is Mark. He seems to be a leader and quite likable but as the story goes on we see the ugly side of him and realize who and what he really is.

Connections

We’ve all experienced peer pressure in our lives. Maybe in high school or even in college. It causes us to do things we would not normally do and we always end up regretting it. While hopefully none of us have experienced peer pressure to this extent, we all can at least have a bit of understanding for these people.

Reception

I really liked this book. I even watched the made for TV movie based for it. While there were changes it was still good. I have read one or two other works of Lois Duncan and I really like her writing. Her stories are never dull, especially here.

Review

“Parents need to know that this book examines what harm can happen when kids submit to peer pressure. They commit a crime and suffer the consequences. The book builds psychologically and kids will feel increasingly challenged as the action spins out of control. This is a powerful look at the rule of the mob and the importance (and difficulty) of following your own inner sense of right and wrong.”

The people at Commons Media really liked “Killing Mr. Griffin.”

http://www.commonsensemedia.org/book-reviews/killing-mr-griffin

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About brandonroe27

I'm a junior and English Major at WIU.
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2 Responses to Killing Mr. Griffin Choice Book-Brandon Roe

  1. Brandon, I want a bit more information in your blog. Spend more time on the themes and discuss them more. Also, how does mental illness play out in the book? Do you think that could be a theme? How does the novel present a different image of teachers than students may normally think about, especially in high school?

    • brandonroe27 says:

      The theme of identity is one the I found the most interesting. Yes, peer pressure is a very important and major theme as it is what drives the plot, but the theme of identity is very rich here. When you see Mr. Griffin in class he is very domineering, strict, and not the least bit laid back. He demands his students give their best every second they are in there. While this is noble and important, I feel he puts too much pressure on them which causes them to feel anger and resentment towards him and his methods. Then when he is at home he is a loving and attentive husband. A polar opposite really. As far as the mental illness goes, I didn’t really see it until the end when it was explained. Looking back I realized it a bit more and saw some subtle hints but it could be argued that in a desperate situation, people do what is necessary to keep a secret from ever seeing the light of day. While it is not clearly stated until the end, looking back you understand that it played a major factor throughout therefore it is an important theme. Seeing the different side of Mr. Griffin, it makes you wonder what some teachers might be like at home and if all of them have sides to them that us students may never see.

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