Download e-book Summary & Study Guide The Great Santini by Pat Conroy

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So his father's fierce drive for a successful son is concentrated on him, and nothing less than perfection is considered acceptable — a perfection of which Bull is the sole judge. Ben must learn that, in a game, sportsmanship should go by the board when necessary; what matters is winning, regardless of the means. This is the story of a boy's determination to be himself, whatever that may be. It is violent, shocking, funny, moving, and overwhelmingly real. From the early pages, with Bull's wife and children waiting at the airport to welcome The Great Santini back into their midst, to the bittersweet ending, the reader's interest and emotions are fixed upon the fluctuating fortunes of the Meecham family.

From the publisher. Site by BOOM. Pat Conroy is an amazing writer. The Houston Chronicle is quoted on the back of my book as saying "Reading Pat Conroy is like watching Michelangelo paint the Sistine Chapel," and I don't think I could articulate the experience any better. I laughed until tears ran down my face and in the same chapter I cried for the sheer pain the characters experienced. The Great Santini is Bull Meecham. And throughout the novel I felt the same overwhelming conflict that his children did - an intense hatred coupled with admiration and love.

This wouldn't have been possible for me without the amazing character craftmanship that Conroy displays. All of the characters have so many layers, so many dimensions - exactly like real human beings. And his depiction of the South - amazing. He illustrates the town with the use of a small cafe and the men who frequent it every morning, with a school and the various types of students and teachers inside, with a Marine base and the constant competition present there.

His theme comes through in events, converstations, metaphors. And the reader experiences the theme - the theme of confusion. We're trained and conditioned to think, act, believe a certain way, but so often life and nature complicate that "way. Jul 14, Annie Myers rated it it was ok. Of all the Conroys I've read so far, this is my least favorite. The book jacket describes Bull Meacham as someone you should hate but will wind up loving, anyway - but that was not my experience.

I found very little loveable about "The Great Santini". The thing that amazed me was how brave his family was on those occasions when they stood up to him. While I don't doubt he loved his family, and maybe was even proud of them in a way, he was domineering and controlling and sometimes downright cruel Of all the Conroys I've read so far, this is my least favorite. While I don't doubt he loved his family, and maybe was even proud of them in a way, he was domineering and controlling and sometimes downright cruel in his dealings with them. Santini is the late Pat Conroy's first novel and he always claimed that it is largely autobiographical.

Don Conroy, the original Great Santini. This nickname even appears on his military gravestone at the National Cemetery in Beaufort, South Carolina. The experience was a bit confusing but overall it was fascinating. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. Don't miss this one. View 1 comment. It's not easy to be a marine family, but it is especially difficult to be the family of Bull Meechum, the self-proclaimed Great Santini.

The Great Santini by Pat Conroy

This is really the coming-of-age story o "They love their families with their hearts and souls and they wage war against them to prove it. This is really the coming-of-age story of Ben Meechum, eldest son or should I just call him 'dependent' to Bull, but with the indelible Lt. How could it not? The entire family lives in fear of the ferocity of their patriarch - he casts an ominously large shadow, but he is also incredibly complex.


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His love is just as ferocious as his anger, however. He is eighteen today. He has just ordered his first drink. Before he drinks it, I'd like to wish him a long life, a wife as fine as his mother, and a son as fine as he's been. To my son! Bull wanted to pass on the gift of fury to his oldest son, a passion to inflict defeat on others, even humiliation. There are just winners, losers, and those that got their asses fried sunny side up.

The plot seems to hop and skip in concentric circles toward the explosive events that shape lives. This is a frustratingly human story filled with the ugly, the beautiful, and the just plain stupid, but always keeping a certain sense of humor and hope about it. You've also met a real dumb ass. This is also something that unites the family, the cutting, disparaging and even threatening repartee. It is entertaining, but at times also annoying and hurtful oh family. Things can seem bad under their roof, they can seem out right desperate, they could always be worse and they can also take sudden leaps to heights of gentle loveliness - they will always be Meechums.

This is the story of a complicated father-son relationship and also about the type of person you wish to be.

By the end of this book I was a little tired of the ride though, if only I had consumed this story a little faster, then perhaps the luster would not have worn off of this particular brass-balled Bull. Jun 06, Stephen rated it liked it Shelves: and-saw-the-movie , books-read-in I enjoyed this unevenly crafted coming of age tale of growing up in the south in the 60's. On one level this is an examination of one family's struggle to love a "hard to love" father who never learned to show the love he so obviously had for his children.

On another level, I think that this book is just Pat Conroy 's way of making some money off the therapy work he so obviously needed. In the early chapters its made clear why this maverick fighter pilot is hated but as the story continues, and d I enjoyed this unevenly crafted coming of age tale of growing up in the south in the 60's. In the early chapters its made clear why this maverick fighter pilot is hated but as the story continues, and despite the man's unchanging nature, the reader's perception changes; until, by the end, you do understand the love his children bear him.

It might be Stockholm syndrome, it might be genetics and the biological imperative, it might just be conforming to outsiders expectations. Whatever it is, the book is a continually interesting read that gives a portait of a period in time that is now gone and a type of individual that is rare today. Fighter pilots, like surgeons are professional that require a different than normal mind-set in order to be excellent at what they do. Their different style of thinking is something that most others will never be comfortable with but when the chips are down, these are people that we need.

The real tragedy in the Bull Meecham story, apart from the damage that this type of personality has on his family, is that Bull never really saw much combat in later life.


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He was a rare type of individual that sacrificed much to become what he was at a time when he was never called upon to fully BE what he became. In my opening I mentioned that this book was unevenly crafted. How else can one explain the usage of such words as: obstreperously noisy, clamorous, or boisterous , cuglion stupid, cattle headed fellow , grizzle-demundy stupid person - always grinning , slubberdegullion a slobbering or dirty fellow, a worthless sloven and the somewhat overobvious, somewhat uninspired sentence "Ben Meechum awoke fully awake. Jan 07, Bob Mayer rated it really liked it.

I saw the movie before I read the book. Pat Conroy is the master of the low country when it comes to fiction.

In this Book

Like his character in this book, he moved there as a Marine Corps brat and his father was stationed at Marine Air Station Beaufort. I lived on Hilton Head, on the Intracoastal for several years and the ferry to Dafuskie Island passed by every day and I could see the island to the south along the water. Spoiler alert: While Conroy is a great writer when Jimmy Buffet sets your words to music, duh , his tales are larger than life while representing his own life. I'll discuss his other books I've read in the different posts, but in this case, it seems the only way to resolve the issue of an abusive father is for him to nobly sacrifice himself and the young man take on the mantle of father of the family.

This isn't at all what happened in real life-- that's been dealt with in Conroy's latest release, Death of Santini. Overall, a great read. If you've never been to the Low Country, this book will make you feel it. In fact, it made me shift my Green Beret series to the area because there is a bit of a lawless feel about the area. The only law on Hilton Head was the Beaufort Sheriff which is quite a ways away.

A great tale of a young man's introduction to adulthood, whether by getting drunk in the O'Club yes, there was a time officers were encouraged to get drunk and in fights in the O'Club before everything became politically correct-- we want you to kill the enemy, but don't cause a ruckus! Highly recommended! Nov 26, Kathleen rated it really liked it. Pat Conroy was one of America's most acclaimed and widely read authors and the New York Times-bestselling writer of eleven novels and memoirs. Although a fictional novel, Pat Conroy's writing was heavily influenced by his personal life experiences.

This is an intense, dramatic, passionate and sometimes humorous read. It was made into a major film. View 2 comments. Nov 20, Steven Walle rated it really liked it. I enjoyed this book. More on it later. Apr 24, Marguerite rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Brats.

Shelves: read-over-and-over. I saw the movie before I read the book, and it was the first time I saw my experiences as a military brat played out in a work of fiction. I recognized the shifting family dynamics and the insistence on appearances to the exclusion of all else. I experienced the warrior culture, the comradeship of a family in opposition to the world every time we transfered, too, and moves from one alien environment to another. My dad was no Bull Meecham, but he was a piece of work. Conroy helps me remember. Secondly, this is my second time reading the Great Santini.

I read my favorite books again and again. That being said, this is a coming of age novel of Ben Meechum and his senior year in high school in Ravenel, SC.

The Death of Santini: The Story of a Father and His Son

Ravenel is a small southern coastal town near Charleston, S. Throughout his life Ben was under the influence of a heavy handed father, USMC fighter pilot Bull Meechum, and his mother Lillian, the opposite to his tyrant father, who taught Ben to be gentle, caring for the less fortunate and a thirst for the world of literature. Highly recommended. View all 9 comments. Just ask his family or any of the men serving under him.

She is the buffer between Bull and their children.


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But as their first-born, Ben, moves toward high school graduation, he is increasingly at odds with his father. No matter how he excels — at sports or academics — it is never good enough to please the Colonel. I really disliked Bull and yet I really liked the novel. Conroy completely drew me into this dysfunctional family and their complicated relationships. As much as I disliked Bull, I grew to love Ben. He is a sensitive boy, growing to manhood, and he is able to glean the good lessons from his father — loyalty to your family and friends, championing the weak, hard work and never giving up — and recognize the poor example as well, vowing to never be like his father in those ways.

The person I was most infuriated with was Lillian. Her blind devotion to the man she married — or the man she hoped he was — drove me crazy.

The Great Santini (1979)

I have had Pat Conroy on my reading radar for a long time, but never read any of his novels before this. Dec 27, Farnoosh Brock rated it it was amazing Shelves: fiction. Pure poetry. I am stunned by the author's powers of description. They say a good writer can describe anything - the most boring, innate object that you are most disinterested in and there were a few of those in this book - and captivate and mesmerize you. Well, Pat Conroy talked about subjects I didn't have a care in. No offense to Mr.

It was a culture shock on so many levels that it has left a pe Pure poetry. It was a culture shock on so many levels that it has left a permanent mark, and I swear if I never see the entire state of SC again, I wouldn't miss a thing. So it was a double shock that I would be so captivated by this book. The mesmerizing descriptions of the deep south, the Meecham family and the character of Bull Meecham, and his wife, Lilian Meecham, their lives in transit, sex ed by Catholic nuns, Ben on the basketball court, the life of a marines office and the general world of a fighter pilot and his family as they go through the motions of a military life, it was all too good to put down.

I mostly listened to this on audio but also read the book. The narration was powerful, and as one of the first fiction books I've listened to on audio, it kept me entertained to the very end. Also, a fun fact, I knew when the climax was happening, I guessed it, I felt it and I knew that's where the author is headed, and instead of being disappointed, I was happy to be in sync with the story teller.

I read Prince of Tides when I was a teenager, and it left an indelible impression even then. Pat Conroy can describe anything and it comes out as perfectly orchestrated as a symphony. I am so very glad I picked up the Great Santini and well, you may be too. Jan 25, Lawrence G. Miller rated it really liked it. Pat Conroy is a master story teller and one of the best descriptive authors around. File Type. Product Description. This test is designed for high school students who have learned some close reading skills, and it avoids questions that can be answered easily from SparkNotes and other literature summary sites.

I used this test and others like it to quiz students on their summer reading and extra-credit reading. Answer sheet for students and answer key are provided. If you like this test, please note that I have several others available and will be adding new ones on an ongoing basis. Please note: this test covers a contemporary novel that may deal with some adult themes or include adult language. I used these tests in 10thth grade classes at a relatively liberal school. Before assigning this text, please make sure it is appropriate for your student population.