My Favourite Writer

Cudzie jazyky » Angličtina

Autor: Chlapec studak
Typ práce: Referát
Dátum: 06.02.2014
Jazyk: Angličtina
Rozsah: 2 672 slov
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Praktické!

My Favourite Writer
 
1. Introduction
I have chosen to write about my favourite writer mainly because I think that young people novadays don’t pay enough attention to books and great fun which reading can provide. Reading books strenghtens readers imagination an allows them to look at the world from brighter, funnier side but they too can become more compassionate people. It also improves person’s diction and helps them to communicate better. Ken Follett wasn’t my first choice but then I realised that The Pillars of the Earth had pulled me into the story so much that I had read almost 1000 pages long english book in only abou a week. And the fact that Pillars were filmed had also given this book that much merit.
 
2. Ken Follett
Ken Follett was born in Cardiff, Wales, on the 5th of June, 1949. His father was a tax inspector, and as Follet  himself said “now that he has retired, he does my tax returns for me”. Like many young couples bringing up a family in post-war Britain, Martin Follett and his wife Veenie were not able to provide their children with many luxuries. From a very early age, Ken was creating imaginary worlds for himself.
 
“My mother told me stories all the time. I don't know whether I inherited it from her or just acquired it under her influence, but by the time I was seven years old I was an imaginative child.”
A few years before, while studying for his 'A' level school exams, Ken had met a young woman called Mary. They had fallen for each other and were still dating when Ken went up to university. Shortly after, Mary became pregnant. They married at the end of his first term and Ken's son Emanuele was born in July 1968 – at the height of the student troubles. Before anyone else had even read Eye of the Needle, Ken realised that it was much better than anything he had done before. He remembers sitting at the typewriter and saying to his wife, Mary, “this is absolutely terrific!”. Al Zuckerman, who had for years been telling Ken why his books would never sell in America, told him, “this is going to be a huge international bestseller, and you are going to have tax problems”.

3. The Pillars of the Earth
Prologue – 1123

Ellen, fifteen and pregnant watches the father of her child being hanged for stealing a jeweled goblet. There is an undercurrent of injustice to the event implied as Ellen beheads a rooster, spraying three men with blood—“three strangers: a knight, a monk and a priest.” She curses them “with sickness and sorrow, with hunger and pain; your house shall be consumed with fire, and your children shall die on the gallows; your enemies shall  prosper, and you shall grow old in sadness and regret, and die in foulness and agony...”
 
Part One – 1135-1136
Tom Builder loses his secure building job when Lady Aliena, daughter of the earl of Shiring, refuses to accept William Hamleigh as her husband. Tom and his family leave and wander the area looking for work for Tom. They cannot find work before winter. With the family on the verge of starvation, Tom’s wife gives birth to a son in the middle of the cold, winter forest, and in her weakened condition, dies of a hemorrhage. At first, Tom and his family abandon the baby; they will be unable to care for the little boy. But overcome by remorse, Tom returns to find his son has been taken in by the monks at Kingsbridge priory. They have named the boy Jonathan.Ellen, with her strange young son Jack, are the ones who tell Tom this news. Ellen and Tom’s family have interacted before, with a hint of attraction between Tom and Ellen. They marry within twenty-four hours of the death of Tom’s first wife.

Young Phillip, a pious man who has been in the monastic life since his parents were slaughtered when he was seven, becomes prior of Kingsbridge. Philip establishes contact with Waleran Bigod, an ambitious man not much older than Philip. Bigod will use this information by passing it to Percy Hamleigh, who is an enemy of Bartholomew because of Bartholomew’s daughter’s refusal to marry his son William. Bigod also supports Philip to become the new prior of Kingsbridge after the aging, ineffective prior of Kingsbridge dies. In exchange for Bigod’s support , Phillip makes an uneasy commitment to support him for bishop if the current presiding bishop dies. Philip then discovers that Bigod knew of the bishop’s death before making this arrangement, and Phillip realizes he was manipulated into assisting Waleran Bigod’s acquisition of the bishop’s post.
 
William and his father, Percy of Hamleigh, lead a raid against Bartholomew of Shiring. An ingenious plan catches Bartholomew by surprise and his castle is taken. As for Aliena—she is now the daughter of a traitor and is no longer good enough to marry William, according to William’s ugly, blemished mother, Regan. Tom Builder offers his services to prior Philip, but Philip turns him down because he needs to conserve finances before spending on upgrading the priory, to get the priory back on track after years of neglect. Jack figures out this is bad, even life-threatening for the family, so after deliberating and contemplating, he sets the Kingsbridge cathedral on fire, causing significant damage.Philip hires Tom Builder to do the repairs.
 
Part Two – 1136-1137
Tom Builder prepares a design for Kingsbridge Cathedral and shows it to Prior Philip. Waleran Biogod asks Prior Philip to join him in a petition to the king for the church to take over the lands of the disgraced earl of Shiring to finance the cathedral.

When Waleran Bigod and the king’s brother, also a powerful bishop, arrive to petition the king, they discover the Hamleighs are already there, seeking the earl of Shiring’s lands for themselves. The Hamleighs show Prior Philip that Waleran Bigod is using Philip to get the earl of Shiring’s lands for his own needs—he is building a castle. Philip outmaneuvers Waleran Bigod by striking a deal with the Hamleighs—they get the commercial lands and castle and the priory (not the diocese, so not Waleran Bigod) gets the forest and the right to take timber and stone from the land. Bigod is furious with Philip, and promises him he will never build his church. Aliena and Richard leave the castle for Winchester, with the seemingly absurd idea of petitioning the king to help them. They see their father in prison, a shell of his former self, clearly deteriorating, probably dying. He makes Richard swear an oath not to rest until he takes back Shiring, and makes Aliena swear to take care of Richard until he does. He directs them to where they can find some hidden funds. Aliena observes some specifics of the wool trade, and buys wool to resell it at the market at Winchester. But at the markets, they are offered an unfair price, below their cost, because they are perceived as powerless children. A monk steps in and engineers a fair price for them, then promises to buy their wool in the future. Aliena is grateful to this man who has saved them from losing their investment; the monk is revealed to be Philip, prior of Kingsbridge.

The Hamleighs try to work the quarry on the Shiring property, depriving Philip and the priory of stones for the cathedral. Philip counters with a shield of monks, surrounding the priory’s quarry workers and praying, outmaneuvering the Hamleighs’ efforts. Waleran Bigod tries to end efforts to build a cathedral at Kingsbridge by going to the bishop Henry, brother of the king, and possible appointee to the the Archbishop of Canterbury position, to convince him Kingsbridge does not have the resources to build the cathedral. The cathedral, Bigod argues, should be built in Shiring. The Hamleighs join the effort. Bishop Henry schedules a visit to assess the situation.

Part Three – 1140-1143
While William is fighting for King Stephen in the civil war against the “Empress” Maud, he is informed his father has died. The king grants him leave to return to Shiring, and also implies there is a succession issue; Richard, son of the late Bartholomew of Shiring has fought bravely for Stephen, and will apparently have a claim to Shiring as well. When William returns to Shiring, he finds the earldom’s fortunes in decline. He terrorizes the Shiring townspeople, looking to enforce his own economic advantages and collect back rents. He finds that Kingsbridge is flourishing, with a bustling market and expanded village, partly because of the prosperity of workers employed building the cathedral, which is progressing well. Aliena looks rich, and when he sees her, she glares defiantly at him. He concludes Prior Phillip and the prosperity of Kingsbridge are behind his troubles.  
 
Prior Phillip goes to meet King Stephen to try to get a license for his informal and technically illegal market, and to assert his rights to the quarry. King Stephen will not decide any issue against William with William providing so many fighting men for the battle. Philip now roots for Maud. Philip returns to Kingsbridge wondering how he will continue to finance the cathedral. He makes an arrangement with Aliena; Philip will sell next year’s wool at a reduced price, and keep this arrangement while the priory’s finances recover. They will also hold a fleece-fair in Kingsbridge, which will take funds away from the fleece-fair at Shiring, a prospect sure to enrage William Hamleigh.
Jack is developing into a brilliant young man, a talented and creative stone-carver, and a knowledgeable builder. He develops a friendship with Aliena, who is attracted to his story-telling ability and his intellect; he is one of the few in the village who can read and write. Jack is attracted to Aliena as a possible wife, but is younger than Aliena, and does not press this issue. Philip sees Jack’s talents as well, and wants him to become a monk with the Kingsbridge priory.

Alfred and Aliena work together on building a new church at Kingsbridge. Alfred is also attracted to Aliena, and asks her to marry him. She rejects him firmly, even rudely when he tries to talk her into it. Jack invents a mill-based device to felt linens, a device that will dramatically help Aliena with her wool business. Jack shows it to her, and some kissing begins between them. Aliena seems receptive at first, but when Alfred bursts into the mill, Aliena roughly pushes Jack away and maintains a coldness to him. Jack considers leaving Kingsbridge, and Ellen goes to Phillip to ask for mercy. Philip suggests that Jack become his assistant for the cathedral project, as a novice within the priory. Jack and Ellen reluctantly agree, noting that Philip seems to know how to get what he wants. The Kingsbridge Fleece Fair looks like it will be a great success. But William Hamleigh attacks the town, setting it on fire, and his men slaughter the Kingsbridge citizens and fleece fair attendees. Tom Builder is killed in the fracas. Aliena loses her entire wool inventory in the fire; Jack saves her from the fire as she tries to save her wool.
 
Part Four – 1142-1145
Prior Philip’s declaration that William Hamleigh will go to hell for the attack on Kingsbridge haunts the young, still-unconfirmed earl. He visits Waleran Bigod, who grants him absolution, but only after William promises to change his allegiance back to Stephen. Kingsbridge struggles to rebuild as they deal with the results of William’s savage attack. Alfred demonstrates competence as a builder, and prospers. He again proposes to Aliena. Aliena initially refuses, but she is now penniless, and her brother Richard needs money to continue fighting for Stephen; this is the only way to have a chance to take back their position at Shiring and keep Aliena’s and Richard’s vows to their father. Aliena reluctantly agrees to marry Alfred.

Jack finds out and  tries to leave the priory to talk to her, already confined for speaking to her alone before. He is thrown into a discipline cell where he will be kept until after the wedding. Jack escapes the cell and visits Aliena. Aliena and Jack make love. But she tells him she must marry Alfred to keep her vow to her father. Jack tells her she will be forever unhappy and leaves Kingsbridge, with his mother giving him a mare and Tom’s tools. He speaks vaguely about a pilgrimage to Spain. Aliena is sick, and lacks emotional and physical energy to handle her new role as Alfred’s wife. She discovers she is pregnant, and since she has never consummated her marriage, Alfred will know of her infidelity. She wears baggy clothes to keep the pregnancy secret.
Aliena goes into labor and gives birth to a healthy boy.  The child looks so much like Jack that her infidelity is obvious. Aliena never goes back to Alfred. She moves in with Richard. Ellen convinces her to seek out Jack. Aliena takes her young son, and after journeying through France along the pilgrim routes, to Spain, and back again to France, she finds Jack in Paris. Aliena and Jack join together now, and Jack raises money with a relic, calling himself the master builder at Kingsbridge. He gathers builders and progresses back toward England. Jack also finds his family. They are in Cherbourg.  They believed Jack’s father was killed in a shipwreck. But it is clear his father survived past that event.

Jack arrives at Kingsbridge with builders and money, and after initial skepticism, Philip is convinced to appoint Jack the master builder at Kingsbridge, and that the cathedral will be built to hold the weeping Madonna relic Jack has brought from France. Alfred lives in Shiring now, building homes for people there, never coming into Kingsbridge, certainly because of the situation with Aliena, but also because Jack has convinced people that the church collapsed due to Alfred’s faulty design. Aliena sends a request for an annulment, and waits. Ellen now lives in the forest, and cannot return after the curse she made at the church. Jack confronts Waleran Bigod at his castle. Bigod refuses to discuss the charge or to address the hanging of Jack’s father. William Hamleigh still hates Kingsbridge for the prosperity of its market, and because Aliena lives there, apparently happy and prosperous, with Jack’s child. He decides to attack the town again.

Part Five – 1152-1155
Jack and his workers make considerable progress on the Kingsbridge Cathedral, and it is becoming an impressive site.  Waleran Bigod tells William Hamleigh he wants a church like the Kingsbridge Cathedral in Shiring. Aliena and Jack are still not permitted to live together because Waleran Bigod continues to block the annulment. Richard becomes a huge disappointment as earl.

Part Six – 1170-1174
The Kingsbridge Cathedral is completed. Jack enjoys the triumph of the magnificent cathedral he has built, and works on a new church at Kingsbridge. Aliena turns over control of the earldom to her son, the new earl of Shiring, inheriting the post when Richard is killed in Syria in an earthquake.
The Pillars of the Earth ends with Henry II humbled at Canterbury, symbolically flogged by a processions of monks, for his part in the death of Thomas Beckett. Philip watches, gratified with the triumph of the good and just over the savage brutes of the world, even during the difficult and violent times he lives in.

Conclusion
I hope my summary of Pillars will affect you and I hope some day you’ll buy this fantastic book that made read it more than once and with which I’ve spent many wonderufull evenings.Or at least that i have ingited a spark which will burn brighter and brighter as your love for the written word increases and the amount of books you have read.
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