Jason Reynolds’ ‘Long Way Down’: How to Get Teenagers’ Attention



Jason Reynolds is well known to readers from different countries. This American writer offers his literary works to young people and college students. Jason Reynolds is the winner and recipient of numerous literary awards for his works. He started studying poetry earlier than prose. Jason Reynolds was inspired to write his poetry at the age of nine by rap music. He continues to write poetry, publishes several collections of poetry, but, at the same time, works on prose. In 2014, his first novel “When I was the greatest” was published, which brought him popularity, recognition from critics and readers, and the first literary prizes. The novel “Long Way Down” was written in 2017.

Text characteristics

The first thing you notice in a book is the layout of the text. Jason Reynolds’ Long Way Down can be leaked on storyboardthat.com because it combines the linearity of the narration of the protagonist, typical of prose, and the rhythm and poetic form allow it to convey the polyphony that resonates in the text and in the story itself.

The text of the book is a grand narrative, compressed into a poetic form. The big story here is represented by a moment in the life of a teenager. However, upon reading the novel, it becomes clear that through a private story, Jason Reynolds tells and shows the reader the pain and tragedy of more than one generation living by the laws of the streets.

Land characteristics

Sean, brother of Will, 15, is killed in a shootout between street gangs. This is where the novel begins and through this tragedy in the life of a teenager, it shows the chain of violence that surrounds the teenager. He lives in a world where, even before him, there were rules.

And Will understands that breaking those rules means betraying his brother. He finds the weapon and takes the elevator to the eighth floor. He has a plan: to avenge the death of his brother. It is in this very elevator that his “long descent” takes place. The descent in the elevator from the eighth floor does not take a teenager more than a minute, but this path seemed very long to him:

  • Will’s booth on each floor is filled with people he knows, but who are long dead. The protagonist’s father, his uncle, his best friend, the girl he loved at school and his brother – all died in street shootings. They are ghosts from the past, each of them has their story and Will listens to them.
  • After hearing the ghost stories, Will will have to make his choice: continue the chain of death and follow the unspoken rules of the streets, or deviate from the rules.
  • The novel has an open ending and ends with a teenager standing outside the first floor elevator doors. The writer doesn’t give the reader a ready-made answer as to what will happen to the main character next. Each reader will answer the question “What will happen next?” in their own way. “.

The meaning of the book for the young generation

In his novel, Jason Reynolds shows a real picture of violence on the streets of American cities. It describes the feelings experienced by the hero. And her experiences of her brother’s death take the reader to the scene of events that are portrayed with documentary authenticity of what was happening at the time.

Jason Reynolds doesn’t create a romantic image of noble revenge for his brother’s death. From the first to the last line of the novel, it shows what happens in the streets of disadvantaged neighborhoods. However, “Long Way Down” can be called a warning novel for many who find themselves in a situation where they choose to commit a revenge crime or leave those matters to the law enforcement officials. And the ghosts of Will’s family and friends warn him of the mistake he could make and its consequences.

“Long Way Down” makes it possible to understand that the writer in his works touches on serious and important problems for young people, he is looking for a language that can transmit history to them. He managed to write a non-boring book about important things, which will help the young reader to make the right choice in life.

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