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Average in Evil
Hall Alexander's letter to Robert Cormier
This two-page, typed, undated fan letter to Robert Cormier comes from high school student, Hall Alexander of Ottowa, Kansas. Hall is very caught up in We All Fall Down. He has questions about both events and characters and he has opinions, as well. He is not writing as part of a school project but appears to have written on his own. In many ways, Hall epitomizes the engaged reader.
Robert Cormier's response to Hall Alexander
In this one-page, typed response to Hall Alexander, dated May 7, 2000, Robert Cormier explains one of the plot knots that Hall had queried him about regarding After the First Death. Cormier inscribes a trail of consistent characters' reactions given the circumstances in which he put them. Always an advocate for an active reading life, Cormier encourages Hall's continued enjoyment and deep consideration of books.
Raymond Wynter's letter to Robert Cormier
Raymond Wynter, a sophomore in high school, writes to Robert Cormier with a number of questions. Specifically, he asks about Cormier's influences, Cormier's teenage readers, and Cormier's favorite authors.
Robert Cormier's draft response to Raymond Wynter
In this drafted letter, Robert Cormier responds to Raymond Wynter's questions. He explains that the idea for the novel came from an act of vandalism reported on the news. Specifically, he wanted to understand why kids from 'average' families would commit such crimes. Cormier closes the letter by describing the teenage years as a terrible and terrific time - a time for finding identity.
In this August 28, 2016, article by Geraldine Malone, "On growing up in the hateful climate that left Coulton Boushie dead," the author describes the "average" - to the point of invisibility - climate of hate, ridicule, and self-justifying acts of bullying and terror that led to one First Nations youth's murder.
In this June 2012 TED Talk, "The mysterious workings of the adolescent brain," neuroscientist Sarah-Jane Blakemore explains the developing brain.
"University of Arizona Students Hurl Insults, Litter, at Mosque in Tucson," by Fernanda Santos, February 16, 2016, The New York Times looks at college campus climates and aggression and bias towards minority groups.