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"Gated" by Amy Christine Parker
Transcript of "Gated" by Amy Christine Parker
Presentation by Adam Buchert
"Gated" is the story of Lyla Hamilton, a 17 year old living in a highly secretive cult known as "The Community." Lyla was brought to The Community at a young age after the disappearance of her sister Karen. The Community is led by Pioneer, a charismatic man who has convinced his followers that the end of the world is quickly approaching. When Lyla begins making contact with the outside world, she questions Pioneer and her way of life.
About the Author
Amy Christine Parker was born in Pennsylvania. She worked many jobs, including teaching, before she became a writer. Parker currently lives in Tampa Florida with her husband and daughters. "Gated" is her first published novel.Parker has had a long time interest in cults and wrote "Gated" as a response to that interest. In an interview with the blog "The Bookish Ways" Parker stated that she made "Gated" a young adult novel because "All of my ideas seem to naturally lean towards YA. It wasn’t ever really a conscious decision as much as the most obvious course for me. I’m drawn to teen characters and the obstacles that they face."
Kirkus Reviews : June 15, 2013-
"Parker doesn’t pull punches, indicating a level of brutality that will appropriately disturb even as it successfully conveys Lyla’s complete entrapment in the Community. Compelling and not that distant from real-world cults that have ended in tragedy."
Publishers Weeky: June 10, 2013-
"Parker skillfully explores the mindset and inner workings of an apocalyptic cult, steadily building toward the inevitable moment of truth...As for the apocalypse itself, Parker keeps things suitably ambiguous, resulting in a complex, intriguing tale rooted in real-world events."
Themes of "Gated"
"Gated" deals with very complex themes such as:
Questioning blind authority- Lyla choses to question Pioneer and his beliefs, unlike everyone else in the Community who blindly follow Pioneer.
Finding inner strength- Throughout the book Lyla is called weak and cowardly. She ends the book a hero though because she found the bravery in herself.
The People's Temple
and Heaven's Gate cults were inspirations for Pioneer's Community in "Gated."
How did "Gated" Speak to me?
"Gated" is an intense and fast paced novel about an unuausal subject. I can't think of any fictional book I have read about life inside of a cult and it is an especially dark and mature theme for a young adult novel. The type of blind authority that Pioneer's followers, including Lyla herself initially, was shocking because that type of blind authority in a man who the book presents as obviously mentally ill is just unbelievable. Yet I know incidents like the one in "Gated" have actually happened in real life, the most famous being the mass suicide of Jim Jones' People's Temple cult. I think this is a good book for young adults because the subject matter is so interesting. I found myself wanting to learn more about cults after I read "Gated" and watched a few documentaries on the subject. Even if they don't develop an interest in cults, young adults would still be drawn in by the exciting story.
Because of the complex and dark themes of "Gated", these activities shoulde completed by students in 9th grade or older. Both of these activities will be done once the students have read all of the novel.
Acivity 1- Students will write a 1 to 2 page paper about what they would do if they were in Lyla's situation. What would they do differently than Lyla? Would they do anything differently? Why?They will start with whatthey would do at the begining of the book and continue on all the way to the end. This activity goes with the 2nd standard for reading literature in grades 9-10. That standard states that students must be able to determine a central theme of a text and analyze how that theme changes over the course of the text. Students can talk about anything related to "Gated" from its theme of bravery to its theme of blind obdeiance and disobediance.
Activity 2- Students will write a longer essay about why the people in the Community chose to follow Pioneer. They will use information gathered from "Gated" as well as outside information on cults and the psychology behind that. This is a complex assignment that could work in 9th grade but would probably better be used in higher up grades. Thts goes with standard 1 for reading literature in 9th and 10th grade. That standard says that students have to be able to analyze a text and provide textual evidence for their analysis. It also goes with the 2nd writing standard for grades 9 and 10 which says that students need to be able to write an informational text to "examine complex concepts."
Here is one example of outside information that students can use.- http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/biography/jonestown-bio-jones/