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Half Brother By Kenneth Oppel
Transcript of Half Brother By Kenneth Oppel
The main character, Ben, is a 13 year old only child who lives with his mom and dad, who is a scientist starting a project that includes researching the possibly existent ability of communication through language in chimpanzees. Ben Tomlin and his family live in Victoria, British Columbia when Zan, their new baby chimp, comes home. Ben is told to treat him like a member of the family. At first, Ben is tentative about this new "family member". Zan is treated just like a child would, except for the fact that he is watched by volunteers who are also teaching him sign language throughout the day. He wears clothes, plays in the sandbox, takes baths and has a bed with special stuffed animals. Not before long, Zan starts choosing favorites, and Ben is at the top of his list. Summary Pt: 2 Setting The setting is in Victoria, British Columbia when at Ben's house, school, or anywhere it does not say otherwise. When not in Canada, the characters will most likely be in Nevada, at the chimp ranch. This is in the 1970's. What the Title is Trying to Emphasize: I think one of the main ideas the author meant to show in the title is that no matter what the kind of person or creature, you can make them family. This relates to the book because Ben has to accept Zan as a little brother, or his "half brother." Main Characters: Zan- He's the loving chimp in Ben's life who is learning ASL (American Sign Language). He is a wild animal though, so he still has some inhuman-like instincts. Ben Tomlin (Protagonist)- He's the new kid at school and wants to be popular. He likes a popular girl in his grade named Jennifer, but he's not very sensitive. Mr./Mrs. Tomlin: Both parents are scientist working on Project Zan. Mr. Tomlin doesn't always seem very affectionate with Zan, so at some points he seems like the antagonist. Mrs. Tomlin is usually overpowered by her husband because she is much more sensitive. Peter- He is a student who is helping take care of Zan and teaching him ASL. At first, he seems hippie-like, but in the end, is Zan's favorite student. He is strongly opinioned about animal rights. Jack Helson (Antagonist) and Family: Jack Helson is a war veteran who owns the chimp ranch in Nevada that Zan goes to. He is not sensitive at all what-so-ever. He has a wife and two kids, who are very sweet. Summary Pt: 4 As cool as it is to have a chimp as a brother, it's very expensive. That is why Mr. Tomlin has to shut Project Zan down when he decides Zan is mimicking the signs, not learning language. This is when Zan moves to Mr. Helson's chimp ranch. Though there are 13 other chimps and a large field for him to play on, he is forced to sleep in a cage without blankets or toys, and he won't wear clothes or diapers. This really saddens Ben, and he wants to help. The only good thing is is that Peter will now work for Mr. Helson, and still be with Zan. Conflict #1 One of the conflicts in the story is that Zan can't stay because of expenses and the fact that he will get even stronger than he is now. This is a Character vs. Society conflict, and it's also the Climax of this story. The two possible choices were to pay to keep Zan or give him to the ranch, and he ends up at the ranch. Summary Pt: 3 To improve Zan's behavior, the playroom gets a new addition, the learning chair. It's a metal chair with a harness so Zan can't get away. No one really likes it, especially Peter and Ben. It is soon confiscated after some rethinking though. At about a year and a half, Zan is learning two signs a week. That's impressive to most, but Mr. Tomlin doesn't get a grant he was hoping for, which makes them low on money. Summary Pt:5 When Peter is getting Mr. Helson's mail one day, he finds a letter from the Thurston Foundation, a place where they do biomedical research on animals. He takes the letter and shows Ben and his mom. They decide to steal Zan. Jack Helson sees Zan is gone and knows who did it. Then, Ben convinces his dad to start a fundraiser so they can buy Zan back. They raise 12,000 and use 8,000 of their own, but then Jack Helson changes his mind, and doesn't want to sell Zan to them. But with the power of the media, Helson backs off. Now that they have Zan, they give him to a sanctuary, something similar to a zoo, except no as many tourists. Conflict #2 Another conflict in the story is the fact that Helson doesn't agree to sell back Zan to the Tomlins, even when they offered 20,000 dollars, and is suing them for defamation. This is a character vs. character conflict, and the problem is solved when the word gets out and the public protests, making Helson decide he'll sell Zan.
Ben's goal is to get Zan back.
Helson is stopping him from reaching that goal.
This is because Helson wants more money/ To sell Zan with other chimps. The Godwin Family- Mr. Godwin works with Ben's dad, and is the father of Jennifer Godwin. Mr. Godwin has a wife and two kids in addition to Jennifer, and their names are David, who is a grade above Ben, and Cal, who is a few years older and always has his shirt unbuttoned.. Ben has mixed feeling about the family, but likes them overall. Things the Protagonist Says and Does and What it Tells Us: Dislikes Zan at first- he was not a sensitive person in the beginning.
Risks his safety and his dad's job to get Zan back- He ended up loving Zan enough to risk everything Summary Pt: 6 In the end, Ben knows what they did was the best for Zan, but he still wishes he could have stayed. Ben's father signed papers agreeing Zan had to live at the sanctuary the rest of his life, no exceptions. Ben has a dream about Zan later and in it, him and Zan were signing. they were talking about Zan's new life. Zan also knew it was best, but says he will never forget he was ever a 'human.' How the Protagonist Changes and What They Learn: He becomes more sentimental and he learns that love can come from anything, anywhere, or anyone, even if it's weird. They think you have to do what you know is right and you can disobey when needed Author's Point of View of this type of problem: Conflict #1 The first conflict is that it is too expensive to keep Zan and he is getting to strong, so the Tomlins can't keep him. This is a character vs. society conflict, and it is solved when they decide to give Zan to a chimp ranch in Nevada that has other chimps.
Ben's goal is to keep Zan forever.
Nature and money are keeping him from doing that.
Zan is getting too stong and money is too low to keep Zan for any longer. Theme- The Message of This Book: "No matter what the kind of creature, you can make them family."
"The best friendships are the unlikely ones." What the Writer is Saying About Our World: Many people wouldn't go as far as Ben did to save an animal, because one animal doesn't effect a lot of people. He thinks people should be a lot more open- minded to possibilities and respect all living things, human or not. I recommend this book for about 10+, and I really hope you get a chance to read it. Thanks for Watching! By Erika Thomson
Mrs. Stewart's Class
7/8 Period ELAR