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Dear Mr.


Chapter 1
Early morning during the above freezing February air, Richard, Gus and Pa went for deer
hunting. Pa bet Richard was going to get his first deer on that day. However, Richard
deliberately misfired to avoid killing the beautiful young buck. Gus tried to encourage his
brother to more sociable and scolding him for missing the shot.

Gus was active in sports meanwhile Richard loves farming. After dinner, Pa made Gus start
talking about sports. Richard went to the kitchen to help his sister Angie who had started taking
care of the house after their mother died. Pa and Gus always took it for granted. Richard
explained to Pa that he did not have the right to kill the animals. Pa confessed that he grieved
everytime he shot an animal. In past maybe he was remembering his wife or his brother ,Roland,
who was killed in a war in Cuba. Richard felt satisfied after he shared his feeling with Pa.

Richard went to his room and took a piece of paper and pen and started writing a poem about
“How a Deer has been killed” and he put it in the drawer on top of other poems and he did not
want anyone to know about it.

Chapter 2

The snow had come to an end. The school had started again in the month of April. America
declared war on Germany. One morning, Richard's English teacher, Mrs Hansen told the class
that a famous poet, Joyce Kilmer has just volunteered for army service in the ongoing world war.
She read a poem entitled "Tree" written by Joyce Kilmer to the class, Richard was fascinated by
the beauty of the simple poem. Richard borrowed Mrs Hansen poetry book and secretly jotted
down the New York Times editor’ s office address .On the way back home. Richard met Hannah
Schermers,the pretty girl of German crying in the hallway because someone had returned her
"dirty hun"on her book cover.

Richard confronted his classmates who then revealed their hatred toward Germans. After
returning home, Richard decided to write to Mr Kilmer ,he introduced himself and told him that
he liked his simple poems and shared his secret poetry writing.He sent the letter to the New
York Times
Chapter 3
A terrible incident has[ happen at the tavern own by Hannah Schermers parents.It has been
vandelised.To insteal good values in students,Mrs Hansen encourags her students to sign a card
to expressing their sympathy for Hannah and her family.Mrs Hansen shocked at the protest by
more vocal student and the culture of fear created by the class bullies which stop some sincere
students from signing.In the end,only Richard sign the card.Richard action caused the students
taunt him for supporting the German.Richard approaches his teacher and asked for the card and
he want to personally delivered it to the Schermers.Abruptly,Richard was attacked by Abner
and Harry but he manages to win the fight.Richard feels terrible as he wals home and keep
pondering about the people of TurtleLake.On his way home,he climbs an old oak tree to watch a
train pass by.He sees passanger happily travelling.As he reaches home,Angie running excitedly
towards him with news that he has received a letter from New York.It is from Joyce Kilmer.

Chapter 4
Joyce Kilmer letter to Richard consists plane simple answer and advice.He encourages him to
pursue his poetic dreams with courage and confidence.He invite Richards to write again and sent
him one of his poem.That night, Richard tried to be braved to share about the letter to his
family.Pa,Gus and Angie didn't show any axcitement and they do not know who Joyce Kilmer is.

Richard went to his room to reply Mr Kilmer's letter.Gus comes to the room and teases Richard
on his sissy poems.Gus also advices him to try to fit in with his friends.

Next morning Richard oes to see Mrs Hansen to tell her about the letter.She is very
impressed.Richards shows her a few of his favourite poems and she helps to select one to sent to
Mr Kilmer.Mrs Hansen encourages him to share the letter to the class but Richard is not ready
yet.Richard meets Hannah right after he cames out from Mrs Hansen room.She apologised
Richard on what she has done the last time they met.She als shares her feeling and problems
with Richard.Richard climbes the oak tree again and sees the train with a load of merry soldiers
ontheir way to war.Richard is sad thinking about Mr Kilmer and Otto,the Hannah's brother.
Issues highlighted in the novel “DEAR MR. KILMER”

In the novel ‘dear mr. kilmer’, there are a few issues that can be highlighted. These
issues happen everywhere.

The first issue is about a war and its effects. War cannot be the ultimate solution for
humanity. Men going to war are volunteers who are not properly trained, so they fight the
enemies with a 50-50 chance of surviving. Uncle Roland has gone to war in Cuba, and he
has died in the war. Mr, Kilmer has also been killed in the war against Germany. Richard
describes all those soldiers who have sacrificed their lives as ‘a million little worlds”. Gus
and Otto are enlisted to go to war and this has worried their parents as they do not know if
their sons can return home alive.

The second universal issue is bullying in schools is still happening. Some students are
taking advantage of the weaker students to show their dominion over these weaker students.
Richard and Hannah Schermer have to become the victims of bullying. Abner and Harry try
to stop Richard from signing the sympathy card. The two bullies are feared by many in the
class and they might hurt students who dare to sign the card. Hannah Schermer is bullied
emotionally. Her books are written with the words “dirty Huns”.

The two issues that are presented in the novel are universal issues that are still happening
and they should be curbed.

Lesson that can be learned –stand on our own principles.

Based on the novel “dear Mr. Kilmer”, it is crucial to stand on our own principles.
Richard Knight is the third child in the Knight family. He has a brother, Gus Knight and a
sister ,Angie Knight.

Richard is a animal lover and a gentle person. He does not like hunting, unlike what
other males in his family are doing for fun and sports. He is not interested in boxing as he
sees it as a sport for two persons to hurt each other. Although he is called a stupid fool or
“small Fry” by Gus, he does not care about that. Richard believes that unnecessary pain
should not be inflicted on animals or anyone.

There is a small complication between Richard and his father, as his father advises him
not to support the Schermers by turning down his role of the Doughboy. Being
knowledgeable, wise and sensitive, Richard explains his beliefs about the Schermers who
are doing their part to be good citizens. They also let their son Otto to join the army,
although they are afraid Otto might kill his own cousins. I think that this should be a good
example for teenagers as we should show support to our fellow citizens, regardless of where
they come from.
How has Social setting shaped Richard’s character?

In the novel,”dear Mr. Kilmer” , the social setting has shaped Richard’s character

Richard’s father intends to train Richard and Gus in hunting. At that time, hunting for
animals is considered a man’s skill. Using weapons is also a required skill, because
during the American-Germany war, it is a necessary skill needed to stay alive by
killing enemies.

The community at the Turtle Lake and the schoolchildren, all consider Germany as
American’s enemies. They loathe the Schermers as they assume the family is still
German. In Richard’s class, all children do not support Hannah Schermer, either
because they loathe her or they are too scared to sympathise with Hannah.

Richard’s family and his classmates’negative perception towards poetry discourages

Richard from sharing his poems with anyone he knows, except two people. They are
Mrs Hansen and Mr. Kilmer.

With the social setting he is in, Richard becomes resilient, courageous and
determined to prove his poems carry a big responsibility.

Element of irony in the novel

The element of irony in the novel ‘dear Mr. kilmer’ has added colours to the novel.

The Schemers, who are Germans, have obtained full American citizenship and have
been fully supporting their nation. Hannah Schermer, the daughter, is a brilliant
student and she has won an essay writing competition related to American patriotism.

At that time, poetry writing is not perceived well among the community. Men must
be equipped with the skills to hunt and use weapons. However, Mr. Kilmer who is a
famous poet, has also joined the American army. He has fought the Germans.

Richard is portrayed as a sensitive, animal-loving person who does not want to hunt
animals. But he can fend for himself, both intellectually and physically. For example,
Abner and Harry to pick a fight with Richard after school. They are not satisfied with
Richard’s decision for signing the sympathy card. Instead, Richard has given the
dose of their own medicine.

Richard’s father has changed his perception towards poetry. This is because he is
surprised at how Richard has chosen the word “world” to represent one soldier who
has been defeated. Richard’s father has also used the same word to describe his lost
brother, Roland, who has died in the war.
Poem—charge of the light brigade

a) In stanza 1, how far is it to reach the battlefield?


b) In stanza 2, which line shows the commands cannot be questioned?


c) In stanza 3, which is surrounding the cavalry when they are in the valley?


d) Cannon in front of them.

What equipment do you suggest the soldiers to bring to save them from getting
killed? Provide a reason to support your answer.
Equipment : _____________________________________________________

Reason :_____________________________________________________

Poem—poison tree

a) In stanza 1, what effect had taken place after “I” kept the anger?


b) in stanza 2, how are the persona’s strategies described as?


c) in stanza 4, which line shows the night is very dark?


d) I was angry with my friend.

How would you avoid getting angry with a friend?
State a good effect of your action.

Reason :_____________________________________________________
Lessons to be learned from the novel—dear Mr Kilmer

I have learnt the importance of being proud of who you are, of being
strong, loyal and upright. In this story, we see Richard faced with many challenges.
He loved poetry and though he wrote poems, he kept this a secret for fear of being
ridiculed Mr Kilmer encouraged Richard to share his poetry and he found relief when
he did. He was no longer afraid of what others thought. When people were mean to
the Schermers and vandalized their tavern, Richard saw the injustice in this and felt
very sorry for Hannah and her family. He was the only one who was brave enough to
sign the sympathy card for the Schermers, in spite of the consequences. He continued
to be friends with Hannah and was a frequent guest at the Schermer’s home. He
realized that if Mr. Kilmer could be so fearless and strong when he joined the war,
Richard himself could be fearless in standing up for what he believed in. Richard
even declined the role of Doughboy in the Liberty Programme just to support Hannah
and stand by his convictions,

I have also learnt the importance of friendship. Richard developed a strong

friendship with Mr Kilmer through their correspondence, though they never met in
person. He also remained as good friends with Hannah when the other students
shunned her and treated her badly. He knew the importance of friendship especially
in bad times.

The other valuable lesson I have learnt is how wrong it is to be prejudiced

and cruel. The people in the town were ignorant and labelled the Schermers as
unpatriotic just because they were Germans. They did not see themselves as
Americans, paying the same taxes and even fighting the same war. They were
cowardly and mean to Hannah and her family. Some students like Abner and Harry
had the same prejudices as their parents and followed the same cruel behavior.
Richard, on the other hand, thought for himself and stood by his own beliefs. He had
integrity and strength of character. Mrs Hansen wished more students would be like

I think “dear mr.Kilmer” is a suitable title . The story revolves around

the correspondence between Richard and Mr. Kilmer. Richard was
mesmerized by Mr. Kilmer’s poem, “Trees” and was further captivated when
Mrs Hansen told the class that Mr.Kilmer had volunteered for service in the
army. Richard had found a new hero in Mr. Kilmer. When Richard took a
chance and wrote to Mr. Kilmer, he was over the top when he got a reply.
Richard really valued Mr Kilmer’s letters. Through his letters, Mr.Kilmer
encouraged Richard to share his poems with others. Mr Kilmer told Richard
not to be afraid to stand up for what he believed in.

In other letter, Mr Kilmer wrote that the war was described as “a war to
end wars” and asked Richard to continue writing to him and sending him his
poems. Richard continued to correspond with Mr. Kilmer who always had
positive comments about the poems Richard sent him. Mr. Kilmer wrote about
his hardships in France, the trench life, the gutter babies, how he wrote poems
even in the trenches and that he was then writing what may be the best poem in
his life. Richard felt honoured when Mr. Kilmer said that when it was done,
Richard would be one of the first to read the poem. Mr Kilmer referred to
Richard as the next generation of poets and told him to carry on writing for
poets play a very important part in this world.

Richard thought that this was the kindest and warmest letter the poet had
ever sent to him. Mr. Kilmer has a big influence in Richard’s life. When
Richard heard of Mr. Kilmer’s death, he is devastated. In his anguish, he
writes a beautiful poem about the loss of a loved one with the repeated line “ a
precious little world has died”

When Pa reads this poem in the papers, he is touched and is finally able
to talk to Richard about his brother, Roland. Pa’s world too was dead and gone
when Roland died, as it was now with Richard when Mr.kilmer died. Finally,
Pa understood Richard’s love for poetry and was able to share his poetry and
to laugh and chat lightheartedly with his children.
A favourite character

My favourite character in the novel Dear Mr.Kilmer is Richard

Knight. I like Richard the most because he is talented, brave and caring.

It is obvious that he is talented because he can write poems at such a

young age. He is fond of nature and is compassionate and observant and these
three qualities help him to write hi poems. He must be very clever to string
words together in such a way that they come out as pleasant poems.

Richard is very brave and stands up for what he believes in. He supports
the decision to give Hannah the part of lady Liberty in the school play. He
condemns the graffiti painted on the walls of the Schermers’ tavern. He is
brave enough to stand up to the bullies in his class. When Ike Lewis complains
about Richard’s sympathy for the Schermers. Richard shows courage by
speaking his mind when talking to his father about it. He simply says, “ It
think that’s plain wrong, Pa.”

I choose Richard as my favourite character as he is caring. At the

beginning of the novel. He is too compassionate to shoot a deer and he stands
by his decision. Then, he shows that he is thoughtful by reflecting on the
soldiers who are going to war and may never return. He writes poems that will
make people realize the grief caused by war. He is greatly saddened when his
friend and mentor, Mr. Kilmer, is killed in the war. It is Richard who comes up
with the suggestion to write letters to the soldiers to offer them comfort and
support. Above all, he shows compassion towards the Schermers, even when
others in the community don’t.

All these qualities make Richard stand out from the other characters in the
novel and that is why he is my favourite.
Lessons learn from the novel

There are several lessons. I have learnt from reading Dear Mr. Kilmer
by Anne Schraff.

The first lesson is that we can achieve success, if we persevere.

Richard doesn’t think that he will ever be recognized as a poet. However, he is
given encouragement by his teacher and also the famous poet Mr. Kilmer, who
corresponds with him. Despite the jeers from a few of his classmates, Richard
perseveres, and his poems are published in the local newspaper. He eventually
earns respect from his father, who identifies with his poems.

The next lesson is that we must stand by our principles. Richard

stands by his principles when he insists that Hannah should be Lady Liberty as
she wrote the best essay. When she declines the part, Richard turns down his
own reward for his essay as a matter of principle. He doesn’t give in to the
pressure of people around him when they discriminate against the Schermers.

Finally, I learnt that war affects families at home as well as soldiers

on the battlefield. It robs families of their young men. This causes untold pain
to parents and siblings. Prejudices against others are inflamed by war. For
example, many of the inhabitants of Turtle Lake do nasty things because of
negative feelings brought about by the war. They are mean to the Schermers
who were their friends before . War can lead to painful decisions, such as the
case of Otto Schermer, who chooses to go to war even though it means
fighting his own cousins.

These are invaluable life lessons that I have learnt from the novel.