What is the definition of a good summer read? Sitting by the pool on a sunny day in July, readers want a tale of action and adventure, maybe with a little bit of romance thrown in as well. It has to be a novel that will keep the reader on the edge of his or her seat, wondering what will happen in the next chapter. Marathon Man by William Goldman is the perfect summer read. Most readers will find the beginning of the novel quite mysterious. In the first chapter, readers are introduced to the main character, who goes by the nickname Babe. He is a student at Columbia University in New York City and he is also training to compete in a marathon. The second chapter, however, is about an international assassin who uses the code name Scylla. The chapters continue to switch back and forth between these two characters, building suspense and leading the reader to wonder: what is the connection between these two men? The answer comes about a third of the way through the book. It turns out that Scylla is Babe’s older brother.
Babe, however, has no idea what his older brother actually does for a living. While visiting Babe in New York City, Scylla is murdered by a rival assassin and dies in Babe’s arms. However, the killer believes that Scylla told Babe about a hidden stash of diamonds just before he died. Babe is suddenly thrust into a world of spies, assassins and double agents. He does not know who can be trusted and who is out to get him. The one asset Babe has is strength and endurance from his marathon training. Will this be enough for him to escape from danger? Does he have the toughness to endure torture, deceit, and a Nazi dentist? The author, William Goldman, has created a suspenseful page-turner of a novel. The reader, like Babe, is totally shocked and unprepared when his world collides with Scylla’s. Racing through this book leaves the reader as out of breath as Babe as he tries to outrun his pursuers. This is a great novel to pick up on a warm summer’s day. Answer these 10 questions about Marathon Man.
1. Who is the author of Marathon Man?
a. William Shakespeareb. William Rossc. William Goldman
2. What is the setting of Marathon Man?
a. New York Cityb. World War IIc. Nazi Germany
3. What is the mood of the beginning of the novel?
a. warm & sunnyb. mysteriousc. stressed-out
4. The main character of the novel, Babe, is
a. a college studentb. a college professorc. a college dropout
5. In the novel Marathon Man, Scylla is
a. a Nazi b. a whirlpoolc. an assassin
6. What is the connection between Babe & Scylla?
a. They’re brothersb. they’re adversariesc. They must work together.
7. How is Scylla killed?
a. in a concentration campb. car accidentc. by a rival assassin
8. What are the killers looking for in this novel?
a. diamondsb. a golden statuec. the holy grail
9. What does Babe use to try to escape danger?
a. his enduranceb. karate skillsc. his intelligence
10. Who is the “marathon man” of the title?
a. Babeb. Scyllac. A Nazi
11. Do you think you might want to read the novel Marathon Man?
a. yesb. noc. It’s a perfect summer read.
12. What grade would you give the essay you read?
a. 50%b. 75%c. 90%
13. In the space below, explain your grade:
What is the definition of a good summer read? Sitting by the pool on a sunny day in July, I like action and adventure, maybe with a little bit of romance thrown in as well. His novel Marathon Man will keep you on the edge of your seat, wondering what will happen. The beginning of the novel is confusing. In the first chapter, introduced to the main character, and the book is about all of the problems that go on in his life. Babe is the main character. The second chapter, however, about another man who uses the code name Scylla is a main character too. The chapters switch back and forth between these two characters. These two characters are similar but also different in many ways. It comes about a third of the way through the book. Something goes wrong and Babe dealt with a lot of problems. There are many things that affect Babe and all of his decisions affect him too.
Scylla gets killed which is another example of an external force. Everything from this point on gets crazy! Babe is trying to find the right thing to do, get away, stay alive, etc. There are all of these people who help Babe with everything, but some of them are working for the killers. Toward the end of the book, it becomes more about a Nazi dentist. Through everything that happened to him, Babe stayed strong. Babe deciding to be strong is an example of an internal force. Babe made some bad decisions, but he made the right decision in the end. He was both successful and unsuccessful. This is a suspenseful page-turner of a novel. You are totally shocked and unprepared when his world collides with Scylla’s. Racing through this book will leave you as out of breath as Babe as he tries to outrun his pursuers. This is definately a great novel to pick up on a warm summer’s day.