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Book Presentation - Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby




Book Presentation:

"Fever Pitch" by Nick Hornby

Table of Contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. Summary
  3. Characterisation
  4. Book Analysis
  5. Themes/ Conflicts
  6. Statement
  7. comparison book - movie
  8. Author




1. Introduction

Why is football so popular in England and all over the world? In my opinion no one can give a very good answer to this question. I never ask such a question, because I like football. Football is made for everyone, everyone can play football, no matter if you are poor or rich, if you are black or white, this sport unites the whole world.

Nick Hornby has written a book, which might explains what this sport means to a football fan. This book is called "Fever Pitch".

2.Summary

The story of the book starts in 1968. Young Nick Hornby, who is also the protagonist, isn't interested in football at first. There are other things, which count more. His parents are separated.

One day his father takes him to a football match at the age of eleven. It is the match between Arsenal London and Stoke City. At this point, the protagonist completely falls in love with the "Gunners", Arsenal London.

Arsenal is the main part in his life, and all decisions, related to school, family, girl friends and others depend on this club.

In his younger years he has a lot of fun with his new love but also a bit trouble, because he is badly treated at school. The problem is that there are not so many Arsenal Fans.

He is also confronted with all things happened around football. He has first experiences with death, as an old man dies on a heart attack, violence and girls, but in his younger life there is no place for a girl.

After he finished school he goes to college. He begins an education as a teacher. His college is in Cambridge.

The problem for him is that he can't afford see every match of Arsenal, so he decides to watch the matches of Cambridge United, a fourth division team, no matter it is football at all. But he must absolve a training year as a school teacher and he does it in London. After he finished his education he starts as a school teacher in Cambridge. He coaches the football club of the school. Now he has more time for women, but he never has a close relationship, only his relationship to football.

Then there is the point, as he looks critical and more relaxed on his favourite sport. He get into new friendships and they are not really interested in football. Important for him are the stadium catastrophes of Hillsborough(Sheffield) and Heysel(Belgium). He thinks it is very terrifying. He isn't less interested in football, but there are some negative reasons, which he didn't see or didn't want to in the past.

In his further life he made experiences with violence, committed on himself. In the past he tried, that he wasn't involved in such actions.

He recognised that there is a hooligan scene and he doesn't like it. Another negative aspect for him is the insane and silly racism and also the anti Semitic paroles in some matches.

He has the best time in his life as Arsenal gets the championship in 1989. He has been waiting eighteen years for that moment.

In the end the protagonist tells some wisdom about football. He is a grown up and football is very important, but not the main point of his life.

3.Characterisation

  • Superstitious
  • Anti-racism/violence
  • Ironical/humorous
  • Unrealistic
  • Childish
  • Critical

He has some rituals before games and has a lot of lucky symbols(charms), like lucky shirts The character is superstitious, that is coming clear on page 102/103.

"I have tried to smoke goals in(Arsenal once scored as three of us were lighting cigarettes)"

"I have tried lucky sock, and lucky shirts, and lucky friends.."

In older age he doesn't like this racism paroles from the fans. He often describes situations in the book, and comments this in a very critical and ironical way. Proves: p. 171; 180-183; 193/194

p.180 "One night I turned round angrily to confront an Arsenal fan making monkey noises at Manchester United's Paul Ince, and found that I was abusing a blind man. A blind racist!)

Nick Hornby reacts also very ironical and humorous . In the way he describes women or a dramatic situation.

Proves: p 148; 163

Context: He was with a woman in Highbury, she said, that she wanted to come again.

"This is what women always say and it usually means that they would like to come again in another life, and not even the next life but the one after that"

A main point is that he is a prisoner of his own mind. In this mind there is all about football. Even the future depends on it. Sometimes the reality and his dream world goes into to a fuzzy world. Proves: p. 122; 161

The protagonist reacts also very childish in many situations. Especially as a grown-up he has some moments in which it is better to cool down. But also in planning(or not planning) his own future, he doesn't think in a normal or rational way. Proves: p.122; 165

He is an Arsenal Fan and he loves his club, but he has no problem to criticise it. Sometimes in the way, how the management works or how the fans behave against especially foreigners or to other fans. Often he also criticises the way how Arsenal plays football.

4.Analysis

  • Genre
  • Theme
  • Structure
  • Style




This book is written as an autobiographical roman. Nick Hornby has written his own feelings in this roman.

The main theme of this book is the fascination of football.

This book has many short capitals, the most ones don't have more than 3 pages. The headlines include a situation, which the protagonist copes with. A little headline under shows a match. So he relates every personal event to a football game.

The sentences are easy to understand and it sounds like a "football" language. This makes it easier to feel what a football fan feels.

Rhetorical devices:

-        Irony(proves: p.148; 168)

-        Foresight, looking backs(prove: p.68; 91; 104; 108)

5.Topics/ Conflicts

-        Violence in football by fans p. 195

-        Racism

-        Becoming a grown-up

-        Relationships

Nick Hornby describes a conflict for him in this book. He doesn't like the combination of football and violence. He judges the behaviour of especially English Hooligans, who acted very cruel in the Heysel Stadium. He copes very ironical with this behaviour.

"Some of the Liverpool fans who were later arrested must have felt very bewildered. In a sense, their crime was simply being English: it was just the practices of their culture, taken out of its own context and transferred to somewhere that simply didn't understand them, killed people."

He describes in a very hard ironical way, that English Hooligans act very strange not only for other states but also for him, too.

 

6. Statement

I have already read books of Nick Hornby, but in German language. Hornby has a special style of writing. The reader often feels with the protagonist and mostly you imagine, you know the situations which the protagonist describes. But it is a different reading, if you read the books in German or in English. In my opinion it is not only the language which was translated, but also the understatement for the different countries. A German maybe doesn't understand English humour. So it was translated in an understandable form of reading for the Germans.

As I know the style of Nick Hornby I can  understand easier humours passages.  Another point is, that the structure is confusing. In the book, the capitals mostly haven't more than 3 pages and all has another content. He talks about football in all of it, but he mentiones in all of them also a personal event, which happened parallel to a football match.

Besides all the negative aspects, that this book is a very good one. He tells his life and criticise a lot of themes which happened around the pitch. He is very angry about racism or anti Semites behaviour. His very intelligent writing needs a good understanding to read and see what he really means with some passages in the book. He often writes ironical and sometimes you have to read twice to understand it in the right way. 

7. Comparison book - movie

The movie is based on the book. The contents are mostly the same as described in the book. The movie starts in the middle of the book. The book describes eighteen years of the protagonist. The movie shows only half a year of the book, with Nick Hornby as a teacher in Cambridge. Also the movie contains more emotions, especially to women.

The book has one main theme, fascination football; and some other topics, like violence(stadium catastrophes in Heysel and Hillsborough) or racism.

The movie has two main themes, football and love.

8.Author

Nick Hornby(born in 1958)                                                

Birthplace
London, England                                                                                         
Education
Cambridge University, England                                          
Other jobs
Journalist and English teacher
Writing Style

A main theme of Hornby's books is to becoming a grown-up

Books

"Fever Pitch", "High Fidelity", "About a Boy", "Speaking with an Angel", "How to be good"

words: 1562










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