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Young People's Pride   By: (1898-1943)

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Young People's Pride by Stephen Vincent Benét is an enchanting coming-of-age novel that explores the complexities of identity, self-discovery, and the pursuit of dreams. Set in a small American town during the early 20th century, Benét weaves a captivating narrative that delves deep into the lives of a group of young friends and their journey towards understanding their place in the world.

The story primarily follows the protagonist, John, a sensitive and introspective teenager with an insatiable thirst for knowledge and a longing for adventure. As John navigates the challenges of adolescence, readers are drawn into a richly crafted world where friendships evolve, loves blossom, and dreams are both nurtured and shattered.

One of the strongest aspects of the book is Benét's skillful characterization. Each character, from the fiery and fiercely independent Martha to the kind-hearted and empathetic Thomas, possesses a distinct personality that feels both genuine and relatable. Through their interactions, Benét explores themes of loyalty, courage, and the consequences of following one's passions.

Moreover, the author's vivid prose paints a vibrant picture of the era, immersing readers in a setting that feels tangible and nostalgic. Benét's attention to detail is impressive, capturing the essence of the time period with authentic dialogue, descriptions, and cultural references. The evocative imagery transports readers to a time when life was simpler, yet fraught with its own set of challenges and expectations.

Furthermore, Young People's Pride tackles the universal themes of self-discovery and the pursuit of one's passions. As John and his friends embark on their individual quests, their journeys intertwine and intersect, highlighting the interconnectedness of their dreams and ambitions. Benét skillfully explores the sacrifices, hardships, and triumphs that come with the pursuit of ambition, reminding readers of the transformative power of resilience and determination.

In terms of pacing, the novel strikes a perfect balance between tender introspection and thrilling moments of conflict. Benét's storytelling prowess keeps readers engaged, effortlessly switching between moments of quiet reflection and heart-pounding tension. The narrative's ebb and flow mirror the emotional landscape of its characters, allowing readers to empathize with their trials and tribulations.

If there is one aspect of the book that could be critiqued, it is perhaps the occasional lack of diversity in the characters' experiences. While Benét masterfully explores the internal struggles and arcs of his main characters, the narrative could have benefited from a more inclusive representation of various perspectives and backgrounds.

Overall, Young People's Pride is a charming and thought-provoking novel that will resonate with readers of all ages. Stephen Vincent Benét's evocative prose, rich characterizations, and timeless themes make this a captivating read. As readers accompany John and his friends on their journey of self-discovery, they will find themselves reflecting on their own dreams, ambitions, and the enduring power of youthful determination.

First Page:



By Stephen Vincent Benêt

Illustrations By Henry Raleigh

Copyright, 1922 By Henry Holt And Company

First printing, August 1922


If I were sly, I'd steal for you that cobbled hill, Montmartre, Josephine's embroidered shoes, St. Louis' oriflamme, The river on grey evenings and the bluebell glass of Chartres, And four sarcastic gargoyles from the roof of Notre Dame.

That wouldn't be enough, though, enough nor half a part; There'd be shells because they're sorrowful, and pansies since they're wise, The smell of rain on lilac bloom, less fragrant than your heart, And that small blossom of your name, as steadfast as your eyes.

Sapphires, pirates, sandalwood, porcelains, sonnets, pearls, Sunsets gay as Joseph's coat and seas like milky jade, Dancing at your birthday like a mermaid's dancing curls If my father'd only brought me up to half a decent trade!

Nothing I can give you nothing but the rhymes Nothing but the empty speech, the idle words and few, The mind made sick with irony you helped so many times, The strengthless water of the soul your truthfulness kept true.

Take the little withered things and neither laugh nor cry Gifts to make a sick man glad he's going out like sand They and I are yours, you know, as long as there's an I... Continue reading book >>

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