Study Guide for Bleachers by John Grisham - BookNotes|
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BLEACHERS SUMMARY / STUDY GUIDE / BOOK REVIEW BY JOHN GRISHAM
One antagonist is Coach Rake. His coaching style made him a legend, but some of his players come away somewhat scarred. He was the kind of man whom his players either loved or hated, and he definitely affected their lives in both good and bad ways. He is an integral part in making them men, but for Neely, he is someone he must come to terms with before he can continue to live his life.
A second antagonist is Neely himself. He hasnít become the person he had hoped
to become and his memories are filled with the conflict with Coach Rake.
In order to become a better person, he must accept how the coach influenced
him and how that influence can help him change himself for the better.
The climax occurs when Neely Crenshaw appears as the third eulogist for Coach
Eddie Rake. The reader doesnít expect him to be the one to speak well
of his memories of his coach, because we have seen him turn away from
Rake and Messina football so often throughout the book.
The outcome involves the catharsis that both Neely and the town of Messina
experience as a result of the death of Eddie Rake. The split in the town
over Rakeís firing is resolved through the eulogies of three of his players
and the note that he himself leaves behind. They all learn to forgive
and go on with their lives, knowing that he was a great man even though
he was very human. He made mistakes, but by the time of his funeral, the
mistakes have been accepted by all concerned, and the good times can be
remembered. Neely then leaves Messina knowing that he can come back again
and smile when Eddie Rakeís name is mentioned or even tell a story about
him with a happy ending.
This novel is a brief narrative about a town and its high school football program. By focusing on a minimum of characters, the most important being Eddie Rake and Neely Crenshaw, the author presents the consequences when winning becomes everything to everyone. Neely and his former teammates return to Messina, their hometown, to sit vigil while their former coach, Eddie Rake lies dying. Using the technique of flashback, the author shows us the impact Eddie had on all his players and the town where they lived. However, it is especially his impact on Neely that is most emphasized. Neely had left the town 15 years before when he had an altercation with the coach during halftime of the í87 championship game. His subsequent career in football was ruined by a knee injury, his wife left him, and combined with his love-hate relationship with Rake, he has drifted through life a bitter man. Now with Rakeís death comes his chance to resolve all these conflicts.
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Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on Bleachers".
. 09 May 2017