Tom Hallman Essay

Tom Hallman Essay

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Ian Weinreich Journalism TOM HALLMAN JR. Non-Deadline Writer First there was word of mouth. And on the second day God said, “Let there be newspapers,” and it was good. Being one of the oldest forms of news in the world, the writers of them have to uphold to certain standards. With the reporting of news comes the responsibility with it. Tom Hallman is a journalist who advocates for these responsibilities. He, as Keith Woods said, he brings to his stories the ear of a musician, the eye of a detective and the fiction writer’s sense of complexity and character development.” He reports, “with deep reporting, rich detail, and a personal voice.” With his talents and abilities, Hallman can make even the most ordinary of ordinaries become interesting and give them a soul. Children of a Lesser Hope was the first story I have read by Hallman. I had finished reading the story for about two minutes before I could. Hallman brings to us the lives of a somewhat forgotten presence in American. The poor, single, retarded mothers. I have yet to have met one, and I’m not sure, but I doubt you have. The story reads like a movie, there’s enough drama and complexity in there. I first picked up on his first few sentences. “Donna Purrell adds with her fingers and can’t make change for $20.” “Lennetta Bell can’t give direction to her home or read the children’s book Green Eggs and Ham.” You’re not exactly sure what the article is going to be about, but you do know that you’re hooked. The lead in just pulls you in to the rest of the article. You wanted to find out who these people were and exactly why one of them couldn’t, “read a thermometer and doesn’t understand what it means when the grocery store sells something at 3 pounds for a dollar.” You wanted to find out why and Hallman did a good job of explaining to you the situation these women were faced with. It started off making you feel apathetic and you ended with feelings of sympathy. Hallman does it once again. He pulls you in with his lead in. “In the decade since the mountain’s betrayal,” the mountain itself is a character, “I have traveled back many times. Never once have I thought of anything but the children.” What happened on this mountain of betrayal, and what of these children he refers to? His lead in style pull you in to the article even though you’re not exactly sure what its about. Hallman himself was a witness to the tragedy that suffered these boys and writes it like the voiceover to the beginning of a movie such as “Stand By Me,” also a story about a man looking back on a tragedy on a youth. It makes you visualize things more in your head which brings much more emotion to the story and to myself. Hallman kept you in the story by leaving you wanting more with each paragraph. It was as if his lead in never ended. Each page brought something new, whether a personal thought revolving around his daughter or the fate of the children. For the third time, Hallman goes the same route. He throws in that gripping lead in that pulls you in when you don’t have much of a clue what the article was about. He could be talking about her husband, her brother, he father, and then you realize its about her baby. What I really liked was the way he threw in someone’s narration as if it were in a fiction story. “She scans the room. His favorite animal? Yes. His blanket? Without question. A musical toy? She kicks it away. Rock a Bye Baby fills the room, mocking her.” He seems almost identical to any narrative I’ve read. I’m sure I could find one similar to it if I looked. But this wasn’t a fictional piece of literature so I found that technique quite fascinating. He even writes it as if she were talking to us personally, not to him. All the stories I read of Tom Hallman’s have something in common. They all deal with loss and how it affects others. Whether it’s the loss of mental stability or the loss of child, they all bring up concerns. Concerns that someone as I, who hasn’t had the chance to experience yet, can’t come up with solutions to. Maybe in five to ten years or so, I’ll be able to address the issues Hallman takes from the unknown ordinary person to the public at large with better understanding and comprehension. They way Hallman intended his readers to.

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