Book #7: Brother to Dragons, by Robert Penn Warren

I certainly didn’t expect to be writing again so quickly, but that just means I’m making more progress on my reading. I started Robert Penn Warren’s Brother to Dragons yesterday afternoon an just finished reading it moments ago. To be fair, it’s only 132 pages and an epic poem (though it’s stylistically written like a play). This made it easy to finish quickly.

That being said, the content of this book is not easy to swallow; in fact, I’m sure it’s going to take a while (and some in-class discussion) before I can fully form my opinion on it. The story is essentially nonfiction, telling the gruesome tale of Thomas Jefferson’s family in western Kentucky in 1811. Jefferson’s nephews were arrested for brutally killing a young slave, and Warren offers an introspective look at the characters involved in the murder.

The inside perspectives Warren offers are probably fictionalized, but they leave readers with a whole lot to think about, especially because he continually puts their situation into a much bigger scope of looking at humankind in general.

Needless to say, this is a pretty bleak story and one that I’ll be ruminating on for a while to come.


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