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The Iron Giantby Ted Hughes
Synopses & Reviews
The Return of the Iron Giant
One evening a farmer's son, a boy called Hogarth, was fishing in a stream that ran down to the sea. It was growing too dark to fish, his hook kept getting caught in weeds and bushes. So he stopped fishing and came up from the stream and stood listening to the owls in the wood further up the valley, and to the sea behind him. Hush, said the sea. And again, Hush. Hush. Hush.
Suddenly he felt a strange feeling. He felt he was being watched. He felt afraid. He turned and looked up the steep field to the top of the high cliff. Behind that skyline was the sheer rocky cliff and the sea. And on that skyline, just above the edge of it, in the dusk, were two green lights. What were two green lights doing at the top of the cliff?
Then, as Hogarth watched, a huge dark figure climbed up over the cliff top. The two lights rose into the sky. They were the giant figure's eyes. A giant black figure, taller than a house, black and towering in the twilight, with green headlight eyes. The Iron Giant There he stood on the cliff top, looking inland. Hogarth began to run. He ran and ran. Home. Home. The Iron Giant had come back.
So he got home at last and, gasping for breath, he told his dad. An Iron Giant An Iron Man A giant
His father frowned. His mother grew pale. His little sister began to cry.
His father took down his double-barreled gun. He believed his son. He went out. He locked the door. He got in his car. He drove to the next farm.
But that farmer laughed. He was a fat, red man, with a fat, red-mouthed laugh. When he stopped laughing, his eyes were red too. An Iron Giant? Nonsense, he said.
So Hogarth's father got back in his car. Now it was dark and it had begun to rain. He drove to the next farm.
That farmer frowned. He believed. Tomorrow, he said, we must see what he is, this iron giant. His feet will have left tracks in the earth.
So Hogarth's father again got back into his car. But as he turned the car in the yard, he saw a strange thing in the headlights. Half a tractor lay there, just half, chopped clean off, the other half missing. He got out of his car and the other farmer came to look too. The tractor had been bitten off — there were big teeth marks in the steel.
No explanation The two men looked at each other. They were puzzled and afraid. What could have bitten the tractor in two? There, in the yard, in the rain, in the night, while they had been talking inside the house.
The farmer ran in and bolted his door.
Hogarth's father jumped into his car and drove off into the night and the rain as fast as he could, homeward.
The rain poured down. Hogarth's father drove hard. The headlights lit up the road and bushes.
Suddenly — two headlights in a tall treetop at the roadside ahead. Headlights in a treetop? How?
Hogarth's father slowed, peering up to see what the lights might be, up there in the treetop.
As he slowed, a giant iron foot came down in the middle of the road, a foot as big as a single bed. And the headlights came down closer. And a giant hand reached down toward the windshield.
The Iron Giant
Hogarth's father put on speed, he aimed his car at the foot.
Crash He knocked the foot out of the way.
He drove on, faster and faster. And behind him, on the road, a clanging clattering boom went up, as if
The Iron Giant roams the Earth eating metal and scaring farmers, but when a huge monster from outer space threatens the world, only the Iron Giant can fight it. Reprint. Movie tie-in. 50,000 first printing.
An iron giant saves the world in this contemporary classic.
A mysterious creature stalks the land, eating barbed wire and devouring tractors and plows. The farmers are mystified—and terrified. And then they glimpse him in the night: the Iron Giant, taller than a house, with glowing headlight eyes and an insatiable taste for metal. The hungry giant must be stopped at any cost.
Only a young boy named Hogarth is brave enough to lead the Iron Giant to a safe home. And only Hogarth knows where to turn when a space-bat as big as Australia, hungry for every living thing on Earth, darkens the sky.
First published in 1968, Ted Hughes's classic tale is a powerful tribute to peace on earth—and in all the universe. Of it Madeleine L'Engle wrote, "How grateful we should be for Ted Hughes's brilliant The Iron Giant. It speaks to all ages, and we need its message even more now." Philip Pullman called it "so gripping that when you begin to read it aloud, everyone stops to listen, young children and old people alike." Whether you think of it as a science fiction fantasy or a modern fairy tale or a tall-tale parable for today, you will never forget it.
About the Author
\Ted Hughes, late poet laureate of England, was born in Mytholmroyd, Yorkshire, in 1930. After attending Cambridge University, he went on to become a well-known poet, novelist, and essayist with dozens of books to his credit. His last work, Birthday Letters, a poetry collection chronicling his relationship with American poet Sylvia Plath, was published shortly before his death in 1998 at the age of 68.
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