“Down Pens” written by H.H. Munro  » Books  »
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  • Overall, I like the message the story sends and it makes me think about writing a letter or thank you note to someone

    • by C.Channing
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      “Down Pens” written by H.H Munro is about the conflict of whether or not to write people a “thank you” note every time they decide to go out and purchase you a gift.

      The story begins with Janetta struggling to write a “thank you” letter to the Froplinsons for a calendar they gave to her and Egbert as a gift. Egbert asks Janetta if she wrote the Froplinsons a “thank you” letter yet, and she tells him no because she has been writing “thank you” letters non-stop for the past two days and she’s tired. Egbert tells her it’s important for her to write the letter and that he’ll help her: He tells her what to write and she’ll write it.

      As the letter writing process begins, both Janetta and Egbert are combative over what should go into the letter. Janetta thinks Egbert


      is too redundant in his letter writing, and Egbert thinks Janetta may come off as insensitive. As they continue to debate about what to put in the letter, Egbert comes to his breaking point and tells Janetta to move away from the writing area: She moves and Egbert sits down grabbing a pen and some paper. Janetta asks what he is doing and Egbert tells her he is going to write to all the local newspaper about the inconvenience of writing “thank you” letters for every single gift received. He says the holidays would be better if they only had to write about the important matters of life and the usual “get well” letter. Egbert thinks that if someone really knows that you appreciate their gift, they won’t expect a letter every time. While Egbert is going off on his tangent, Janetta ...

      • asks him what is she suppose to write in the letter to the Froplinsons.

        After reading this story, I was a little confused about the relationship of the main characters: people are giving them holiday gifts together, which may mean they are a couple, but Egbert refers to an Aunt Susan which may make them brother and sister. Very confusing. I liked how the author made writing “thank you” letters important–in the terms of what is said–to Janetta because she wanted to make sure the people she was writing to really–I use the term loosely–know how much she appreciates their gift, even though she may not like them half the time. For example, the Froplinsons sent a William the Conquer Calendar with his quotes for each day, and she disliked the calendar; however, Janetta wanted to come off as sincere as possible in

        her “thank you” letter.

        The story also made me think of how significant letter writing was to people centuries ago: it was their only means of communication, and how in today’s society texting has become the norm for communication. Even Twitter has a level of its own when it comes to communication in one hundred and forty characters or less. Even though I don’t communicate with people using text messages or tweeting, it made me think about all the gifts I’ve received over the years and whether or not say the words “thank you” truly let the person know how appreciative I was. Even emails have taken away the humanization of what it meant to sit down and write a letter to someone.

        Overall, I like the message the story sends and it makes me think about writing a letter or “thank you” note to someone.




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    The review was published as it's written by reviewer in December, 2009. The reviewer certified that no compensation was received from the reviewed item producer, trademark owner or any other institution, related with the item reviewed. The site is not responsible for the mistakes made. 172012926430831/k2311a1220/12.20.09
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