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Billy the Kid

            The Collected Works of Billy the Kid, by Michael Ondaatje, is an interesting piece which depicts the life of William Bonney, a life sucked into a world of violence and becomes one of the most famous men in the history of our nation. The author uses many poems, novels, articles, and much of his own work to show the life of Billy the Kid. After reading this work, I found it to be very difficult to follow. This book is put together in a very strange way. The author takes different poems and stories and just puts them all together in no real chronological way. Many of the stories and poems in my opinion were very difficult to understand. I found myself reading a poem two or three times just to get a main idea of what is going on. .
             The main reason I found it to be hard to follow certain poems, was the fact that the author creates certain mental images in the readers head; however, these mental images are very hard to see. One poem that I found very interesting and powerful, was about Billy the kid already being dead, and what it would be like to dig him up from his grave. On page 97, the author starts the poem with "Imagine if you dug him up and brought him out." This, I believe, is referring to Billy in his grave. "You"d see very little. There"d be the buck teeth. Perhaps Garrett's bullet no longer in thick wet flesh would roll in the skull like a marble." This paints a gruesome picture in the readers head, imagining the skull of Billy the Kid with a small bullet rolling around inside of it. The author continues with this mental image. "From the head there"d be a trail of vertebrae like a row of pearl buttons off a rich coat down to the pelvis." This is an interesting simile that the author uses, because he is comparing Billy's spinal cord to buttons on a rich coat. "The arms would be cramped on the edge of what was the box. And a pair of handcuffs holding ridiculously the fine ankle bones.

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