Dead End in Norvelt


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Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos

Even through the blood I could smell the flinty gunpowder from the bullet.

Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos Content Rating and Review | The Literate Mother

Dad is going to kill me, I thought. Before I could fully imagine the tragic end of my life I heard an ambulance wailing up the Norvelt road. The driver jumped out and sprinted toward her house and jerked open the porch door. If I shot Miss Volker through the head Mom will never believe it was an accident. I lowered myself down onto the picnic bench and then onto the grass which was slippery from my blood. I trotted across the yard to our screen door.

I was still bleeding so I stood outside and dripped on the doormat. Did she get her arm stuck going after it?

How could that bullet have gotten into the chamber? The ammo clip was off. Plus, it was hard to fall asleep with my nose stuffed with massive wads of bloody tissue while breathing through my dry mouth. I turned on my bedside lamp and picked a book from one of the tall stacks Mom had given me. She did some charity auction work for the old elementary school over in Hecla which was closing, and in return they gave her a bunch of books including their beat-up Landmark history series, which had dozens of titles about famous explorers.

I was a little too drifty in school so she thought it was a good idea that I read more books, and she knew I liked history and adventure stories. In Pizarro and fewer than two hundred men captured Atahualpa, the Inca chief, who had an army of fifty thousand soldiers. Pizarro then held Atahualpa hostage for a ransom of gold so the Incas brought Pizarro piles of golden life-size people and animals and plants—all sculpted from solid gold as if the Incas had the Midas touch while they strolled through their fantastic cities and farms and jungles and everything they even gently brushed up against turned into pure gold.

But no one will ever again see that life-size golden world because once the conquistadors got their greedy hands on the gold they melted it down. They turned all those beautiful golden sculptures into boring Spanish coins and shipped boatloads of them back to the king and queen of Spain, who loved the gold but wanted even more. Pizarro then raided all the temples and palaces and melted down the gold he found and sent that back. Pizarro even dug up the dead when it was discovered that they were buried with gold. He had their jewelry melted down and sent back to Spain. They melted the gold ore and sent that back to Spain, and when there was no more gold Pizarro broke his promise and strangled the Inca king.

He turned the Inca people into slaves and they died by the thousands from harsh work and disease. Gold had driven the conquistadors crazy and they ended up killing themselves and all of those poor Incas. It was a really tragic story. I just wished I had been with Atahualpa and his army when the conquistadors fired off that blunderbuss.

I could have told Atahualpa that I had fired off a rifle too and that it was scary, but not to panic. Then we could have ordered the Inca army to capture the gold-crazed conquistadors and saved the Inca civilization, and history would have been different. Read aloud the obituary of a house that Miss Volker writes for the Norvelt News pp.


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Have students write an obituary of an old toy. Encourage them to include personal information. They may also wish to make it humorous. Discuss how he is the victim in both incidents. Debate whether there is any teamwork in the Gantos family. Trace their relationship from the beginning of the novel to the end. At what point does he become her friend? Spizz and Miss Volker. Spizz enjoys pestering Jack. Debate whether he is jealous of Jack's relationship with Miss Volker. Why does Jack's dad call it a "Commie" town?

Gantos miss most about the "old" Norvelt? How is she trying to instill a sense of community in Jack? Why does he feel that squealing on his dad was a cowardly thing to do? How does it take courage to let Miss Volker operate on his nose? How does she also help him gain courage? Gantos means when she tells Jack, "Remember, a person first lies to himself before he lies to others" pp. Why does it take Mr.

Gantos a while to admit that Jack is telling the truth? How do they lie to themselves and to the entire community? How might their definition of a man differ?

Review of the Day: Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos

Debate whether this interferes with Jack's journey toward manhood. Which character is most responsible for his coming of age? Such words may include: sinister p. The paper reprints old columns that she wrote when her hands were good. Ask each student to pick a date in July or August and research historical events that happened on that day. For another assignment, ask students to think about the humor in both character and plot in the novel. Then have them do a funny live radio interview with Miss Volker and Jack about the day Miss Volker is held captive by Mr.

Spizz, how she got him to confess to the murders, and how he arranged his getaway. Ask other folks in Norvelt to react to his crime.

YOUR STORIES

A lot or a little? The parents' guide to what's in this book. Educational Value. Positive Messages. What parents need to know Parents need to know that this book is filled with comic violence and unlikely scenarios, but it also includes an overriding theme of the importance of social justice. Continue reading Show less. Stay up to date on new reviews. Get full reviews, ratings, and advice delivered weekly to your inbox. User Reviews Parents say Kids say. It reminded me of the small town where I grew up, except Continue reading.

Report this review. Adult Written by shanerocks April 5, Excellent very good book. Kid, 9 years old December 23, This book has been one of the best cases where I picked up a random book off the shelf and read it. I read this book really qu Teen, 14 years old Written by Kriti Gupta February 24, If your life What's the story? Is it any good? Talk to your kids about For kids who love fiction. Award-Winning Books. Our editors recommend.

Okay for Now. A troubled boy discovers his self-worth through art. Inventive story of runaways in New York, 50 years apart. Rap star's moving novel about a bully redeemed. About these links Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. No question about that. Before it seems as though the whole summer might pass him by.

Is there something natural or unnatural behind these deaths? And more importantly, will Jack ever get to play an honest game of baseball under the shining sun ever again?

Common Sense says

Gantos does precisely that with this book too. I mean, think about it. The other theme?

Izzard argues that Shaggy and Scooby are significant literary characters because they are cowards and you root for them. Cowardice is a great theme of Novelt too, but one could easily argue that though the main character might describe himself as a coward dead people do nothing for him the reader could see that the opposite is the case. They wear tough clothes and get into fights and look mean. Yet Miss Volker puts her finger on it when she calls them cowards. They sneak into small towns burning down buildings just for the heck of it.

They are cowards. Jack, in contrast, is willing to do what is frightening to him. The Angels could hardly say as much.

Dead End in Norvelt (Norvelt Series #1)

Of course the whole reason to come to this book in the first place is to bear witness to the poetry of the language. Individual lines would just jump out at me and demand to be noticed. These are just some of my own personal favs. Some folks will be turned off by the less than enticing details surrounding the book. What I did have a small problem with was the fact that though the book is set in the post-WWII era, Jack is one heckuva forward thinking guy. The kind of kid who sides with the Aztecs when he reads about their slaughter at the hands of the Spaniards. Seemed a bit out of place in an otherwise consistent novel.

In the Preface, Mr. Gantos does not care to specify which elements of this story have their basis in truth and which have their basis in far-flung fiction. By and large, the book is built for a stage production. Kids, however, will be most intrigued by the book if you hook them on the darker elements.


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  8. The sheer gushing torrents of blood this has got to be the most inadvertent blood-soaked book of the year , the deaths, and even the mystery, when told properly, should lure them in. I walked into this title looking for an explanation of what makes Jack Gantos tick.

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