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Dead End in Norvelt

Dead End in Norvelt

by Jack Gantos

Dead End in Norvelt Characters

Meet the Cast


Jack Gantos

Jack is our hero—but to be honest, he's not much of a hero, at least at first. Instead, he's a skinny twelve-year-old with a tendency to get nosebleeds and not much of a backbone. (Okay, we don't...

Miss Volker

Miss Volker is Norvelt's medical examiner and obituary writer. Well-respected in the town (though slightly feared because of her morbid profession), she's "worth her weight in gold" (2.20). That's...

Jack's Mother (Mrs. Gantos)

Jack's mom embodies the spirit and values of the original Norvelt: she is community-focused and is always ready to lend a helping hand to anyone who needs it. She grew up in Norvelt, and "[s]he kne...

Jack's Father (Mr. Gantos)

Well, they do say opposites attract, right? That's about the only reason we can imagine why Jack's mom and dad got together, because Jack's father is his wife's polar opposite. For example:He hates...

Stella "Bunny" Huffer

Bunny is Jack's best friend (not to mention his foil—check out the "Character Roles" section for more on that). She's also got one ironic name, because she's anything but Bunny like—except for...

Mr. Spizz

Think of Mr. Spizz as a more sinister version of Henry from Eureka: he's a jack-of-all-trades, a man-about-town, and (apparently) a pillar of the community: as a member of the Norvelt Association f...

Mr. Huffer

Mr. Huffer owns the funeral parlor that sponsors Jack's baseball team, and, more importantly, he's Bunny's dad. Gantos (the author) really has fun with Mr. Huffer's description, making him seem lik...

Girl Scouts (Mertie-Jo Kernecky and Betsy Howdi)

There aren't too many other kids in Dead End in Norvelt—but there are a couple of girl scouts. (Where else do you think they got the cookies?)The HottieMertie-Jo Kernecky is the closest thing to...

Mr. Greene

Mr. Greene is the publisher of the Norvelt News. We don't see much of him (only when Jack delivers the obituaries), but what we do see of him suggests that he's smart and perceptive. Jack shows us...

The Old Ladies

The poor old women who are poisoned are mostly plot devices that move the action of the novel forward. Too bad for them, right? All of these unfortunate dames were among the original residents of N...

Hells Angels

It's not too surprising that, with a name like Hells Angels, these guys are bad news. (Although you'll be glad to know they've cleaned up their act a little since the 1960s.)DeadThe first Hells Ang...

Miss Volker's Sister

We never actually meet Miss Volker's sister (she doesn't even get a name), because she left her hometown recently, and now lives in Florida. She is an important presence in the book, though, since...

The Farrier

Here's another unnamed character who seems to be here pretty much to teach a lesson: don't make snap judgments based on appearances. Jack mistakes him for a Hells Angel, which isn't too surprising:...

Dr. Metz and Mrs. Woodcliff

Dr. Metz is the town doctor, and—Mrs. Woodcliff is his receptionist. Dr. Metz recommends that Jack have his nose fixed and eat iron-fortified cereal to help his nosebleeding condition (7.18). He'...
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