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Dead End in Norvelt

Dead End in Norvelt


by Jack Gantos

Dead End in Norvelt Coming of Age Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #1

I glanced at my hair in the mirror. My brown curls stood up on my head like a field planted with question marks. There was no reason to brush it. The question marks would just stand up into exclamation points and then wilt back over into question marks. (2.7)

Okay, aside from the fact that Jack reminds us of a cute little hedgehog here, this is a pretty good introduction to Jack's personality: he has a lot of questions. And when they're answered, he just has more. (Although we're not totally sure what the exclamation points are supposed to symbolize...)

Quote #2

She called me Jack when Dad was gone and Jackie when he was home. (4.66)

It looks like Mom drops the diminutive when Jack's dad is gone, and uses the more adult form of his name. So, she's kind of letting him test drive manhood in his father's absence. Why is this? Does the presence of another man in the house make Jackie seem younger by comparison—or does Jack's dad want to be the only man in town? Is this just another way that Mr. Gantos is keeping his son down?

Quote #3

I really wanted a car. A few older boys I knew were allowed to have a car once they learned how to drive a tractor. And now that I did all the tractor work around the house Dad said that if I could get a car for free he would help me fix it. (4.12)

Much like today, the ability to drive was a rite of passage for adolescents in the 1960s. Only, usually it involves a lot of waiting around at the DMV, and you probably didn't learn how to drive on a tractor. (We learned to drive on a golf cart. But don't tell our parents.)

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