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Dead End in Norvelt

Dead End in Norvelt


by Jack Gantos

Dead End in Norvelt Memory and the Past Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #1

When Mrs. Roosevelt spoke at the opening of the school she told the students to learn their history or they'd be "doomed to dust" like one of the Lost Worlds. (2.118)

What's up with the Lost Worlds that keep coming up? No—it has nothing to do with that movie about the rampaging dinosaurs. (Well, on second thought, maybe it does—a little). It's a metaphor for lost histories and lost ways of being. What are some Lost Worlds that you can think of?

Quote #2

Be suspicious of history that is written by the conquerors. (7.1)

Because obviously the conquerors are going to make themselves look good. Here, Miss Volker hits upon a major lesson she keeps trying to teach Jack: that history often depends on who does the telling. Because of this, a lot of history (of the oppressed and overlooked) goes unrecorded. If this sounds familiar, that's because Winston Churchill said something pretty similar: History is written by the victors.

Quote #3

"'Hey, Dad [...] Which do you think is more deadly? Past history or future history?"

He didn't even slow down to think about it. "Future history," he yelled back without hesitation. "Each war gets worse because we get better at killing each other." (9.29)

Whoa, this one stopped us in our tracks. What does "future history" mean? Well, here, it seems to mean all the wars and major world events that are going to happen, but haven't happened yet. And that brings up something that blows our minds: we're living through history. What's happening to us right now is what, someday, kids will read about in their textbooks. So you'd better pay attention.

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