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Dead End in Norvelt

Dead End in Norvelt

by Jack Gantos

Dead End in Norvelt Themes

Little Words, Big Ideas

Coming of Age

Let's throw in a driving metaphor, since Jack likes being on the road so much: during his twelfth summer, Jack hits that crucial moment when he's waving good-bye to childhood as he sees it receding...

Memory and the Past

Those who don't learn from the past are doomed to repeat it. Or, you know, something along those lines. Dead End in Norvelt is a book that believes in its history—from its historical setting to M...

Death

There's a lot of death going on in this book, from the title—Dead End in Norvelt, duh!—to dead deer, to tales of historical slaughter, to the murders taking place in the town. But there's no co...

Warfare

You might have noticed that there's a lot of violence relating to war going on in a book that is otherwise pretty comic and light-hearted. Dead End in Norvelt certainly isn't the first novel to thr...

Family

While Jack does have a pretty traditional family (no divorce here), things aren't perfect in the Gantos household. Dad is pretty much a kid in larger-sized clothing, and Mom is a bit arbitrary and...

Society and Class

Sure: the melting hands, rampaging Hells Angels, and Grim Reaper cosplay are fun and quirky additions to the ominous murder mystery that drives Dead End in Norvelt's plot. But if we scrape down und...

Lies and Deceit

If you haven't noticed, there are a lot of lying liars who tell lies in Norvelt. So, in a lot of ways, the conflict between characters in the novel stems from—wait for it!—people lying. While m...

Community

Since we find out early on in Dead End in Norvelt that Norvelt was founded as part of the New Deal to give poor people opportunities to help themselves and each other, it's clear that community is...
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