Study Guide

Penn Webb in Crash

By Jerry Spinelli

Penn Webb

Young Penn, despite being the sweetest soul on earth, is Crash's sworn enemy. At least, in Crash's book. Penn doesn't have enemies because he's relentlessly cheerful. The late-in-life son of his parents, he's also super square. How square, you ask? Well, let's just say that he actually refers to himself as a "happy little surprise" (2.30).

Bless his little heart.

Penn is such a positive person that he'd probably be annoying if he wasn't so adorbs. (He's a cheerleader for Crash's football team, which pretty much says it all.) He's the kind of guy who, upon being threatened with a kitchen knife, responds by inviting the guy to dinner. (Yes, that really happened with Crash.) He's also the kind of guy who doesn't let pranks like mustard-filled tennis shoes get him down.

Instead, he's all about lifting other people up. Penn is practically a saint, sacrificing his most prized possession, which is a tin of mud (yeah, you read that right), to someone whom he thinks needs it more. Crash treats him like dirt, but Penn would probably give him the shirt off his back.

Or the dirt in his tin, as it were.

Though he's the second-most important character, there's not a ton to say about Penn because he's sort of one-dimensional. Moreover, he doesn't change over the course of the novel; instead, he is an agent of change who helps Crash become a better dude.

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