Study Guide

Crash Friendship

By Jerry Spinelli

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Chapter 3
Penn Webb

"I wanted to ask you if you would like to come to dinner at my house."

The only word I could think of was "Why?"

"Because you're my first friend in Pennsylvania." (3.16-3.18)

Why Penn thinks that Crash, a person who treats him like dirt, is his "friend" is beyond us. Is that being nice, or is that being delusional?

Chapter 4
John "Crash" Coogan

"Don't take it so hard," I told him. "Nobody beats me."

"That's not it," he said. He had on the glum monkey face again.

"So what is it?" He sniffed.

"Now you're not coming." He headed off down the street. (4.35-4.38)

Crash is so competitive that he thinks Penn is upset about losing the race. Turns out, Penn is disappointed Crash won't be coming over for dinner. This is so pathetic that even Crash, 5-year-old brute that he is, feels bad.

Chapter 5
Penn Webb

"John, I would like you to meet my mother and father [...]. Mother, Father, this is my best friend, John Patrick Coogan." (5.4)

If John Patrick Coogan is Penn's best friend, we'd hate to see his worst enemy. When you think of Penn introducing Crash this way, do you feel sorry for him? Envious of him? Something else?

Chapter 34
John "Crash" Coogan

"What were you doing in there?"

His tongue drilled into the doughnut and came out with a clump of jelly. He shrugged. "Lookin' around. Ain't that the old dude's room? Your grandfather?" (34.21-34.22)

Mike Deluca, Crash's best friend, isn't the most sensitive guy in the world. That's probably why Crash ditches him shortly after this incident, when Mike is disrespectful toward Scooter.

Chapter 36

Why wasn't I grabbing the gun and pumping a couple rounds into the victim myself? In fact, I did feel like grabbing the gun, but I felt more like shooting Deluca than Webb. Did that make me a dud? (36.25)

Crash worries about hanging on to Mike as a friend because of what people will think. Ultimately, that's not enough to save their friendship. This is an important step in the evolution of Crash's character.

Mike Deluca

"You're really acting weird."

I felt my neck getting warm. "What do you mean by that?"

"I don't know. You're just acting different. Like when I said let's trick Webb, you told me you weren't interested." (36.16-36.18)

Even though Crash feels like Mike is doing something wrong, he still worries about getting his approval. He cares a lot about what other people think. Why do you think that is?

Chapter 42
Mike Deluca

For a long time we just glared at each other. Then his fists went down, his shoulders drooped, his voice whined: "What's the matter with you?"

"Figure it out," I said. I went downstairs and out of the house. (42.25-42.26)

When Mike asks Crash what's going on, Crash tells him to figure it out. Let's help Mike out here: why is Crash so upset?

Chapter 46

I got down, feet in the blocks, right knee on the track, thumbs and forefingers on the chalk, eyes straight down—and right then, for the first time in my life, I didn't know if I wanted to win. (46.21)

Wow. Crash must care about Penn an awful lot to consider throwing the race. We know how competitive Crash can be. What do you think has made him think twice about finishing first?

Chapter 47

The principal gave the names of the three eighth graders; then he said, "And the anchor leg was run by Penn Webb, who brought the team from last place to second."

I could hear cheers from his homeroom down the hall. Inside, I cheered too. (47.5-47.6)

Admit it, you got a little lump in your throat when you read that line. No? We don't believe you. In any case, this is another important turning point for Crash, who learns that being kind to others can be a source of happiness.

Chapter 49

I've been invited to a Fourth of July part at Jane Forbes'.

Penn Webb is my best friend. (49.9-49.10)

In the last chapter, Crash lets us know it's official: he and Penn are best buds. And he's a better person. Well, it's about time.

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