Study Guide

Dead End in Norvelt Chapter 5

By Jack Gantos

Chapter 5

  • Meet Bunny, a.k.a Stella: Jack's best friend.
  • She's a pixie-sized girl whose father owns the funeral parlor. She has a good sense of humor, and is one tough and smart cookie. We like this girl already.
  • Another flashback, this time to when Jack and Bunny first met. Bunny's contemplating taking a casket to school for show-and-tell. When she notices that Jack is a little squeamish about the subject, she amps things up by talking about how cremation "burn[s] people to a crisp" (5.6).
  • She oh-so-kindly tries to help Jack get over his fear by making him touch a corpse. Um, not so much. Jack is so horrified that he runs straight out of the funeral parlor—with Bunny laughing all the way.
  • Back to the present: Bunny gives Jack Mrs. Slater's dentures as a joke. She tells him a creepy (and probably untrue) story: that Mrs. Slater had been found by the firemen when she was still alive, and that she was clacking out "Help me" in Morse code with the dentures (5.34)
  • Aaaaand: here's another bloody nose.
  • Jack's mother shows up at the ball field, stinking mad at Jack for leaving the house.
  • The world's most humiliating chase ensues: a teenage boy, nose spouting blood, getting chased around the ball field by his mom. We might have to leave the room, we're so embarrassed.
  • His mother finally catches him at home plate, and hauls him off home.
  • Jack is worried that he's never going to live down this humiliating incident, like in the case of his cousin Bruce—now forever known as "Wee-Wee" because of an unfortunate childhood urination accident. Jack's new nickname? "Headless Turkey Boy" (5.52).
  • Ultimately, Jack gets grounded for the entire summer. Not very awesome.
  • On the upside, his mother agrees that he can help out Miss Volker whenever she needs it. Super fun summer, right?