Study Guide

Dead End in Norvelt Chapter 7

By Jack Gantos

Chapter 7

  • Jack and his mother visit the town doctor to check into getting Jack's nose capillaries cauterized.
  • Awkwardly, Jack watches his mother essentially beg the doctor to take some "homemade jarred fruit" as payment for his services (7.23). Guess the family really is poor.
  • Unfortunately, it's clear that the doctor's business operates on a cash-only basis.
  • After leaving the office, Jack's mom urges him to not be embarrassed by her request to barter. See, that's how the town used to run.
  • Jack isn't really down with this type of exchange system, and drums up some historical references in his head as proof: Captain Kidd wouldn't have paid his pirates in fish, and Alexander Graham Bell did not give away the telephone for free (7.32).
  • While Jack's mother values the old-style barter economy, she sure wishes she had cash to pay right now to get Jack's nose fixed.
  • When Jack asks if he can swap out a different punishment for being grounded, his mother tells him he can replant, tend and harvest some corn to feed the impoverished old folks.
  • Can't do it. Jack would be disobeying his dad, and he'd just have to mow it all down again.