Study Guide

A Long Way from Chicago Community

By Richard Peck

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In A Long Way from Chicago, Grandma Dowdel and her fellow townspeople have built up quite the little community. They don't always get along, but the folks in the community know everything about one another through the grapevine.

They also tend to get involved in each other's business, like when Vandalia Eubanks is planning to run away with Junior Stubbs. The whole town sits outside the train station to wait for the elopement, as though it's some kind of spectator event. Wow. These guys need a better movie theater.

Questions About Community

  1. Does Grandma Dowdel consider herself to be a part of the community?
  2. Why does Mrs. Weidenbach like all of these town events so much?
  3. How do Joey and Mary Alice feel about the people who live in Grandma Dowdel's small town?

Chew on This

Even though Grandma Dowdel isn't super social and doesn't like to flaunt herself at town events, she's still an integral part of the community—and many people rely on her support and kindness.

At first, Joey and Mary Alice feel like complete outsiders when they visit Grandma Dowdel, but over time, they come to form their own friendships outside of their grandmother's sphere of influence.

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