Study Guide

A Long Way from Chicago Contrasting Regions

By Richard Peck

Contrasting Regions

When Joey and Mary Alice go to visit Grandma Dowdel in A Long Way from Chicago, it's always a bit of a culture shock. Even though Grandma doesn't live that geographically far from Chicago, the whole vibe of her little town is completely different.

Joey and Mary Alice go from a bustling city filled with excitement to a sleepy little country house, where they're put to work catching catfish, making gooseberry pies, and canning tomatoes. It's a whole different way of life…and the kids come to look forward to this strange, fascinating contrast.

Questions About Contrasting Regions

  1. Why is Grandma Dowdel's town considered "a long way" from Chicago?
  2. What is Joey and Mary Alice's life like in Chicago?
  3. How is Grandma Dowdel's town less exciting than Chicago? How is it more exciting?

Chew on This

Although Joey and Mary Alice initially assume that Grandma Dowdel's small town will be boring and quiet, they actually end up with more excitement and adventures on their trips to see her—because she believes in letting them get their hands dirty.

The title, A Long Way from Chicago, doesn't refer to Grandma Dowdel's town's geographic proximity to the big city but rather to the small town way of life that's very different from the fast-paced Chicago environment.

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