Study Guide

The Egypt Game Family

By Zilpha Keatley Snyder

Family

Chapter 2

It hadn't occurred to April that Caroline had moved because of her—so she could have a bedroom of her own. She knew she ought to feel grateful, but for some reason what she really felt was angry. What made Caroline think that April was going to be with her long enough for it to make any difference whether she had a room of her own or not? (2.14)

Instead of thinking about how her grandmother has sacrificed and made changes in order to accommodate April's arrival, April just feels trapped and angry. April showers, indeed.

She came because she had been sent away by Dorothea, her beautiful and glamorous mother, to live with a grandmother she hardly knew, and who wore her gray hair in a bun on the back of her head. (2.1)

Well that captures April's emotion in one fell bun. "Sent away" sounds kind of melodramatic, but that's how April feels when she first comes to stay with her grandmother. It's not that she has anything against Caroline, exactly—at least, aside from that horrid, unfashionable bun—the real problem is just that Caroline isn't Dorothea.

Chapter 4
Melanie Ross

"You don't like your grandmother very much, do you?"
April just shrugged, but her eyes got narrow.
"I don't see why," Melanie said. "She seems pretty nice to me."
"She doesn't like my mother," April said. "She doesn't even think that Dorothea's going to send for me to come home pretty soon." (4.12-15)

The tension between April and Caroline is strong enough that even Melanie can pick up on it. April explains it away by saying that Caroline disapproves of Dorothea—and at this point, April thinks she'll always be on her mother's side.

Chapter 8

At first it was the empty mailbox to try not to think about—not a single letter from Dorothea for over a month. And then at last there was a letter—and even more to worry about. Dorothea was back in Hollywood. She must have gotten all of April's letters, but she didn't even mention the question that April asked in every one. (8.31)

So much for April's total adoration of her mom—Dorothea isn't exactly the most caring or responsive parent. Even though April has written her plenty of letters, Dorothea doesn't write back for a long, long time. And when she does, she's intentionally vague about when April can move back home.

Chapter 13

The letter was from Dorothea, and it was very cheery and chatty—and it said that Dorothea and Nick had gotten married. Dorothea chatted about how happy she and Nick were, and how she'd moved into Nick's apartment and there really wasn't much room. (13.13)

Ouch. Poor April's hopes are dashed. Not only was April not included in her mom's wedding—now it seems like she's not welcome in her mother's new home. And all that bad news in a cheery, chatty tone is just adding insult to injury.

Hot tears had drowned April's eyes and painful gulps climbed up her throat. She had hated the hand on her shoulder and she hated Caroline because it was all her fault. She had been all right until Caroline came in—just angry. Mad—madmad, but all right. And then Caroline had to come in and make her cry. (13.17)

Even though April knows that her mother is the one who has abandoned her, she still feels irrationally angry at Caroline. She has to take it out on someone—and Caroline is the only person around she can lash out at.

Her father's opinion was that "we can't keep them cooped up forever," and fortunately he won—on the condition that Marshall and Melanie promise not to play alone. So it all had to wait until the Rosses could get around to talking with Mrs. Hall and Mrs. Chung and get everything all decided—and by then it was already Thursday. (13.10)

All of the families in the building consult each other when it comes to deciding if their children can play outside again because they all care about the safety of their kids. They finally reach a decision and say that the kids can play outside as long as they stick together. Looks like the Rosses and the Halls and the Chungs are all expanding into one big family.

Chapter 18

He had rushed Marshall and Melanie into the car and they had driven to the school where their mom taught, and then they had all gone out to dinner. It was an exciting and unusual evening because until Dad got out of school, money was scarce, and they didn't eat out very often. (18.2)

The Ross family may not have a lot of money at their disposal, but they're still a loving, caring family. Melanie and Marshall are always delighted to spend time with their parents, and when they get to do something out of the ordinary, it's even more special.

Chapter 21

When April realized that Caroline was crying, she began to cry, too. She hadn't cried at all until then, and she really didn't want to, but when they both stopped crying, the tension was gone and the shaking, and she felt much better. She was suddenly very tired and sleepy. "Grandma," she said, "would you ask them if we can go home now? I'm terribly tired." (21.44)

When Caroline comes to pick April up at the police station, April realizes just how much her grandmother cares about her—and finally willingly calls her "Grandma" (instead of "Caroline") and admits that the apartment they share is truly her home. It's a big moment for April.

Chapter 22

Thank you for inviting me to Palm Springs. It sounds like lots of fun. But Grandma and I have our plans all made for Christmas Eve and I have a date to spend part of Christmas Day with my friend, Melanie. So I guess I can't make it this time. (22.34)

April's been waiting for months for her mother to send for her, but when it happens, she finds that she's no longer interested. Instead of going to Dorothea, April wants to spend the holidays with her real family and friends. April showers lead to May flowers after all!

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