Study Guide

Archie Meeks in Turtle in Paradise

By Jennifer L. Holm

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Archie Meeks

A slimy salesman with a penchant for conning people, Archie pulls one over on skeptical Turtle. He plays with her mom's heart for a long time, only to eventually take their money and split—before he does, though, Turtle actually starts to believe in the happy ending he promises.

Early on, Archie explains his job to Turtle in the following way:

"Nobody needs fancy face cream. A lady buys it because she wants to feel young or find a husband or feel prettier than her neighbor," he told me. "All I do is sell her that dream, bottled up nice and tidy in a cream, or maybe a new hat, or some brushes." (9.44)

Selling dreams sounds corny, but when you think about it, that's exactly what Archie does—and in a pretty shady way. He's the master at finding just the right angle and compliment to get his products off the shelves. And while we get that's his job and we also understand that times are tough in the Great Depression, when he starts playing with people's hearts, that's a different story. It's one thing to promise miracles from a face cream; it's quite another to steal someone's money and run away after you promised to buy them a house and be a family.

For Turtle, it's not the money that she's upset about (although that's a bummer); it's the fact that she no longer gets the family and house she's always dreamed about. And that's Archie's fault. For the record, though, we think it's pretty darn sleazy to steal money from a kid.

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