near a fictional
town call Bleke in 1933.
Characters – The main character of this story is the author, Max Braithwaite, but
addition characters in this chapter are Dave McDougall, Mrs. McDougall, and their
children Mary, Heather, Myron, and Charles.
Antecedent Action – The antecedent action in this chapter is when Max outlines
the events leading up to the moment when he left the train at Bleke. Those events
included: borrowing money for Max to finish Normal School, the incessant job searching
with the eternal job refusals, also when Max started training in motor mechanics and,
finally, when Max received a letter from the Willowgreen School District that there was a
job opening if he wished to take the offer.
Point of View – This novel was told in the first person point of view.
Inciting Force – The inciting force is when Max got the job at Willowgreen and
also when Max arrived at the Bleke train station.
2. The school didn’t have much substance to it. The upstairs was 25 feet square with
windows on one side, it was all one room except for a small cloak room and closet, it had
a blackboard, and organ, a map with pictures of candy bars filling the oceans. It also had a
Union Jack pinned up above the blackboard, a picture of King George V, also there were
six rows of desks, and a teacher’s desk at the very front and center of the classroom.
The downstairs of the schoolhouse had three rooms(two of the rooms were what
the teacherage was made up of). In the first room there was a large coal furnace to heat
the entire building, a coal bin, and two chemical toilets(one for the boys and one for the
girls), this room was half of the basement.
The other two rooms were each about 12 and a half feet long and about 8 feet
wide, and both possessed a small basement window. In the living room there was a
heat-range, a table, a chair and a coal oil lamp. The bedroom contained a bed, a
washstand, a basin and a large water pitcher with no handle.
(Picture on next page)
3.Pork was the only kind of available meat that there was to eat. Many mice were
living in the teacherage with Max. The North Star was the only piece of equipment that
Max could use to tell what direction he was going in the dark of night.
What these three things have in common is that Max has never encountered any of
these with such dependency, and that they were literally the only things that could keep
4.Pearlie Sinclair – She was seven years old, very dirty, skinny, wispy-haired, rickety
and very undernourished
Myron McDougall – He was a trouble-maker, and he couldn’t read a single word,
yet he had memorized every story in the reader.
Sammy Sinclair – He was as dirty as his sister, he had scabies.
Summer Littlewood – She was always clean and neat in appearance, and almost
always wore a smile
Alan Littlewood – He was the largest boy in the room, and usually smiling. He also
liked to play with the little children.
Paul Friesen – He was a Ukrainian boy that was very smart and neat.
Mary Field – She was a child who rarely spoke or smiled, she was also the only
grade six student.
1) What he could teach the children that they might need to know for future use,
because all of them knew perfectly well how to live in their own society, so Max didn’t
know how else he could make a contribution.
2) That the curriculum had changed drastically from when Max went to school,
and Max also had no new text books that included what needed to be learned by the
children so that they followed the curriculum.
3) How to teach the little children to read, without them just memorizing their
4) What the children would do while Max wasn’t working with them.
1) Max realized that not all the children would grow up wanting to become
farmers or farmer’s wives, so he decided that he would teach them what they needed to
know to live and function in towns and cities.
2) Max decided to just focus on teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic.
3) Max used sight recognition, and phonetics to teach the children to read. In
detail, he wrote small, easy to remember words on the board, and then made little
sentences from them, and made the children read them.
4) Max decided to assign reports from his set of encyclopedias to the older kids,
and the younger kids would play with plasticine or practice counting pegs.
6.- ?My bed was covered with tiny bodies stacked across it like cordwood.? pg. 55
– ?She threw her beefy hands at the organ keys…? pg. 57
– ?…and came up with a wail like a sick cat.? pg. 57
– ?Then Grandma Wilson banged the organ…? pg. 57
– ?…Orville Jackson sawed at his fiddle…? pg. 57
– ?…take my by the shoulders with two immense hands and literally lift me into
place, like a mother lifting a child.? pg. 58
7. a)- Only punish one kid, you can get the other one later.
– Never punish a large amount of people just so you can punish the few who did it
– Don’t become best friends with children, or else they will expect that treatment
all the time.
– Punish kids when your mad, cause they know your mad and if you wait to punish
them, it will confuse them in the future.
– Don’t back yourself into a corner, in which case you have no choice but to lash
7. b)Because Max had saw that Jake had a weakness, and Jake didn’t like it, so then
Jake hit Max where it hurt and stopped supplying water, its sort of like the idea ?an eye
for an eye, a tooth for a tooth?. Max hurt Jake in one way, so Jake hurt Max in another
way, like revenge.
8. Harris Montgomery believed in socialism. He believed that if every person or
family was paid a monthly allowance from the government, then the depression would
end, because then the people would spent more, so others would have more, so there
would be more money circulating around all classes of wealth, not just the upper class.
Lyle English’s ideas differed greatly from Harris. Lyle says that every man should
work for what he wants. Why should lazy people be paid the same amount as hard
working people? He believed that if you wanted something you have to get it through
your own sweat and hard work, and if you didn’t want to work for it then it wasn’t to
important to you.
9. For one, the fact that the children hadn’t even sung ?Hark the Herald Angels Sing?
to the right music. The other part of the Christmas pageant that was not in the program
was when Max ran out of the schoolhouse because the rotting hide that was used as a
beard was starting to smell, and Max’s nose was right above it, and almost cut off his
oxygen supply completely.
10.- She had to work harder than ever before.
– Bert kept saying ?we never died a winter yet? so many times that it drove Alice
– She thought that Bert’s farm would be beautiful, but it was nothing but dust
– No change in her daily routine.
– Bert slaughtered her pet cow in front of her, and laughed when she got sick.
– Bert told the whole district all the things that Alice sometimes does(like hiding
from Indians) and he never drops them, he just keeps laughing at them without ever
thinking how Alice might feel about it.
– She was alone all the time, and she hated it like that.
11. Tic tac toe was a game played by the children(different from the one we know) during
recess and lunch hour when it was to cold to go outside. Hockey was what was played
when there was a spring thaw, and then it froze again, so it made a skating rink by the
school, so the children played hockey during recess and noon hour. During the time when
it was to wet to play hockey or baseball, the older children were in the barn, and Max
thought that they were having sex(but this was never actually confirmed) during the lunch
The thing that these three activities had in common is that they were done at
school, and during recess and noon hour.
12.The three problems face by farmers in this time were Russian thistle, dust storms,
and grasshoppers. Dust storms were worse than blizzards, because there is no protection
against a dust storm. Russian thistle was so abundant that it would dwarf the crops, and
even destroy property when too many were pile along side something. The grasshopper
plague was nearing a peak, and the grasshoppers ate the wheat at every stage and
completely destroyed some crops every year.
13.He adopted a coyote named Raffles, and then after that Max had no mice problems
because Raffles stayed up all night eating them.
14.- ?He slithered around like a Bantu tribesman on skates…? pg. 141
– ?That streak of gray lightning…? pg. 144
15.- The inspector came when Max had slacked off the most because it was when he
least expected the inspector to visit.
– The children were blushing and hiding and forgetting everything they learned
when the inspector asked them questions.
– The inspector asked questions that Max hadn’t taught.
– The gopher tails that the children had caught were rotting in the bottom drawer
of Max’s desk, and the inspector found them.
– The teacherage was a big mess, and Mr. Woods wanted to see it, after that Mr.
16.Max didn’t want to live alone and eat old or rotten food. Also the District had
made Max bitter, so Max could stay there and be bitter or go home.
Max meant that he had been treated like a doormat by the District, no one cared at
all about Max, they treated his as they wanted, and Max wasn’t going to get paid. So
Max felt that the people had used him as they wanted, or in other terms, they had ?walked
all over him’ and he wanted to state that he was not a doormat, so he wouldn’t let them
walk on him anymore.