Character Analysis: Dead End in Norvelt

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 535 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Mar 16, 2024

Words: 535|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Mar 16, 2024

Dead End in Norvelt is a novel by Jack Gantos that follows the story of a young boy named Jack Gantos, who is grounded for the entire summer after accidentally shooting off his father’s Japanese sniper rifle. Set in the small town of Norvelt, Pennsylvania during the 1960s, the novel is filled with quirky characters and humorous situations. In this essay, we will analyze the character of Jack Gantos and explore the ways in which he evolves throughout the novel.

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Jack Gantos, the protagonist of Dead End in Norvelt, is a complex and multi-dimensional character. At the beginning of the novel, Jack is portrayed as a mischievous and impulsive boy who often finds himself in trouble. He is fascinated with war and violence, and his obsession with these themes leads him to make the careless mistake of firing his father’s rifle. This incident sets off a chain of events that forces Jack to confront his own mortality and the consequences of his actions.

As the novel progresses, Jack undergoes significant growth and development. He begins to work for Miss Volker, an elderly neighbor and historian who is writing the town’s obituaries. Through his interactions with Miss Volker, Jack learns valuable lessons about history, responsibility, and the importance of preserving the past. He also discovers a newfound passion for writing and storytelling, which helps him cope with the challenges he faces.

One of the most compelling aspects of Jack’s character is his resilience in the face of adversity. Despite being grounded for the entire summer, Jack refuses to wallow in self-pity or despair. Instead, he finds creative ways to occupy his time and make the most of his situation. Whether he is helping Miss Volker with her obituaries, assisting his elderly neighbors, or embarking on imaginative adventures, Jack demonstrates a remarkable sense of determination and resourcefulness.

Furthermore, Jack exhibits a strong sense of empathy and compassion towards others. He forms meaningful connections with the people in his community and goes out of his way to help them in their times of need. Whether it is comforting a grieving widow or standing up to bullies on behalf of his friends, Jack consistently demonstrates a willingness to put others’ needs before his own. This selfless attitude endears him to the reader and makes him a truly admirable protagonist.

Another noteworthy aspect of Jack’s character is his sense of humor and wit. Despite the challenges he faces, Jack maintains a lighthearted and humorous outlook on life. His dry wit and comedic observations add levity to the novel and make the reading experience enjoyable. Jack’s ability to find humor in even the most difficult situations is a testament to his resilience and optimism.

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Jack Gantos is a compelling and well-rounded character whose growth and development form the heart of Dead End in Norvelt. Through his experiences, the reader is able to witness the transformative power of resilience, empathy, and humor. Jack’s journey serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of perseverance and the ability to find light in the darkest of circumstances. As the novel comes to a close, Jack emerges as a stronger and more mature individual, having learned valuable lessons that will stay with him for a lifetime.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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Character Analysis: Dead End in Norvelt. (2024, March 15). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 21, 2024, from
“Character Analysis: Dead End in Norvelt.” GradesFixer, 15 Mar. 2024,
Character Analysis: Dead End in Norvelt. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 21 Jun. 2024].
Character Analysis: Dead End in Norvelt [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Mar 15 [cited 2024 Jun 21]. Available from:
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