62 pages 2 hours read

Gordon Korman


Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 2021

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Symbols & Motifs

The Paper Chain

Within the narrative, the paper chain symbolizes the six million Jewish people who died in the Holocaust. On another level, the paper chain also symbolizes how one small action can grow into something larger when a community acts together. The project begins with one loop, and then a few hundred loops created by students at Chokecherry middle school, but it grows to six million because more and more people get involved. First, it is community organizations within Chokecherry, and then it is communities across American and the world. Each student and each community that joins the project is a “link” in the chain of humanity that carries knowledge forward. As Link says at his bar mitzvah, “The Nazis tried to cut off my family line. With your support, I’m here to show that it’s still going” (208). As long as there are people to remember, the chain will continue to grow.

The Blank Wall

In Chapter 1, Michael describes the swastika as “spray-painted in red on the blank expanse of wall above the staircase leading to the second story” (5). The custodians quickly repaint the wall in white, but across the narrative, characters mention that the specter of the swastika lingers long after it has physically been removed.