40 pages 1 hour read

Irene Hunt

No Promises In The Wind

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 1970

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Chapters 1-3Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 1 Summary

The story opens on a chilly October morning in 1932. Fifteen-year-old Josh Grondowski rises early to deliver newspapers in his Chicago neighborhood. The small amount of money he makes from the paper route helps his struggling family. Josh’s father, Stefan, has been out of work for eight months, and the family’s savings were lost when the banks failed. Josh’s sister was just laid off from her clerking job. Besides Josh’s newspaper money, the family’s only income comes from the meager earnings his mother makes ironing clothes at a laundry.

Josh has a gift for music and plays the piano. He even composes his own pieces. He inherited his musical talents, as his mother, Mary, used to play piano—and taught it until no one in the neighborhood had money to pay for lessons. Stefan once loved music too, and his parents were musicians in Poland. However, he now shuns music as an extravagance that he can no longer indulge in during these hard times. He experienced poverty during his childhood and blames Josh’s grandfather for not putting aside his music for practical work. He tells his wife, “These hands, Mary. […] These are a man’s hands. They’ve become calloused and they’ve been split sometimes, and bleeding.