40 pages 1 hour read

Irene Hunt

No Promises In The Wind

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 1970

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Symbols & Motifs

Potatoes and Other Food

Food plays a significant role in the novel, as the main characters spend much of their time trying to alleviate their hunger. Many different types of food appear in the story, including rabbit stew, bread, and “thin soup” (126). However, potatoes play a particularly prominent role, and they serve as the catalyst in an important early scene: At the beginning of the story, Josh sparks a clash with his father when he asks his mother for more potatoes at the dinner table. His father angrily responds, “No there aren’t any more potatoes, and if you haven’t had enough, that is just too damned bad. Do you think your paltry little job gives you special privileges to eat when everyone else at the table is hungry, too?” (17). His father’s angry outburst prompts Josh to leave home and try to make it on his own. In Chapter 3, spuds again appear as symbols of the desperate times. A farmer gives Josh and Joey a bag with six potatoes. While the boys are cooking one of the spuds over a campfire, a group of older boys attacks them and steals their potatoes. This scene also occurs at a turning point because after it, the boys hit rock bottom and are reduced to dumpster diving for nourishment.