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58 pages 1 hour read

Gordon Korman

Swindle

Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 2008

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Symbols & Motifs

The Babe Ruth Baseball Card

The Babe Ruth baseball card that Griffin finds in the old Rockford house is the primary symbol in the book. As a rare item worth a substantial amount of money, the card represents Griffin’s and Swindle’s hopes and dreams. When Griffin comes upon the old desk in the Rockford house, he notes that it “wasn’t exactly Antiques Roadshow quality” (13). This reference conjures images of people discovering that a family heirloom is even more valuable than they thought or that an item they believed to be valuable is inauthentic or more common than they realized. These two options face Griffin when he discovers the baseball card and he cannot help fantasizing about its potential value. When he learns its true value, he feels like he hit the jackpot. Swindle feels the same way, and because Griffin does not initially know the card’s value, Swindle purchases it for a fraction of its worth. Griffin’s dream is to help his family, while Swindle’s dream is to get rich. The fact that neither Griffin nor Swindle ends up with the card implies that waiting for a windfall is not the best way to solve life’s problems.

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