43 pages 1 hour read

Richard Peck

The Teacher's Funeral

Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade

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Important Quotes

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“If your teacher has to die, August isn’t a bad time of year for it.”

(Chapter 2, Page 3)

In the very first sentence, Peck sets the humorous tone for The Teacher’s Funeral. It is never a good time to die, and Russell’s tongue-in-cheek comment is a lead-in to Russell’s passionate hope that without a teacher, his school will close. 

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“It occurred to me even that early in life that there’s not much romance in a woman’s soul.”

(Chapter 2, Page 10)

Russell’s 15-year-old view of “romance” is the excitement of seeing the new steam threshers. Even their names are exotic and stirring. Russell likes the threshers because they speak to his dream, tantalizing him with the future he imagines for himself. Tansy, lacking a love of farm “implements,” is unromantic in Russell’s mind. Russell’s comment is also comical because he has little insight into Tansy’s personal view of romance and does not even recognize it when various men seek her attentions. 

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“The twentieth century had found us at last, even here. We didn’t know how to look at something so new.” 

(Chapter 2, Page 11)

Seeing the steel threshing machines, Russell realizes that technological advances are finally making their way into rural backwaters like his hometown. The possibilities inherent in modern changes like the threshers alter people’s world views. Russell becomes emotional at the sight, sensing that his world is changing.