The Face on the Milk Carton Questions and Answers
by Caroline B. Cooney, Caroline Bruce

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In The Face On The Milk Carton what is the rising action?

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The rising action is the series of events leading up to the climax of a story. It's when the excitement usually begins to build up. In The Face on the Milk Carton, the rising action begins when Janie sees her own childhood picture on the milk carton at lunch and her world gets turned upside down. The events following this discovery are also a part of the rising action. This includes Mrs. Johnson denying Janie her birth certificate, Janie snooping in her mother's office and the trunk, Janie writing a letter to the Springs, finding the polka dot dress in her attack that matches the dress she wore in her picture on the milk carton, discovering information about Hannah, dialing the 800 number on the back of the milk carton, and Reeve's ultimatum for Janie to tell her parents what she's learned. All of these events lead up to the climax, where Lizzie explains everything to Mr. and Mrs. Johnson.

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The rising action is what occurs from the time Janie recognizes her photo on the milk carton to when she breaks up with Reeve because she refuses to take any real action regarding the situation, which leads to the story's climax.  It includes events like discovering the dress from the photo in the attic, confronting her parents about her birth certificate and learning about Hannah, and driving out to New Jersey with Reeve where she sees her brothers.

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