Nothing but the Truth: A Documentary Novel

by Avi
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How does Philip Malloy desribe Miss Narwin in his diary in Nothing but the Truth?

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It's clear from the get-go that Philip doesn't have much time for Miss Narwin. Everything about her gets on his nerves, from her forbidding demeanor to the "boring" books she insists on teaching. (Philip's not a fan of The Call of the Wild).

In the confines of his diary, Phillip confides his true thoughts on his least favorite teacher. One of the less flattering entries is that Miss Narwin's so uptight she must have been put together by superglue. An even worse crime in Philip's eyes is that she doesn't appear to have a sense of humor. Whenever Phillip goofs off in class—which is often—Miss Narwin always cuts him dead with a frightening, flinty stare. But even if he tries to behave Miss Narwin still won't cut him any slack.

There's a major conflict brewing here. And everything appears perfectly set up for an epic battle of wills between two forceful personalities.

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Narwin is so dumb... I'll have to try something different with her.  Maybe I should tell her how boring she is.  Bad combo - boring teaching and stupid books...And now I'm going to get Narwin for a homeroom teacher too.

Philip Malloy's journal entries about Miss Narwin express his frustration about both his English teacher and her methods.  He certainly does not appreciate her more traditional teaching approaches, nor does he like her taste in novels, particularly The Call of the Wild, his required novel.  His attitude toward her is disrespectful and resentful; he seems angry that he has not been able to 'smooth talk' her into giving him better grades as he has in some of his other courses.  Philip Malloy's descriptions of Miss Narwin reveal his bitterness and discontent in his English class, feelings that will ultimately prompt him to act out during homeroom period, willfully breaking the rules in order to defy her authority.

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