The Face on the Milk Carton

by Caroline B. Cooney, Caroline Bruce

Start Free Trial

In "Face on the Milk Carton", a new boy, Dave, seemed interested in Janie, but she was not flattered.  Why?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Jane meets Dave at the Honors Breakfast.  He is friendly, Sarah-Charlotte thinks he is "adorable", and under normal circumstances, Jane probably would have been flattered by Dave's interest in her.  Unfortnately, at the time she meets him, Jane is completely preoccupied by questions of her identity.  She has trouble concentrating, and feels like the world is "a queer and floating place"; she is "a mind floating in an ocean of confusion, battered against milk-carton photographs and attic trunks".  During her encounter with Dave, Janie has moments of lucidity when she realizes that "if she smiled back in the right way, one thing would lead to another", but she keeps getting distracted by her turbulent thoughts.  As is common in getting to know someone new, Dave asks her questions about herself and her background, which are precisely the questions to which she does not know the answers.

Jane's distant behavior is noticed by her friends, and, probably feeling completely rebuffed, Dave leaves as soon as the breakfast is over.  Jane realizes that if she doesn't find out the truth about her own background, she "will go mad...if (she isn't) already mad" (Chapter 8).

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team