A Long Way from Chicago Questions and Answers

A Long Way from Chicago

According to Grandma Dowdel, the true reason Shotgun Cheatham died penniless was because he was "an old reprobate" who failed to make something of himself while he was alive. He "lived poor and...

Latest answer posted July 13, 2016, 7:10 pm (UTC)

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A Long Way from Chicago

Grandma Dowdel commits a whole slew of illegal actions, but she does it for a good cause. She first steals a boat, which turns out to belong to Sheriff Dickerson. She then takes Joey and Mary...

Latest answer posted February 13, 2009, 6:13 am (UTC)

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A Long Way from Chicago

During the wake for Shotgun Cheatham's in Richard Peck's A Long Way from Chicago, Grandma makes up a story about how the dead man got his nickname "Shotgun". She says that he got his name in the...

Latest answer posted September 5, 2014, 11:14 am (UTC)

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A Long Way from Chicago

Chapter 1: Shotgun Cheatham's Last Night Above Ground. In the book, the narrator, Joey Dowdel, tells stories about his childhood, summer adventures at his grandmother's. In the summer of 1929, Joey...

Latest answer posted January 12, 2016, 10:35 pm (UTC)

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A Long Way from Chicago

It's in Grandma's character profile to spin yarns and stretch the truth. This is a little wicked pleasure she indulges in whenever possible, partly to test people's gullibility and reaction to her...

Latest answer posted August 29, 2008, 4:26 pm (UTC)

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A Long Way from Chicago

In A Long Way from Chicago, Rupert Pennypacker is supposedly the "best home-baker in the state of Illinois." Along with Grandma Dowdel, Rupert enters a gooseberry pie for the Fruit Pies and...

Latest answer posted July 19, 2016, 8:44 pm (UTC)

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A Long Way from Chicago

In the story, the four Cowgill brothers are the sons of Mr. Cowgill, the dairy farmer. Although we don't know the names of the oldest three boys, we are provided the name of the youngest: Ernie...

Latest answer posted July 14, 2016, 3:12 pm (UTC)

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A Long Way from Chicago

A prominent problem at the beginning of A Long Way from Chicago is that neither child really knows, understands, appreciates, or even wants to be with their Grandma Dowdel. They see their grandma...

Latest answer posted January 28, 2010, 6:17 am (UTC)

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A Long Way from Chicago

Mrs. L.J. Weidenbach, the banker's wife, is a neighbor of Grandma Dowdel. She is a pompous lady, and each time she appears in the narrative, Grandma shrewdly tries to turn her lofty attitude to...

Latest answer posted February 12, 2009, 8:33 am (UTC)

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A Long Way from Chicago

Grandma Dowdel went to all the trouble for Shotgun's wake and funeral presumably for two reasons. First, she resented the intrusion of outsiders into town affairs, and the reporter's seemingly...

Latest answer posted April 21, 2016, 2:20 pm (UTC)

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A Long Way from Chicago

In Chapter Two, Effie Wilcox has to use Grandma's privy because her own has been destroyed by the Cowgill brothers. Accordingly, the morning after the Cowgill brothers blow up Grandma's mailbox,...

Latest answer posted July 13, 2016, 6:47 pm (UTC)

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A Long Way from Chicago

The story is a series of vignettes, each with its own small problem that needs to be solved depending on what is happening in the town that summer. But there are a couple of overarching conflicts...

Latest answer posted July 31, 2018, 1:04 pm (UTC)

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A Long Way from Chicago

Effie Wilcox is a local gossip and friends with Grandma Dowdel. When Mary Alice and Joey are telling Grandma Dowdel about gossip they've heard, they say they heard it from a "humped-over lady with...

Latest answer posted May 25, 2019, 2:58 am (UTC)

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A Long Way from Chicago

In A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck siblings Joey and Mary Alice take the Wabash Railroad Crack Blue Bird train to visit their grandmother, the very eccentric Grandma Dowdel, in the country...

Latest answer posted February 15, 2014, 1:40 pm (UTC)

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A Long Way from Chicago

Traditionally, People "sat up with a corpse through the final night before burial". Grandma is a formidable figure, however, and since Shotgun's body is on display in her living room, most of the...

Latest answer posted April 1, 2009, 1:02 am (UTC)

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A Long Way from Chicago

Grandma Dowdel is a bit of a loose cannon, isn't she? I hope you're enjoying this book. It's one of my favorites! Grandma Dowdel is one of the most enjoyable (and ornery!) characters in adolescent...

Latest answer posted December 5, 2009, 1:00 am (UTC)

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A Long Way from Chicago

I don't believe the town where Grandma Dowdell lives is actually named in the book. Joey describes going to her home on the train, "the Wabash Railroad's crack Blue Bird that left Dearborn Station...

Latest answer posted April 5, 2009, 2:04 am (UTC)

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A Long Way from Chicago

Joey had been sitting "wedged in a corner, beginning to doze" at Shotgun Cheatham's wake when the commotion began. The gauze that hung down over the open coffin lid inexplicably began to move....

Latest answer posted October 28, 2009, 7:09 am (UTC)

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A Long Way from Chicago

When Shotgun's open coffin is on display in Grandma's house, there is "a heavy" white gauze hanging from the open coffin lid. A gauze is semi-transparent material, made of silk, linen or cotton....

Latest answer posted March 2, 2021, 12:13 pm (UTC)

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A Long Way from Chicago

Grandma claims that the ghost of the brakeman still haunts the scene of his death years after his demise. According to Grandma, the brakeman died in 1871 when a train full of firefighters collided...

Latest answer posted July 13, 2016, 6:26 pm (UTC)

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A Long Way from Chicago

The incident about which you are asking actually occurs in the second chapter, entitled "The Mouse in the Milk." Grandma Dowdel's mailbox is "blown to smithereens" by a cherry bomb. It had been a...

Latest answer posted August 24, 2010, 1:57 pm (UTC)

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A Long Way from Chicago

In the section of A Long Way from Chicago titled "The Day of Judgement," the joke is on Grandma Dowdel, because if she had not resorted to such a desperate measure as cheating at the county fair,...

Latest answer posted April 6, 2019, 9:24 pm (UTC)

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A Long Way from Chicago

In the book, the women are upset that President Roosevelt's wife is plain-looking and that he is related to his wife (Eleanor is the president's fifth cousin). One summer's day, Joey and Mary Alice...

Latest answer posted July 13, 2016, 7:40 pm (UTC)

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A Long Way from Chicago

There are actually three main characters in the story. Mary Alice and Joey Dowdel visit their Grandma Dowdel every summer, and the book is a coming-of-age story for the grandchildren. Each new...

Latest answer posted August 25, 2008, 8:55 am (UTC)

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A Long Way from Chicago

Mr. and Mrs. Stubbs don't want their son to marry Vandelia Eubanks because they feel that the Eubanks family is socially inferior to their own; additionally, they also fear that Vandelia's mother...

Latest answer posted July 13, 2016, 8:12 pm (UTC)

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A Long Way from Chicago

From McDowell's narration, we realize that Mary Alice is a strong and charismatic young lady. Although she is only seven years old at the time, her character is displayed as a person with an...

Latest answer posted December 31, 2018, 3:52 pm (UTC)

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A Long Way from Chicago

Mary Alice is the younger sister of the narrator of the story, Joey McDowdell. She accompanies Joey on their yearly visits to their eccentric grandmother each summer, and, despite her age, is a...

Latest answer posted February 21, 2010, 7:56 am (UTC)

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A Long Way from Chicago

“The Phantom Brakeman—1933,” chapter 5 of A Long Way from Chicago, has many of the same main characters as the rest of the novel. The protagonists are Joe and Mary Alice Dowdel, who are spending...

Latest answer posted August 17, 2020, 1:04 am (UTC)

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A Long Way from Chicago

Grandma catches catfish with the cheese. Grandma catches the catfish in traps, which are actually illegal in Illinois. Nonetheless, she has a series of traps set at various places along Salt...

Latest answer posted February 18, 2009, 11:36 am (UTC)

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A Long Way from Chicago

After numerous visits to her grandmother's rural southern Illinois home, Mary Alice becomes conspiratorial in her relationship with members of the local community. When Mary Alice and her brother...

Latest answer posted December 11, 2013, 11:40 am (UTC)

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A Long Way from Chicago

A Long Way from Chicago chronicles the adventures of two siblings and their Grandma Dowdel. Joey and Mary Alice, the city kids, are not pleased to spend their summers in Grandma's small town. They...

Latest answer posted November 6, 2018, 6:04 am (UTC)

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A Long Way from Chicago

Mr. and Mrs. Stubbs are not very happy that their son Junior appears to have lost his mind over Vandalia Eubanks. They strongly disapprove of the relationship, which they blame on Vandalia rather...

Latest answer posted May 19, 2021, 6:24 am (UTC)

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A Long Way from Chicago

In the book, Grandma Dowdel doesn't bother to hide her disdain for city reporters. She thinks they are often self-important and view country people as "a bunch of hayseeds." A hayseed is an...

Latest answer posted July 20, 2016, 2:28 pm (UTC)

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A Long Way from Chicago

Grandma Dowdel's small town is getting ready to celebrate its centenary, or hundredth anniversary. As one can imagine, this is quite a big deal, and lots of people are excited about such an...

Latest answer posted November 21, 2020, 12:22 pm (UTC)

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A Long Way from Chicago

When Shotgun is buried, a layer of gauze is attached to the outside of the open lid down the front of the coffin to provide a veil. He had not been very fresh when his body was discovered. A...

Latest answer posted July 5, 2017, 1:16 pm (UTC)

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A Long Way from Chicago

Often when we are questioned about an antagonist in a story or novel we want to know which character is the antagonist. In "A Long Way From Chicago," the antagonist isn't a person, or...

Latest answer posted January 10, 2009, 1:26 pm (UTC)

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A Long Way from Chicago

The Coffee Pot Café is a place where local people come to hang out and engage in gossip. Grandma Dowdel, however, isn't one of them. She likes to keep herself to herself, which is all but...

Latest answer posted December 6, 2020, 12:00 pm (UTC)

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A Long Way from Chicago

You're thinking of a corn crib. A cob house is an ancient form of dwelling made of clay, sand, and straw. I've pasted below some links to web sites where you can see pictures and read more about...

Latest answer posted April 29, 2008, 8:11 am (UTC)

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A Long Way from Chicago

In the novel "A Long Way from Chicago," Joey and Mary Alice make the train trip to a small town every summer, in August, for seven years, for a week's visit with Grandma Dowdel. The Depression era...

Latest answer posted January 28, 2009, 8:25 am (UTC)

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A Long Way from Chicago

Several examples of onomatopoeia can be found in the novel, A Long Way from Chicago, by Richard Peck. An onomatopoeia is when a word sounds like what it is. For example, on page 7, in the...

Latest answer posted April 17, 2015, 2:26 am (UTC)

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A Long Way from Chicago

Grandma Dowdel, a central character in Richard Peck's novel A Long Way From Chicago, is an ally of the poor, especially against antagonism from rich people and the law. Mrs. Weidenbach is the...

Latest answer posted November 15, 2019, 7:04 pm (UTC)

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A Long Way from Chicago

The term Centennial indicates a hundred, so it would make sense that the Centennial Celebration is a celebration to commemorate a hundred years. The billboard announcing the event says, "Welcome...

Latest answer posted June 24, 2010, 12:34 pm (UTC)

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A Long Way from Chicago

The Great Depression might have influenced the lives of the characters in a number of ways. One way is in the living conditions of the people in the little Illinois town where Grandma Dowdel lives....

Latest answer posted June 24, 2010, 2:37 pm (UTC)

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A Long Way from Chicago

It's August, which is traditionally a very slow time for news. It's what is known in the United Kingdom as “the silly season” because newspapers inevitably pad out their publications with trivial...

Latest answer posted January 24, 2021, 11:41 am (UTC)

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A Long Way from Chicago

Grandma says that sixteen-year old Ernie Cowgill is still in the fourth grade. Grandma has a propensity to exaggerate, so whether the hapless Ernie Cowgill is really still in the fourth grade or...

Latest answer posted October 29, 2009, 7:28 am (UTC)

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A Long Way from Chicago

In the story, Grandma Dowdel gets away with lying by using her age and life experience to her advantage. Throughout the book, Grandma often uses white lies to maneuver her way around difficulties....

Latest answer posted July 20, 2016, 2:58 pm (UTC)

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A Long Way from Chicago

Joey and Mary Alice are up in their grandma's attic looking for old clothes that they can wear to the Centennial Celebration. Everyone needs to dress up in historical clothing in order to look the...

Latest answer posted October 18, 2019, 11:00 am (UTC)

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A Long Way from Chicago

I'm going to correct my earlier answer. Please accept my apologies; the lack of capitalization in "terrplane" confused me. That occurs on page 104 of my version of the book, and is stated clearly.

Latest answer posted June 11, 2007, 1:02 am (UTC)

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A Long Way from Chicago

The first piece of historical context referenced in chapter 3 ("A One-Woman Crime Wave") is the Great Depression. The chapter takes place in 1931, approximately two years after the stock market...

Latest answer posted February 5, 2020, 9:09 pm (UTC)

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A Long Way from Chicago

The cover of Richard Peck's novel A Long Way From Chicago shows a boy with a man in plane and an older woman holding the hand of a young girl under the flying plane. One can easily assume that the...

Latest answer posted January 7, 2012, 7:17 am (UTC)

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