What is the climax in Nothing But the Truth by Avi?

Expert Answers

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

When referencing literature, the climax is "the point of highest dramatic tension or a major turning point in the action." The climax of Avi's Nothing but the Truth occurs when both Phillip and Miss Narwin are faced with the dilemma of whether or not they should return to school. Tension is present because should one or both of these characters choose to return to school, there will inevitably be more conflict. Phillip will continue to clash with the other students, Miss Narwin, or both if he returns. If Miss Narwi returns, she faces a lot of backlash from parents and administrators who do not support her. This is also a turning point in the action because, as it turns out, Miss Narwin retires early and Phillip transfers schools, leading their conflict to come to an end.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The climax in Nothing But the Truth occurs as both Miss Narwin and Philip are faced with the choice of returning to school.  Miss Narwin is asked to take a leave, or "sabbatical" as Dr. Doane would put it.  She sees past the euphemism to understand that they are really asking her to resign.  Philip, on the other hand, after being teased by the other students who claim to be gathering an 'anti-Philip, pro-Narwin' petition, tells his parents that he will not return to Harrison High School. 

Both of these instances act as the turning point or climax, because if Philip or Miss Narwin had insisted on returning to Harrison High School, then the conflict could have continued on indefinitely.  Instead, neither chooses to return, and the falling action and resolution shows Miss Narwin hopelessly resigning her beloved English job and Philip ironically finding himself at a new school with no track team.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial