What is the conflict in Andrew Clements' No Talking? How does Dave begin to resolve the conflict? How does he finally solve it?

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Andrew Clements' No Talking, Dave Packer feels inspired to try being silent when he learns while doing a report on Mahatma Ghandi that Ghandi took a day of silence each week as a way to quiet his mind and focus his thoughts. Dave, being an excessive talker, felt inspired by the idea and takes a vow of silence for a day himself. The conflict occurs when, while at lunch, he breaks his vow of silence to yell at Lynsey.

At lunch that day, he overhears Lynsey telling a very long and useless story about someone in her school buying the sweater she had wanted to buy herself. When Dave gets fed up with her babbling, he yells, "If you had to shut up for five minutes I bet the whole top of your head would explode!" (p. 18). In response, Lynsey challenges him by pointing out that he's just as much of a babbler as she is. When, Dave responds, "And anyway, boys never talk as much as girls do, ever!," they both agree to a contest (p. 20). According to the contest, all fifth graders must take a vow of silence--boys against girls. The side that says the most illegal words loses. The conflict grows more intense when the fifth grader's silence draws forth a negative reaction from Mrs. Hiatt, their school principle. The conflict reaches its climax when Mrs. Hiatt shouts at Dave in front of the whole school during lunch, provoking him to shout back and remind her of his legal "right to remain silent!" (p. 108).

Dave begins to resolve the conflict by going to Mrs. Hiatt's office to apologize for yelling at her and is surprised when she turns the tables by apologizing to him. He then invites her to join in on their game, and she gets the whole school involved, except for the kindergartners, who are too young. In addition, Dave's moment of standing up to Mrs. Hiatt, who was acting like a bully, was so inspiring that Lynsey decided to throw the contest by matching the same number of illegal words Dave had used to stand up to Mrs. Hiatt in her own little speech praising and thanking the boys, creating an equal tie between the boys and the girls.

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No Talking

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