Nothing but the Truth: A Documentary Novel

by Avi
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What really happened in Miss Narwin's homeroom class the first time she told Philip to stop humming in Nothing But the Truth by Avi?

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Philip mentions in his journal that Miss Narwin, an older woman who is both his English teacher and homeroom teacher, is "uptight," and he needs to "figure a way to run pass her," meaning, since he is a track and field runner, that he wants to win in the battle of the wills he sees coming in the classroom. She will have none of that. When he begins to hum in homeroom during the national anthem, at a time when he is supposed to be listening quietly and respectfully, Miss Narwin confronts him. She refuses to joke and play along the way his old homeroom teacher did. Instead, she tells him to stop. If their confrontation is a draw, as Philip stops just as the music ends, the real significance lies in the fact that Miss Narwin has signaled she is not going to put up with Philip's antics. 

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In Nothing But the Truth by Avi, the first time Philip hums in class is his first day with Miss Narwin as his new homeroom teacher. He has just told his friend, Ken Barchet, that he is going to find a way to get out of both Miss Narwin's English class and her homeroom. 

As always, at the end of the morning announcements, the speaker says, 

"Please all rise and stand at respectful, silent attention for the playing of our national anthem" (Avi 34).

Philip ignores the rule and begins to hum loudly enough for Miss Narwin to hear him. She asks Philip if he's the one making noise, and he replies, "Just humming (Avi 34). Miss Narwin asks him to please stop, but he continues, saying, "Mr. Lunser doesn't mind" (Avi 34). This is a reference to when Phil was in Mr. Lunser's homeroom, and Mr. Lunser threatens in a good natured manner to have Phil sing the anthem as a solo.

Philip continues to hum and tries to argue with Miss Narwin until she finally says, "Now! Thank you" (Avi 35).

At that point the anthem is over, and Philip stops. 

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