Why did Gilly make a paper airplane for William Ernest?  

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elizabethbk eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Gilly makes a paper airplane for William Ernest as part of a scheme to gain his favor. One evening, shortly after being placed in Mrs. Trotter's home, Gilly is asked to entertain William Ernest, Mrs. Trotter and Mr. Randolph by reading aloud to them. When the only book available is the Bible, Gilly immediately offers to run next door to Mr. Randolph's house and choose a new book to read. While selecting a book, Gilly gets distracted rearranging the messy shelves. On the top shelf she spies an out of place volume of an encyclopedia set. She must climb on a chair in order to reach it to return it to its rightful place. As she pulls it off the shelf, two five dollar bills flutter to the floor.

Excited by the prospect of more money hidden high in the bookshelves, Gilly begins to hatch a plan to steal it and buy a bus ticket to California to find her mother. She knows she will need help to get uninterrupted time to search the books. She decides to enlist the assistance of William Ernest. In order to gain his trust she begins to speak kindly to him and then watches several of his favorite television shows while cheerfully humming along. After laying the initial foundation of camaraderie, Gilly makes her final move to gain his trust by making him a paper airplane that they spend time flying together. After these small acts of kindness, William Ernest is unknowingly tricked into helping Gilly look for more money in Mr. Randolph's house by playing lookout.