I would like to know what the conclusion is for the book "A Long Way From Chicago". No thank you.

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The book does not follow a traditional plot line.  It is instead a series of short stories recounting the annual summer visits of Joe Dowdel and his sister Mary Alice, to their grandmother in "a sleepy Illinois town".  In order to determine the conclusion of the book as a whole, we need to look at its the unifying theme, which is the children's changing perceptions of their grandmother as they grow from childhood into adulthood, and the bond that develops between them.  Joe is nine when the summer visits begin, and Mary Alice is seven.  Grandma seems "so big...she (is) old too...old as the hills", but as the years go by and Joe and Mary Alice grow up, "though Grandma never change(s), (they) seem to see a different woman every summer" (Prologue).

The last chapter in the book provides the conclusion of the story as a whole.  Joe is twenty-two and has joined the army to fight in World War II.  As he is about to be deployed, his "troop train" passes through Grandma's town, though it will not stop there.  "In the hour before dawn", as the train passes the depot, Joe sees Grandma's house "lit up like a jack-o'-lantern", with Grandma herself outside waving, "hoping (he'd) see".  The action of the usually gruff, undemonstrative woman is testimony to the deep love she holds for her grandson, nurtured through all those summer visits over the years of his growing up (Troop Train).

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A Long Way from Chicago

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