The Egypt Game Analysis
by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

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The Egypt Game Analysis

(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

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At the heart of this novel is the game itself. The Egypt Game requires both imagination and dedication of its players. April and Melanie complement each other very well in this regard. Elizabeth and Marshall repeat and follow directions for the rites. Toby, a jokester at school, is serious about the game. He and April have conflicts because each of them wants to be in charge. Elizabeth serves as peacemaker in allowing the boys to play and succeeding in persuading them to keep Egypt a secret. Ken seems to enjoy the game less than the others, becoming embarrassed at times; he would probably prefer to be playing basketball.

Zilpha Keatley Snyder also examines friendship and the awkwardness associated with fitting into a new crowd, issues to which most young readers can relate. April often wears false eyelashes, taking them off when she reads because she cannot see through them. Melanie, who makes friends easily and is understanding of other people’s feelings, takes the eyelashes from April’s room so that she cannot wear them the first day of school. Melanie knows that April does not relate well to people and that the children at school are not likely to accept her, especially if she were wearing false eyelashes. Eventually, the others do accept her, and Toby and Ken give her the nickname “February.”

This process of establishing friendships continues when Caroline and Mrs. Ross suggest that April and Melanie walk to school with a new girl, Elizabeth Chung, who is nine years old and has just moved into the Casa Rosada apartments. Elizabeth is shy. April and Melanie decide that her profile looks very much like Nefertiti, and they name her “Neferbeth”; she becomes the fourth player in the Egypt Game. The four players make Egyptian costumes and wear them for Halloween. Two of the fathers of the students at Wilson School have volunteered to take the neighborhood children trick-or-treating. The four players hope to become separated from the others and meet to play the Egypt Game. They succeed, but Ken Kamata and Toby Alvillar follow them and are allowed to become the fifth and sixth players of the game.

In addition to the lighter topics of friendship and games, however, Snyder introduces a much more serious...

(The entire section is 583 words.)