Ideas for Reports and Papers
1. In his novels, Bellairs typically uses "substitute parents," such as Miss Eells, who seem to act as better parents than the main character's own parents. Compare Miss Eells and Anthony's parents to real-life parents. What does Bellairs suggest that ideal parents should provide their children?
2. D. H. Lawrence wrote a short story called "The Rocking-Horse Winner" (1932) that deals with a young boy who is bothered so much by his mother's preoccupation with the family's lack of money that he goes to extraordinary lengths to find a way to bring the family money. Read Lawrence's story; then develop a report comparing it to Bellairs's novel. What do both stories say about the influence parents have on their children and on their children's peace of mind?
3. Is Anthony's desire to help others— not only his parents but also Miss Eells after she is injured—typical of real-life young people? You might want to write a report comparing young people today with young people of Bellairs's and Anthony Monday's era, or with young people of some other era.
4. Anthony thinks that finding money will solve his family's problems. Will money itself normally solve personal problems? Should a person put so much hope into finding a "jackpot," rather than finding a more realistic way of solving a problem?
5. Discuss Anthony's obsession with finding the money. Is it like Philpotts's at some points in the story, or is it wholly determined by his desire to help his family?