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The Boy Nobody Could Handle

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Dana Namerode

on 13 May 2014

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Transcript of The Boy Nobody Could Handle

The Boy Nobody Could Handle

The entirety of Welcome to the Monkey House was published in 1968 by Delacorte Press.

All of the stories in Welcome to the Monkey House portray a message or lesson of human nature and our society as a whole.

The Kid Nobody Could Handle was published in 1955.

In 1970, Christopher Sergel transformed these stories into a stage production that was performed at at Carolina Actors Studio Theatre in 2010.

In 1991, a series called Monkey House started on Showtime featuring Vonnegut himself.

The Kid Nobody Could Handle was originally published in the Saturday Evening Post.
George Helmholtz (40 years old) - head of the music department at Lincoln High School. He is a caring and passionate man that dedicates his life to music and his students.

Bert Quinn- Owns a diner. He bought the hill from behind the diner from Helmholtz's family in order to flatten it out and make it a shopping center. He's taken in Jim, his nephew, after being sent around several foster homes. Quinn is a bitter and arrogant man.

Jim Donnini (15 years old) - from Chicago, goes to Lincoln High School. His mother passed away and he was abandoned by his father.
This story would be classified as a short story. It is not part of a whole work, and does not include any sub plots or characters.

The genre within the short story would be classified as a drama. A drama does not necessarily have any comedic or tragic plot events, and ends with an important lesson to the reader.
Story Structure
Write a one page continuation of the story. Include what you think happened to Jim. Where does he live now? How has his attitude changed? Did he follow Helmholtz's path or did he return to his old ways?
Also, make use of two literary techniques that were used by Vonnegut in this story.

By Kurt Vonnegut
Kaitlyn Leonard and Dana Namerode
Literary Techniques
Important Quotes & Analysis
Comparison to Slaughterhouse Five
Special Questions
This is the story of a high school boy named Jim, who, after living in several foster homes, moves in with his uncle Quinn. Jim doesn't talk, the only sound that comes from him is the clanking of the chains on his boots. Jim is also a bit of a troublemaker. He wrecks school property such as an office and a chemistry laboratory. Upon seeing Jim, George Helmholtz, the head of the music department, gives Jim his most prized possession. He gives him the trumpet of John Phillip Soussa, a legendary musician. While Quinn thinks Helmholtz is out of his mind, Helmholtz has faith that Jim will change his ways if he is introduced to music. At the end of the story, Jim is sitting in the back of the band class with his new trumpet, stepping into the precious door that was opened for him.
-"Always see the good in people" Jim vandalized different rooms of the school, yet George never turned him in or judged him, and even trusted him with Sousa's trumpet.
- "Treat other's the way you want to be treated" George never bad mouthed Jim or treated him badly like Bert had. He was very respectful of Jim and even tried to get him to get engaged in activities he liked. He never gave up on him. In return, Jim decided to join George's band class, showing he respects and believes in George too.
- "Make the world more beautiful than it was when we came into it. It can be done" (Vonnegut 282).
-The power of music can create life and joy.
Time is linear throughout the story.

There are small breaks in the story to show small time jumps.

The story is mainly a third person narrative with the use of dialogue.
What group of people do you think this story speaks to?

What message was Vonnegut trying to convey in the characters of Bert Quinn and George Helmholtz?
"Our aim is to make the world more beautiful than it was when we came into it" (282).

This quote speaks directly to the main message of the story and speaks about who George is as a person. George simply wants to create something good. He is a positive person and wants to give his entire being to making our world a better place. This is why George takes a liking to Jim. He sees a troubled, struggling soul and he just wants to make him better. This could be Vonnegut hinting that the world should include more people like George, and people like Jim can have better lives. (this is my other quote analysis I just dont know how to put it in another bubble)

"'Whatever the experts figure out to do with a kid like that.' Quinn sat back, exhaled noisily, and went limp with relief.
'You can't,' said Hemlholtz.
'I can.' said Quinn."

This quote is important because it represents how opposite Quinn is to George. Quinn represents the average man. He is lazyand willing to give up. He does not want to believe in Jim and uses his power as an excuse to get rid of him. He is the type of person that would rather escape his problems than deal with them head on.
In this short story Vonnegut uses different literary techniques such as imagery, personification, epiphany, symbolism, theme, and others. An example of a few of these techniques can be found in the opening paragraph of the story:
"It was seven-thirty in the morning. Waddling, clanking, muddy machines were tearing a hill to pieces behind a restaurant, and trucks were hauling their pieces away. Inside the restaurant, dishes rattled on their shelves."
Naturally, because they are written by the same author, both stories share several literary techniques such as imagery, symbolism, third person point of view, and others. Both also deal with the innocence of children, and as big and tough they can be made out to be, they are really just little kids. They cannot fight wars and return home unaffected. They cannot live a stable life traveling from place to place. They need love and support, someone to trust them and push them to their best, just as Helmholtz did by granting Jim his beloved trumpet.
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