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The Dare John Boyne
Transcript of The Dare John Boyne
The book opens with Danny's narration during his school holidays on a July evening. He is alone waiting for the arrival of his mother and father.
We are introduced to the character of Pete (Danny's brother) who has gone to university and it appears that Danny is missing his company. Older brothers "ignored their little brothers when they saw them, but Pete never did that". He reads his old magazines as a way of connecting to him when he's away studying. However, he seems to feel in adequate compared to Pete who "could charm the pants off an elephant".
We are briefly introduced to his best friend Luke Kennedy who he lives next to and cycles his bike with.
His father eventually arrives and makes sarcastic jokes unaware of the tragedy that will ensue. By eight o'clock his father and Danny begin to get worried and his father rings her friends.
Eventually his mother arrives home with the police and she is in shock. She is not able to meet the eyes of her husband.
Danny's mother wants to isolate herself away from her family due to the shame and guilt she feels over the accident. Danny feels anxious around his mother and Mr. Delaney feels that Danny will upset Mrs. Delaney.
Mrs. Kennedy takes it upon herself to invite Danny for dinner as a way of giving his parents some breathing space and so that Danny would not feel isolated and neglected also. Danny's parents have been at the police station all day.
There is tension in the Kennedy household too. Luke is hostile and evasive towards Danny who says he "doesn't care " who she invites for dinner. It appears that he maybe jealous of the attention Danny is receiving but also the fact that Benjamin Benson is living with his mother. He feels that the house belongs to his father who he doesn't see regularly. Benjamin Benson seems to be a friendly and helpful man who takes care of the dinner and tries to make Alice Kennedy laugh. He tends to ignore Luke's rude comments "Are we actually eating tonight?".
Danny becomes overwhelmed by the situation thinking about what life would be like without his parents living with him. He tries in vain to hold back tears but Luke only mocks him "Ah look at him", "he's crying".
Alice Kennedy leads Danny away to comfort him.
It is apparent that Luke is dealing with some of his own issues due the breakdown of his parents relationship. As a result he behaves aggressively and rudely to others around him.
Mr. Delaney checks in on Danny at the Kennedy household. He wants Danny to stay the night as his mother is still "off colour". He seems to down play how Mrs. Delaney is feeling as he is unable to express in words how she might be feeling.
Alice Kennedy tries to make Danny feel welcome by offering him pajamas, a new toothbrush and the top bunk in Luke's bedroom. While Danny gets ready for bed he goes into Mrs. Kennedy's bedroom looking through her window to see his home. He is worried about his family, he feels lonely and anxious. He has no one to talk to and he doesn't understand what's happening to his family and what will come of his mother.
Luke wants to know what's happening in his family and he callously informs Danny that his mother drunk when she hit the young boy. The boy is still in a coma and Luke tells him that he probably won't survive. Danny is in shock and won't believe Luke whispering only "she wasn't drunk".
Mr. Delaney is very worried and becomes frustrated that the his wife Rachel hasn't said a word and the two guards haven't explained what has happened. They try to explain that Mrs. Delaney is in shock and needs a cup of tea. The policeman is trying to ease the tension and keep Mr. Delaney calm so that he can explain the situation in a calm manner.
Due to the fact that Danny is the narrator the reader doesn't hear or see what the adults are talking about. We can only rely on Danny's viewpoint. He is hiding outside the kitchen in the hall where he thinks that something has happened to Pete.
We get the impression that the Delaney household is prone to arguments as Danny recalls that "everyone was fighting " the previous night.
Eventually Mr. Delaney comes out of the kitchen and explains that Mrs. Delaney has hit a small boy with her car and that the boy is in hospital. He tries his best to reassure Danny and possibly his wife "everything's going to be fine" and "don't bother your mother."
The Dare by John Boyne
When Danny informs his father about what Luke told him the night before his father is quick to dismiss the idea that his wife was drunk. He supports this opinion by asking Danny when has he ever seen his mother drunk. Danny wants to know why his mother has been so upset and recluse. He tells him that she feels responsible.
We later find out that a witness has reported seeing Andy (the young boy) run out in front of the car on Parker Grove a " a few doors down on the other side of the street".
Danny sees a red haired girl watching his house standing beside a tree. She disappears until later that evening. Danny gets a puncture and walks by the street the boy got knocked down. He sees Samantha the mother of Andy talking about Andy's condition in hospital to a curious neighbour. The doctors have said he is no worse but there doesn't seem to be much hope of him improving. The reader can't help but feel sorry for Andy's mother as she describes the lengths she will go through to get a response from him. He sees the red headed girl again and realises that she is Andy's sister, Sarah and she knows who Danny is too. Both were spying on each other.
Danny arranges to meet Sarah in a park. The reader gets the impression that he wants to impress her by reading David Copperfield while he waits for her. They discuss each other's siblings and how Sarah is coping with the tragedy that has fallen upon her family.
She tells him that "it's not your mam's fault anyway" that it was her fault that Andy was in the accident. Danny eagerly awaits to find out why this is the case. However, they are interrupted by the Kennedys. Both Mr. Benson and Alice Kennedy make jokes which makes Sarah and Danny feel uncomfortable. Danny is embarrassed by Mr. Benson's comment that he was "chatting her up". Sarah feels awkward and quickly leaves saying only "goodbye" to Danny.
Luke also makes Sarah feel unwelcome by saying" you told me you were busy."
When Danny gets home it's 10 o'clock he missed dinner with his mother and father. His father wants him to speak with his mother rather than avoiding her. He later informs him that they will have a family dinner for his birthday with his grandparents and possibly the Kennedys. Danny is not looking forward to it but he is too preoccupied by his meeting with Sarah and finding out her secret.
In chapter 7 we see the cracks in the family unit. Mr. Delaney has cooked a dinner for Danny's birthday. The Kennedy's and his grandparents are there but his mother and brother are visibly absent. Pete sends him a card with £10 in it which gives Danny some relief but his mother and father have not given him a present yet. Mr. Delaney seems anxious due to Rachael's absence while the other guests try their best to ignore the tension this brings. Rachael is thirty minutes late and Mr. Delaney refuses to wait any longer and serves dinner. The tension comes to a climax when she arrives home two hours late. She seems to have forgotten about the party and merely says she "got delayed" as an excuse. The hostility mounts when Mr Delaney refuses to let Rachael have any dinner "she can't have any". She eventually asks for forgiveness "I'm sorry" but becomes aggressive again when Mr. Delaney says he's had enough of her mood swings "You didn't nearly kill a child." She tells him that there is only one person who matters and Danny understands that it is not him or Pete but Andy.
Sarah sneaks out of her house and calls to Danny's house where she asks him to visit Andy in the hospital with her when her parents won't be there. He hesitates but she tells him that she will explain her secret to him if he comes along.
Chapter 8 begins in the hospital in Andy's private room with Sarah. He feels uncomfortable staring at the young boy who looks like he's sleeping. Andy is dressed in Rupert Bear pajamas ones Danny used to wear. Sarah encourages him to talk to Andy and as he does so she breaks down in tears. She explains that she was playing "knock down ginger" with Andy on the day of the accident. She dared Andy to go across the road to no. 42 and ring the door bell before the dog inside started barking. Sarah was looking from her bedroom window. When he rang the bell Andy got a fright and ran across the road without looking left or right. As a result Mrs. Delaney knocked Andy to the ground with her car. Sarah feels responsible for this tragedy "the whole thing's my fault". Suddenly they hear Sarah's parents outside the door. Sarah makes Danny hide under Andy's hospital bed. When they enter the room they see that their daughter has been crying and they try to comfort her. He hears Sarah's mother saying "mean things" about his mother due to the fact that the police informed them that "they won't be pressing any charges against Rachael Delaney". Sarah's mother calls Mrs. Delaney a "maniac" a "bloody woman with no sense of right or wrong". She is furious that she won't be prosecuted. Eventually Danny cannot take any more of it and he jumps out from under the bed. He informs them that it was Sarah's fault that Andy is in hospital. Danny doesn't wait to explain himself and just runs out of the hospital perhaps due to the shame he feels for hiding under Andy's bed.
Andy's parents Mr and Mrs McLean have reported Danny to the police for trespassing in Andy's room. As a result Mr. Delaney is furious with Danny and Danny eventually confesses to being friends with Sarah. Father and son have a heated argument with Danny later saying " I wish he'd just die". As a consequence of this his father hits him across the face. Both Danny and his father are in shock. His father leaves the room quietly too ashamed to speak to Danny.
Sarah comes to see Danny "to explain". She snook out of her bedroom without permission from her parents. Mr. Delaney intervenes and tries to stop them from talking to each other "you two have no business being friends". When she leaves his house he looks out the window and becomes jealous as he sees her talking to Luke.
Danny decides to run away. He wants to escape the tension and fighting happening in his house. He has no one to confide in. He packs a bag and heads out into the night when his parents are asleep. As a thirteen year old boy being on his own in the middle of the night is very dangerous. Danny has not thought about the consequences of his actions or the effect this will have on his parents.
Danny cycles to the school where he hides out behind the sports hall. He doesn't appear to be well organised as he hasn't brought a sleeping bag and very little food with him. He has £10 which Pete gave him but he quicklty spends this on fast food and the cinema. Things go from bad to worse as his bike gets stolen. He becomes nervous that he will be found so he decides to sleep behind the shopping centre near the rubbish bins. He also spends the night in a rugby pitch. He longs to be back home when things were normal before the accident. However, he doesn't let himself cry or get upset because he feels that he has to keep moving and get a job in London.
He later finds out that his family and the police are looking for him. His face is on the TV screens in the shopping centre but no seems to pay attention to them. He steals clothing to disguise himself. Danny is alone, hungry, penniless and depressed. He cannot afford a bus ticket to London and he's afraid people will be waiting for him at the stations. He wonders whether his family misses him or will they reject him if he returns. Life is bleak for Danny. after three days of this his body feels the pain of his misfortune. Due to the lack of sleep and food he walks to the park to sleep. After a few hours of sleep he tries to get up but collapses on the ground. He closes his eyes due to sheer exhaustion until he sees someone he knows, his brother Pete.
M Delaney is the first to receive the good news that Andy woke up. Rachael is over come with relief. She has had a difficult few weeks. Slowly she begins to "look more like her old self". Danny has been in the hospital for 6 nights and comes home to hear this good news. Pete arrives into Danny's room and makes a promise that if Danny ever feels down or wants to run away again he rings his big brother. Danny still feels like his brother is too far away but he plans on visiting him in Scotland in the near future.
Danny, Luke and Rachael visit Danny's grand parents. It is a welcome relief from the chaos and tension that he experienced during the summer. Luke reveals the troubled relationship he has with his father. His father hasn't made any effort to see Luke. He makes empty promises and Luke is finally realising that Benjamin Benson is a source of support and comfort to both his mother and to him "he gave me twenty pounds when I was leaving". Danny also discovers that Luke went with Sarah to her house to inform her parents that Danny "wasn't as horrible as they thought I was." The reader finds out that the three of them have become great friends.
On the last night of his holidays Rachael tries to make amends with Danny. She sits on his bed and tells him that "I let you down. I wasn't your mam for the last few weeks and look where that led you." Danny reassures her that he won't run away again and that things are back to normal. The chapter ends on a positive note that life will continue with Danny and Andy back at home.