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The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls Summary Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Silver Star


Plot Summary Part 4

I get the feeling that the author had to turn in a minimum number of pages and then when she found she was short, padded the story with descriptions of Emus.


Anyway Liz and Bean encounter Maddox again. Their dog pees on his tires. So Maddox takes their dog to their parents and demand their uncle shoot the dog dead. This is the same uncle who obediently whipped his own son on Maddox's request, so you have to figure that his balls are chopped off and he will do whatever Maddox says.


The uncle gets his gun and goes outside and they hear a gunshot, but when they go outside they see Maddox is dead. The uncle says they will make up a phony story about how they thought there was a bear outside and that Maddox looked like a bear which is why they shot him dead. The police have no problem believing that Maddox looked like a bear and the Uncle is not charged with murder.

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The end.


Yes, this is really the end of the story.


Literary Criticism:


When the story ended, I said to myself, "What? Is this the end of the story?" It didn't feel like an ending. That's because it didn't feel like much of a story. Basically, a bad guy tried (and failed) to come onto Liz. He was annoying. They shot him. The end. This was not substantial enough to be a novel.


Typically, a story like this would show the plight of struggling orphans. There was some of that at the very beginning but by the time they got to Uncle Tinsley that part was over. Then it became a very different story about fitting in in this small farming town and dealing with the annoyance of Maddox. There simply wasn't much of a story here but there could have been, if we had seen more of the kids' struggle to survive, fighting with people who try to exploit them, gradually clawing their way to middle class respectability by working hard and taking risks. That would have been a compelling story. But that wasn't this story.


The other goofy thing about this story was the unbelievable character behaviors. Why would Liz ever get into Maddox's car with him? Why would Maddox want a witness to his molesting Liz? Why wouldn't Liz tell the police that Maddox was repeatedly trying to run her down? None of it made sense.


The most interesting character, the mother, disappeared for most of the story. The other characters had no depth and were rather shallow and two dimensional.

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Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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