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Tunes For Bears To Dance To – Robert Cormier.

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Plot – Chapter 1

In chapter 1 of Tunes for Bears to Dance to by Robert Cormier we find out that Henry lives next to a crazy house and sees an old man who is Mr. Levine everyday walking in and out and he wonders why they let him go without anyone else. We find out that Henry had broken his knee by falling down the stairs of where he lives, which is on the third floor of a tenement building. Eddie which was Henrys brother had died about a year ago of a hit-and-run accident. Henry had a job at the corner market which is owned by Mr. Hairston. Henry couldn’t do his job because of his knee, he was hired because Mr. Hairston has a bad back so he couldn’t pick things up off the ground or pack the bottom shelf, but he said he would wait until Henry’s knee recovered.

Figures of Speech

1. Carrying a small leather bag that swung like a pendulum form his right hand. SIMILE. Page 1. 2. In the late afternoon when the old man had returned from wherever he went, his steps were slower, spider webs had appeared around his eyes, and his shoulders drooped although his cheeks were still smooth, like stones worn away by years of rain. SMILIE. Page 2. 3. He scowled most of the time, his expression as sour as the pickles in the wooden barrel near the cash register. SMILIE. Page 4 4. He was interrupted by the arrival of a customer, Mrs. Lumpke, who was never without her red hat, like an upside down flowerpot, on her head. SMILIE.

Page 6. 5. He died instead, sprawled in the gutter of First Street in Frenchtown. His neck broken like a chicken bone snapped apart to make a wish. SMILIE. Page 8. 6. “Jackie Antonelli’s a greaseball”, Mr. Hairston said. METAPHOR. Page 4. 7. The boy saw Mrs. Karminski huffing and puffing as a small dog that looked like a windup toy pulled her along the sidewalk. SMILE. Page 5 8. His moustache was a wedge of frost on his upper lip. METAPHOR. Page 1. 9. Then, a strange grunt, like a pig squealing, which, Henry learned, was the way Mr. Hairston laughed. SIMILE. Page 5.

Insight of Henry & Mr. Hairston

Henry: Would never do anything to bring more sorrow into his parents lives. Believes that he must keep his promises even though he was afraid that he might lose his job, he told Mr. Hairston that Jackie would be glad to take Henrys job. He felt he had to be true to his word, relaying the messages from Jackie to Mr. Hairston. Henry is compassionate. He sees the loneliness in Mrs. Karminski, realising that she must be grieving for her dead husband. He takes no notice of the derogatory comments that Mr. Hairston makes about her. Henry always made the Honour Roll in school.

Mr Hairston: He takes pride in which is shop and what is his. He is a very negative individual who thinks “ That there are too many (stupid) people in the world. He degrades and laughs (in his “strange grunt, like a pig squealing” at nearly every person in his neighbourhood.

From the sheet Mrs. Rankin gave the class.

Holocaust – “… Mr. Levine an elderly survivor of the Holocaust…”
Piazza – Page 1. The boy, whose name was Henry, watched him from the third-floor piazza that over looked the street.
Tenement – Page 3. Henry could not stand the silence in the tenement and went out on the piazza.
Polack – Page 5. Leaves her house and lets her slip a show. Dumb. A Polack.
Veteran – Page 7. They were lucky to find the third-floor tenement next to the crazy house, because war veterans were given first priority by landlords, and the new housing project were strictly for veterans.

Exploit – Page 7. Eddie had won the trophies for his athletic exploit.
Dictionary meanings
Piazza – An open square in a European town, especially an Italian town; hence (Arch.), an arcaded and roofed gallery; a portico. In the United States the word is popularly applied to a veranda.
Tenement – A rundown, low-rental apartment building whose facilities and maintenance barely meet minimum standards.
Polack – Offensive Slang Used as a disparaging term for a person of Polish birth or descent.
Veteran – A person who is long experienced or practiced in an activity or
Exploit – An act or deed, especially a brilliant or heroic one.

Chapter 2 pp 9-12
Erratic – page 9. But he walked normally enough as he followed the old man in his erratic progress through the streets
Barroom – page 10. Down the street young guys hung out in front of a barroom matching coins they tossed in the air.
Stealth – page 11. Stealthily, feeling like a actor in a Saturday-afternoon movie serial, Henry advanced toward the door and tried the handle
Serial – page 11.
Debris – page 10. He emerged at the far end into a bleak landscape of sagging fire escapes, overflowing rubbish barrels, and abandoned furniture, like debris from a shipwreck.
Bleak – page 10. He emerged at the far end into a bleak landscape of sagging fire escapes, overflowing rubbish barrels, and abandoned furniture, like debris from a shipwreck.

Chapter 3 pp 13-18

Vivid – page 15. It looked like always the bow but the colours were different, red and yellow and blue, bright and vivid colours in contrast with her pale white face, the dark eyes deep in their sockets, like the windows of a haunted house. Fatigues – page 17. He prayed for his mother, small and delicate, who had worked night shift during the war, coming home at dawn, white with fatigue, trying to sleep in the noises of the day. Purgatory – page 17. Souls got into heaven from purgatory if enough prayers were offended on their behalf.

Chapter 4 pp 19-26

Scrutinise – page 21. Scrutinizing Henry from his lofty height: “So, you came back… good.” Lofty – page 21. Scrutinizing Henry from his lofty height: “So, you came back… good.” Yiddish – page 25. “Are you Yiddish too?”

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