Crash (Jerry Spinelli) Themes & Motifs

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Bullying and Conformity

Even from the time he is a young boy, John is aware of his social standing. John understands that he is expected to be tough, aggressive, and intimidating to others in a way that results in his commanding place among his peers. As he says in the first chapter, "As far as I can tell, I've always been crashing--into people, into things, you name it, with or without a helmet." John is set up for the reader as a leader who leads by physical dominance, fear, and power. John shows us that even early on he is used to scaring people and getting reactions from them when he teases them. This is why Penn both infuriates and intrigues him at the same time. Penn, in his initial encounters with John, takes everything his new friend says at face value. Nothing seems to phase him...

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This section contains 2,587 words
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Buy the Crash (Jerry Spinelli) Study Guide
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