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The Pushcart War Plot Summary

Jean Merrill
This Study Guide consists of approximately 67 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Pushcart War.
This section contains 221 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
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The Pushcart War Summary & Study Guide Description

The Pushcart War Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains For Further Reference and a Free Quiz on The Pushcart War by Jean Merrill.


The year is 1996, and a diligent historian sets out to describe for young readers the Pushcart War of 1986. With meticulous attention to detail, the narrator skillfully presents a straightforward account of the events of the war, drawing on history texts, newspaper articles, and interviews. Each action in the developing conflict is supported by ample documentation gathered in imaginative, absurdly coincidental, but amazingly believable ways. The interaction of people and events clearly defines the escalation of the war and the inevitability of its progression. Believing modern warfare to be "so complicated that peace-loving people give up trying to understand what is going on," the narrator uses her account of the Pushcart War to clarify the actions and subsequent reactions leading to a war that crippled a major city.

From this unique vantage point, Merrill presents the familiar David and Goliath theme in a modern setting, pitting a loyal band of pushcart peddlers against the bullying trucking companies. The tale of their conflict allows Merrill to attack aspects of modern urban life with satirical humor. She shows no mercy for the city politician, the power of the press, the influence of the movie industry, union activity, wars, weapons, and mechanization. For each action in the story there is a surprising but realistic reaction, and the interdependence of all peoples becomes obvious.

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This section contains 221 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Purchase our The Pushcart War Study Guide
The Pushcart War from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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