Until They Bring the Street Cars Back Stanley Gordon West
Today’s Presentation • Meet the Author • Introduce the story • Setting • Meet the Characters • Literary Elements
Stanley Gordon West • Graduated St. Paul Central in 1950 • Has Written six books since 1983, all while living in St. Paul • Wrote Street Cars in 1997 • made a name for himself by selling his books single-handedly from bookstore to bookstore, in the process gathering a large and devoted audience.
Plot Synopsis Protagonist Cal Gant stumbles onto the naked face of cruelty, incest and murder in this 1949 Post War St. Paul masterpeice. When he attempts to rescue a strange and haunting girl (Gretchen Lutterman) from the abusive hands of her father, he finds himself in a heart-stopping struggle to save her life. Can he find within himself the backbone to stand against the horror, the daring to concoct some scheme to set Gretchen free? Until They Bring The Streetcars Back is the gripping story of what Cal does to save the life of a girl no one else notices The main character sacrifices everything, including his chance to graduate, in order to bring justice into a girl’s life, freeing her from a brutal victimization and watching her emerge from her hardship like a butterfly from a cocoon.
Setting • Post-war 1949 Saint Paul • Cars were status symbols but few people owned one • No Skyscrapers or freeways • Characters go to St. Paul Central
Characters Cal Gant Gretchen Lutterman Lola Muldoon Tom Bradford Jerry Douglas Sally
Cal Gant • Protagonist (character the story revolves around) and Narrator (1st Person) • Paints himself as an unlikely hero who is afflicted with adolescent self-pity. • A senior football and basketball player for Central H.S. in St. Paul, MN • Has the usual high school desires (win the big game, get the girl of his dreams to notice him, impress his buddies • Someone who sticks up for rights of the unpopular and different • Lives with his mother and father and his sister Penny. • Father works for the Streetcar transit system, which is being replaced by cars and buses (By 1954 all of the streetcars were gone in St. Paul)
Gretchen Lutterman Gretch the Wretch Physically and sexually abused by her strict father The only time she is noticed is when someone is making fun of her Not allowed to have friends – only allowed out of the house to go to work or school Her father keeps all the money she makes at her job Her father is the ANTAGONIST!
Lola Tom Cal’s dream girl The most popular girl in school Uses Cal as a fake boyfriend during her senior year Friend/teammate of Cal’s Dating his dream girl Lola Tom’s father won’t allow him to see Lola
Jerry Sally Cal’s best friend Jokes that Gretch the Wretch is Cal’s girlfriend Friend of Cal Sally nicknames Cal “Bean” after she pours hot bean soup over his tounge to detach it from a frozen flag pole
Literary Elements Narrator uses Hyperbole (exaggeration) and simile (comparison using like or as OFTEN! Many instances of Irony (When you least expect something to happen and it happens) MAJOR THEME: A young adults struggle to carve out his/her own identity while still craving a meaningful relationship with their father.