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Dennis Kurumada - Just Along for the Ride (Analysis and summary)

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Englisch-Klausur zu Dennis Kurumada: Just Along for the Ride

-> Der Text endet hier: "'No one knows,' he went on. 'So maybe we can get away with it.'


1.) Summarize the content of the text in your own words (150 words).
2.) Examine the structure of the text and explain in how far "Just Along for the Ride is a typical short story. Don't forget to give evidence from the text!
3.) Write a suitable ending for the story that contains some interior monologue (thoughts/feelings) and some dialogue.

The short story "Just Along for the Ride, published in "People around you in 1972, written by Dennis Kurumada, deals with people, who fail to stop after causing an accident on purpose.

Five friends, Dick, Phil, Reid, Steve and the first-person narrator, are bored and so they drive along with Dick, who has got his driver license. They decide to strike someone although the narrator is against that idea. When they see a person in the corner Dick starts the action but the boy steps out into the street and so he gets hit by the car. The narrator notices that the hurt boy is his friend Ken Benjamin and wants Dick to stop the car but he doesn't. At night the narrator's friends come to his home for saying that they have heard on the radio that Ken isn't dead.

The short story "Just Along for the Ride can be read in a single sitting.
It has no exposition, so it starts in the middle of the action when the five boys are sitting in the car (l.1). We don't know any background information, except that they are bored (l. 2).
Also the story covers only a short period of tim, because the action takes place in only one day, from evening (l. 2) to the late night (l. 32).
Furthermore the setting changes only one time when the first-person narrator gets home (l. 25). So in the first part of the story all of it takes place in the street (l. 2).

The story focuses on the five teenagers but only Dick and the narrator are main characters because there is a conflict between them. The narrator wants Dick to stop the car but he is afraid of getting nailed for manslaughter (ll. 21-23).
Also the story concentrates on a decisive moment in the life of these two characters because they have to decide if they turn around and help the hurt boy (l. 21) or if they try to hide the accident from the police (l. 23).
When Ken steps out into the street (l. 15) it leads up to a climax because Dick has to react but he can't avoid hitting Ken (ll. 16-18).
In addition to that the story evokes suspense when the mother says that the friends are there (l. 31) so the reader asks himself if they knew more about Ken's condition.
Summing up you can say that the short story "Just Along for the Ride offers many typical elements of a short story.

"We can't hide it!, I said. Dick looked at me slant-eyed. "If you tell anyone about what happened that day, he made a short break, "then you will meet the same fate as Ken. With these words he was gone. Again at that night I started shivering. "What shall I do now?, I asked myself. "Dick won't be so mad, will he? Doesn't matter, I must phone Ken's mum, it's my duty.
It was early in the afternoon when I called Mrs. Benjamin.
"Good afternoon, Mrs. Benjamin. I've heard about what happened to your son. Now I'd like to know how he is. But Ken's mum only started crying. "Are you alright?, I asked frightened, with a bad presentiment. "He is hurt so badly!, she said. "The doctors don't know if he will survive.

I felt numb and couldn't say anything. So I pulled down the phone and walked, as fast as I could, down the streets to the police station. There I told the policemen the truth. Only a few minutes later I was sitting in a police car which was parked in front of Dick's house. I was so afraid of him when I saw his angry face. The policemen took him away from his home and into the car.
Before Dick got out of it at the police station he said with a scary calm voice: "You've made your choice.

Note: 1-
Klasse: 10 / EF
Text: Dennis Kurumada: Just Along for the Ride

Schwerpunkte: Summary, typische Elemente einer Kurzgeschichte, ein Ende schreiben (750 Wörter)
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