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Chapter 5: More Letters and Poems

- On the last day, Mrs Hansen asks Richard to read one of his
poems after informing the class that Richard has been writing to
the famous poet, Joyce Kilmer.
- Feeling very nervous, Richard reads the poem that he and Mrs
Hansen have chosen to send to Mr Kilmer.
- Next, Richard shares the latest letter that he has received from
Mr Kilmer.
- The whole class is silent as nobody could believe that a
classmate of theirs has been exchanging letters with a famous
- Then, Richard reads another poem he has written about a train
ferrying a troop of soldiers. It is a sad poem and some of the
students have could feel the sorrow as they have family and
friends in the army.
- As Richard goes back to his seat, Abner and Harry sneer at him
but Blanche, Peggy and some of other friends have a lot of
respect for him.
- Richard is not so bothered about the other boy’s attitude
towards him. He is just relieved that he need not keep his
poetry-writing a secret any longer.
- During History, Mr Higby tells the class about the war that is
happening in Europe. He mentions that American troops have
just arrive in France to fight in the war.
- Mr Higby also asks the students not to refer to the Germans as
Huns. This is because the Huns were actually a nomadic tribe
from Mongolia and they have nothing to do with the Germans.
- That night, Richard writes a letter to Mr Kilmer wishing him
- During summer, Richard works hard on the farm. He hopes to
be a famous poet but he wants to be a good farmer, too.
- Richard likes working with his father on the farm but feels that
there has always been a barrier between them. Richard’s father
is not willing to share about his past with his children.
- Richard receives another letter from Mr Kilmer two weeks later.
Mr Kilmer writes that he hopes this war would end all wars so
that people would not suffer anymore.
Chapter 6: Lady Liberty and Dough Boy

- Mr Kilmer and Richard continue to write to each other during

summer. In every letter, Richard includes a poem.
- Mr Kilmer arrives in France and the soldiers are ready to fight
although they are frightened.
- When school re-opens, Mrs Hansen announces that the class
would be putting up a patriotic programme to help sell Liberty
Bonds to raise funds for the war.
- Mrs Hansen asks the class to write an essay entitled “How We
Can Help the War Effort Right Here in Turtle Lake”. The best
essay written by a boy will make him the Doughboy, an informal
term referring to a member of the US Army.
- Richard writes an essay on how the students in his school could
exchange letters with the soldiers so that they would not feel
lonely and homesick.
- During recess, the students discuss on who would be chosen as
Lady Liberty and doughboy.
- Richard is shocked to find out that many students do not want
Hannah to be chosen as Lady Liberty because of her German
background. He assumes they have accepted her since they no
longer bully her.
- A few days later, Mrs Hansen announces the winners of the
essay-writing competition. Richard’s essay is chosen as the best
essay among the boys. Richard is asked to read his essay to the
- Most of the students clap politely while Abner and Harry only
stare at him fiercely.
- Next, Mrs Hansen asks Hannah to read her essay since she is the
winner of the girls.
- Hannah reads a moving essay on fighting prejudice and hatred.
She also talks about living in peace despite people’s differences.
- Although she has written an excellent essay, Richard is the only
student to clap for her in the class.

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