Written by Vince Vawter
Little Man throws the meanest fastball in town. But talking is a whole different ballgame. He can barely say a word without stuttering–not even his own name. So when he takes over his best friend’s paper route for the month of July, he’s not exactly looking forward to interacting with the customers. But it’s the neighborhood junkman, a bully, and thief, who stirs up real trouble in Little Man’s life.
Primary Source Pairing:
In the 1950s the newspaper came in the morning and the afternoon. It was delivered to the doorstep by a paper delivery person, usually a boy. The Memphis Press-Scimitar was an afternoon paper. In Paperboy, our main character fills in as the paperboy for his friend Art, whom he calls Rat, while Art goes to his family’s farm. The dissemination of information by delivery of a newspaper to a front door is so vastly different to how we get information today. For this primary source pairing, invite students to take a look at the front page of the Memphis Press-Scimitar in 1977 when the publication reported on the death of Elvis Presley. Elvis Presley was living in Memphis, Tennessee when he died in 1977. To learn more about the Memphis Press-Scimitar newspaper visit www.memphispressscimitar.com.
Questions for Discussion:
- Describe what you see.
- What do you notice first?
- What text do you notice first?
- What do you see other than news articles?
- How is the text and other information arranged on the page?
- What details indicate when this was published?
- What details suggest where this was published?
- Who do you think was the audience for this publication?
- What can you tell about what was important at the time and place of publication?
- What can you tell about the point of view of the people who produced this?
- How would this be different if produced today?
- How would this be the same?