By Miller Arthur
By Miller Arthur
Arthur Miller was born in New York City in 1915. He studied at the University of Michigan, and while a student there he began writing plays. He won various prizes for his playwriting while in college and during his senior year one of his plays was performed by the Federal Theater Project in Detroit.
In 1947, Miller wrote his first largely successful play, “All my Sons” and, in 1949, he wrote another successful play, “Death of a Salesman”, which earned him a Pulitzer Prize and national notoriety. His next play, which was critically acclaimed, was “The Crucible” (1953), which reflected the anti-Communist hysteria that rippled through the country during the 1950’s. Miller was awarded the New York Drama Critics Circle Award twice and received the Oliver Award for “Broke Glass” in 1993.
“Death of a Salesman” is viewed by many as the first great American tragedy and Arthur Miller’s most famous play. It describes the painful conflicts within one particular family, though it reflects the conflicts of the larger picture, the nation’s values, as well. “Death of a Salesman” examines the realities of achieving the American Dream and the price that one must pay for it. Miller asserts that the American Dream is merely a manifestation brought on by consumerism and greed in the wake of wartime tragedy.
The message of “Death of a Salesman” became fuel for other writers to join into the existentialist movement of literature, creating a new type of expression in writing by means of self-realization.
Willy Loman is a salesman who believes that he is very good at his job, though he is not. He has trouble driving the long distances for his job, so at the urging of Linda, his wife, he decides to ask his boss, Howard, to give him a job at the more local New York office. Linda and Willy have two grown sons named Biff and Happy, both of whom are home visiting their parents. Willy thinks that Biff is a failure because he has the potential to be greatly successful though he is not realizing that potential himself; Willy thinks Biff refuses to succeed just to spite him.
Willy regularly hallucinates, has vivid flashbacks, and speaks to people who are not there; Linda reveals to her sons that Willy has attempted suicide numerous times. Biff decides he will try to stay in town to help his parents who are suffering financially and is going to ask his old boss, Bill Oliver, for a loan to start his own business, which makes Willy very happy. The next day things do not go as planned; Willy gets fired from his job as a salesman and Bill Oliver not only refuses to give Biff a loan but does not even remember who he is.
Biff and Happy wait for Willy at a restaurant that night and when Willy joins them and finds out about Biff’s misfortune that day he goes into one of his hallucinations. Biff and Happy leave their father at the table and go off to meet some girls; when they return home that evening Linda is upset that they left Willy alone at the restaurant. Biff seems to be the only one who realizes what a lie his family has been living, and he tells them what he thinks.
Willy realizes that while Biff may be a failure he loves his father, and the only way for Willy to help his family is for them to cash in his life insurance policy, and so he takes his own life. At the funeral, Linda is distraught that no one came to pay their respects, still believing that her husband was a well-liked man and good salesman. Biff realizes he wants to work to be a better man, but Happy, unfortunately, wants to be just like his father.
Willy Loman is a travelling salesman who believes whole-heartedly in the American Dream. Willy is self-delusional and very insecure, despite his attempts at arrogance. He raises his sons to believe that a man can be successful if he is attractive and well-liked but really he raises his sons to be too arrogant to hold down jobs at all. As Willy’s lies get the better of him and his life begins to go downhill, so does his mental health and he begins having daydreams that he brings into reality by talking to himself. Willy is in constant turmoil with his son Biff and realizes, in his mind, that the only way to help Biff is to kill himself.
Biff is thirty-four years old and Willy’s oldest son. He is a farm-hand though he has a hard time holding down jobs because his arrogance, instilled in him by Willy from a young age, makes it difficult for him to accept the authority of an employer; also, Biff has a problem with kleptomania that has caused him to steal from everyone he has ever worked for. Biff has no desire to become a businessman as his father wishes and realizes that he is a failure in Willy’s eyes because he failed math and could not graduate high school to play football in college. Biff is the only member of the Loman family who seems to realize that they have been spinning and living in webs of lies forever.
Linda is Willy’s wife and the mother to Biff and Happy. Linda is very loyal to Willy despite his many shortcomings and his obviously failing mental health; she also seems to have no idea that Willy had an affair or she does not wish to acknowledge it. Linda seems to get caught up in Willy’s delusions at times, believing that her family is okay and even wondering why no one came to Willy’s funeral because he was so well-liked. She is supportive of Willy right up until his death, and even after it, despite feeling certain that things are direr than he let on.
Happy is Willy’s younger son. Happy is more like Willy than Biff is which means that he does not cause friction in his father’s life. Happy embraces his father’s American Dream, and desire to be well-liked and attractive to propel his life forward. Happy is a bit of a womanizer and likes to hook up with as many girls as possible, especially the girlfriends of his friends and superiors at work. Happy works in a department store as an assistant’s assistant, but he still presents himself as a person of extreme importance, much like Willy does. Happy has a poor business sense though he has deluded himself into thinking that he is superior.
Charley is the neighbor of the Loman family and tries to be a friend to Willy. He allows Willy to borrow money from him on a weekly basis because he knows that the Loman’s financial situation is poor. Charley offers Willy a job, but Willy’s pride does not allow him to take it, despite the fact that he has just been fired from his job as a salesman. Charley is the successful businessman that Willy wishes he could be and tries to delude others into believing that he is. Despite Willy’s jealousy of Charley and his refusal to accept the job offer, Willy realizes that Charley is his only friend.
Bernard is the son of Charley and is around the same age as Biff and Happy. When the boys were all in high school, Bernard was a bit of a nark and would tell Linda about Biff’s difficulties in his math class and even told her when Biff failed. Bernard was very fond of Biff and Happy; especially Biff whom he regarded as a hero. Willy used to pick on Bernard for how hard he studied, but Bernard ended up being a very successful lawyer who presented a case before the Supreme Court. Willy has a hard time accepting Bernard’s success because he got it by studying, rather than being attractive and well-liked as he taught his sons to be.
Ben is Willy’s brother who died some time before the play takes place. Willy’s delusions most commonly involve Ben as Ben has been very successful in his life and serves as a sort of idol for Willy. When their father took off Ben went to Alaska to find him and somehow found himself in Africa where he made money on diamonds. Willy constantly tries to prove to Ben, in his daydreams, how amazing his sons are but then will break down and ask Ben’s advice in raising them to be successful men. Willy sees Ben as proof that his desire to make it big is not unfounded.
Howard is Willy’s boss who inherited the company from his father, Willy’s former boss. Willy has known Howard his entire life and even held him as a baby, which made it even more difficult for Willy to accept when Howard fired him. Howard is an arrogant man who likes to brag about his possessions and his family. Willy thinks that Howard is nothing like his father, who was “a prince” in Willy’s mind; Howard speaks down to Willy and is very condescending, despite the fact that he is much younger than Willy is.
The Woman is someone who Willy had an affair with when Happy and Biff were teenagers. Willy often has flashbacks about the woman whom he once gave stockings to and even has a hard time watching Linda mend her own stockings because of it. The only family member who seems to know of Willy’s affair is Biff as he caught them one day. Biff showed up at the hotel where his father was staying, distraught about failing math, and saw The Woman there with his father. It is perhaps because of this revelation that Biff is the only Loman who understands that their family is based on lies.
Miss Forsythe and Letta
Miss Forsythe is a woman who is at Frank’s Chop House when Happy is there waiting for Biff and Willy. Happy and the waiter, Stanley, whom he is acquainted with ogle Miss Forsythe and joke about her being “on call”, alluding to the idea that she is a prostitute. Eventually Happy flirts with her and asks if she has a friend for his brother whom he describes as an NFL player. Miss Forsythe leaves to get Letta and the two women return later to hang out with Biff and Happy who leave Willy at the restaurant talking to himself.
The American Dream
Willy fully believes that a man can get anywhere in life with his good looks and a well-liked personality. He pushes his sons to be just like him, a “successful” salesman, and is upset when Biff refuses to conform to what Willy sees as the American Dream. Willy does not understand why anyone would want more than that, but Biff realizes that Willy’s American Dream is not realistic because his family is based on nothing but lies that they are content with believing and his father is a mental disaster. Willy seems to forget that the most important part of the real American Dream is to put in hard work without complaining; a notion that seems foreign to him.
Willy’s entire life is based on dreams and the visions that he dwells on because of his obvious mental illness (which is never actually acknowledged). Willy’s dreams are so vivid that he has come to believe them and will believe nothing outside of them. His preoccupation with flashbacks of the past and hopes for the future disallows him to believe or even realize what is going on in the present. Willy is so immersed in his hopes and dreams that he is completely unable to live outside of his own head and eventually it costs him his life in an act that he sees as martyrdom.
Lies are the foundation of the Loman family. Linda seems perfectly sane, yet she refuses to accept the obvious reality of their situation. Willy lies to Linda about how much money he makes, how well-liked he is by everyone, and he has an affair with another woman. Linda makes no efforts to set Willy’s mind straight about their reality as she seems delusional. Linda wants to imagine the best for her family and so she believes all of the lies; even at Willy’s funeral Linda continues to live the lie, wondering why more people did not show up to mourn Willy’s death. Biff is the only Loman who seems to understand that the family has been based on lies from the start.
Success is an ironic concept in this play. Willy wants Biff to be a successful salesman who is well-liked an attractive, just like him. The irony is that Willy is not successful at all, but he has somehow convinced himself and his family that he is. Willy believes that the only way to be successful in life is to have a job that requires one to wear a business suit and so Biff’s desire to own a ranch cannot possible make him successful. Biff admits to his father that the reason he is not successful is because his father has made him too arrogant to accept authority.
Willy thinks that a man can get anywhere on a good reputation. In his flashbacks, he remembers when his sons were in high school and how popular Biff was as a star football player. Willy cannot fathom how Biff could wind up not being successful when he was so attractive and had a winning reputation as a teenager. Willy’s pride in keeping what he thinks is a good reputation is what holds him back from accepting a job from Charley that would likely solve many of his financial problems. Willy does not want to look weak and so he lies to everyone to convince them that everything is fine.
Flutes play and Willy Loman enters his home carrying luggage and talking to himself. His wife, Linda, wonders why Willy is home because he was supposed to have been gone on a sales trip. Willy explains to his wife that he kept forgetting that he was driving and could not keep his mind on the road, or subsequently, his car and so he decided that he should just come home.
Linda tells Willy that he should ask his boss, Howard, to transfer him to the local New York office, so he would not have to travel anymore. Willy tells Linda that he is a valuable employee and a good travelling salesman, so it would beneficial for the company to have him travel though he agrees it may be smarter to stay close to home and thinks that Howard will have no problem doing him the favor.
Willy and Linda begin to talk about their sons, Biff and Happy, who are grown, but both are visiting and sleeping upstairs. Willy is upset with Biff because he feels that Biff is doing nothing with his life and is a bit of a failure. Biff is a farmhand but Willy does not think that is a proper profession; he believes that Biff should have a job where he has to wear a suit.
Willy thinks that although Biff is hard-working his manual labor he is still lazy and refuses to get a real job just to spite Willy. Willy begins to daydream about Biff’s high school days and what a hot-shot he was back then. Biff and Happy are now awake and can hear Willy muttering incoherently to himself, which worries them. Biff and Happy reminisce about the past and Biff tells Happy that he is upset that he and his father no longer get along with one another.
Happy, wanting to help sort out the problem, asks what Biff has been doing with his time. Biff tells him that he likes his work as a farmhand and hates the dog-eat-dog business world, though he has trouble holding down a steady job. The brothers imagine what life would be like if they moved out west together and started their own ranch.
Happy enjoys imagining that life though he is not willing to veer away from his constant pursuit of wealth. Neither Happy nor Biff has a steady woman in his life, especially not Happy who fancies himself a bit of a player who likes to chase after the girlfriends of his friends. Biff decides that he will go see a man named Bill Oliver whom he used to work for as a salesman and ask him for a loan to start his own business; Happy finds this idea to be amazing. The boys, content with their talk, go back to sleep.
Back in the kitchen Willy is still daydreaming about the past. He remembers his sons when they were in high school and always worked hard to impress their father. Willy, Happy, and Biff sit around and talk about how well-liked they are by everyone and Biff reveals that he stole a football so he could practice, though Willy does not seem to care about the thieving. As Linda does laundry with the help of the boys, Willy continues speaking about how amazing he is as a salesman, telling his family that he made $212 on his last trip, when really he only made $70. Linda realizes that even if he did make the delusional $212, which he did not, it still would not cover their debts. Willy breaks down and admits that people do not really like him at all because he is fat and ugly, but Linda tells him that everything will be just fine.
Willy begins imaging a woman who is not Linda, who is redressing herself and making some suggestive conversation. He recalls that he gave her stockings as a gift. Willy flashes back to Linda doing the laundry and reassures her that he will make everything alright with her. Linda does not seem to have any idea about the other woman. Willy watches Linda mend her own stockings, claiming that they are too expensive to buy a new pair, and Willy snaps at her to not mend her stockings in his presence.
Will again remembers when Biff was in high school, and Bernard, the son of Willy’s neighbor Charley, announces that Biff is going to fail his math class. Willy tells Bernard to give Biff the answers to the test and to get lost. Linda is concerned that Biff may fail, but Willy reassures her that Biff’s charm will take him places in life.
Back in the present, Willy starts a conversation with happy about how he regrets not going to Alaska with his brother Ben when he was younger, as Ben has made a lot of money. Happy feels helpless witnesses his father’s hallucinations. As it is still late at night, Charley comes over because he is concerned at the loud noises he has been hearing. He feels bad for Willy and offers him a job, but Willy refuses, maintaining that he already has a job.
Willy, already annoyed with Charley for getting into his business, gets even madder when Charley tells Willy to go easy on Biff. Willy begins to hallucinate that he is seeing his brother, Ben, and begins to speak to him which alarms Charley because he does not know what is going on. Willy starts to talk to Ben and Charley both and tells Charley that Ben has died recently. Willy imagines that Ben is insisting that they go to Alaska together; Charley leaves the Loman home very confused.
Willy’s father left he and Ben when they were young. When Ben left for Alaska, he was in search of his father, though he somehow ended up in Africa instead and made loads of money in diamonds. An imaginary Biff and Happy enter the scene as well, and their father tells them that their Uncle Ben is proof in the idea that dreams come true. Ben has to leave to catch a train but shares a parting story about how his father used to take him and Willy around the country with him while he sold his inventions. Willy tells Ben that he has done a great job raising his sons and tells Biff to challenge Ben to a fistfight.
Ben wins the fight because he cheated, saying that cheating is fair and necessary in fights with strangers. Willy tells Ben that just because he wears a suit to work does not mean he is not manly and sends Biff and Happy off to steal some lumber to prove how manly they are. Imaginary Charley enters the scene and tells Willy that he will have the boys arrested for stealing if they go through with it; Willy starts screaming at Charley for not being manly. Everyone leaves Willy and Ben alone together, and Willy confesses that he fears he is doing a poor job raising his son. He wants Ben to stay and tell more stories about their father but Ben leaves.
Back in reality Linda wonders what is going on because Willy has been talking to himself all night long, but Willy insists that he just needs to take a walk. Happy and Biff come into the room after their father goes outside and Linda tells them that Willy is worse when Biff is around, and perhaps Biff should show his father a bit more respect. Linda and Biff begin to argue, and Linda tells Biff to stay away from Willy, which prompts Biff to tell Linda that Willy treats her like garbage and is crazy. Linda insists that Willy is just stressed out because they are not doing well financially and he has to borrow money from Charley every week to make ends meet.
Biff tries to tell his mother than Willy is not what he seems, but does not elaborate on it, and Linda thinks that Biff is just being ungrateful. Biff decides to pacify his mother by telling her that he plans to get a job and will give them part of his paycheck to help out. Linda tells Biff and Happy that Willy has been attempting suicide via car crashes, and she even found some tubing in his car that he was using in an attempt to gas himself. Linda places the blame and Biff and tells him that Willy’s life is in his hands; Biff agrees to straighten his life out but feels as though he is not meant to work in the business world no matter how much Willy would like him to.
Willy enters the room and immediately begins arguing with Biff. Happy interrupts his father’s rant and tells him that Biff is going to ask Bill Oliver for a loan the next day, so he can start his own sporting goods business. Willy is excited about this prospect and tries to coach Biff on how to speak to Bill Oliver at their meeting. Willy becomes angry again for no discernible reason and storms off to bed, lecturing the boys about their potential in life. As Biff leaves and heads downstairs by himself, he hears his mother trying to sing Willy to sleep.
It is the next morning and Linda, and Willy are eating breakfast alone as Biff and Happy have already left the house. Linda, who is clearly delusional about Willy’s work situation, tells Willy that while he is asking Howard for a transfer to the New York office he should also ask for an advance payment. Linda also informs Willy that when he gets out of work that evening Biff and Happy would like to take him out to dinner, so they can celebrate their successes their career successes.
Willy goes to his meeting with Howard and attempts to start a conversation with him about switching his job location and getting an advance, but Howard insists on talking about the wire recorder he has just purchased and his family. Rather than telling Howard that he wants a transfer he asks if there is a spot for him in the New York office but Howard tells Willy that not only is there no job for him in New York but there is no job for him at all.
Willy tries to beg Howard for his job, telling him that he has known him since he was a newborn and Howard’s father was the boss. Willy tells Howard about a man named Dave Singleton who was such a good salesman that his customers, and coworkers mourned his death for months after he passed, and Willy wants nothing more than to be just like Dave Singleton, though he cannot seem to get people to like him. Willy begs Howard for another chance, but Howard refuses to give Willy the job in New York, or even his old job as a travelling salesman despite Willy’s offers to work for less and less money.
Willy hallucinates that he is speaking to Ben again, asking Ben how he made his fortune. Ben asks Willy to go to Alaska with him, but Willy cannot because Linda thinks that Willy’s job is just as good as any scheme that Ben has cooked up. Imaginary high-school aged versions of Biff and Happy enter, and Willy brags to Ben that the boys are so well-liked and attractive, that they will succeed on those factors alone. Willy breaks down and asks Ben to stay and help him raise Biff and Happy. Bernard runs into the imaginary scene and asks Biff if he can carry his football pads to the stadium for him. Willy is very excited about Biff’s football prowess, and Charley teases Willy for his enthusiasm, which Willy gets defensive about.
Back in reality Willy is standing outside of Charley’s office and talking to himself animatedly. Charley’s secretary is alarmed by the state of Willy and asks Bernard, who is now a grown man, to deal with him. Bernard chats with Willy a bit, telling him that he is on his way to Washington D.C. for a case, but when Willy expresses interest in the case Bernard ignores him and instead asks about Biff.
Willy briefly lies and says that Biff is doing great things with his life, but he soon recants his statement and asks Bernard what the secret to his success is because Biff has not accomplished anything. Bernard remembers that Biff failed math his senior year and was going to attend summer school, so he could go to college and play football, but, before summer school, he went to Boston to see Willy and returned extremely angry. Willy pretends, defensively, that nothing happened between him and Biff and speaks no more about it. Charley interrupts the conversation to tell Bernard that he needs to catch his train. Willy learns from Charley that Bernard is heading to present a case in front of the Supreme Court, which Willy finds to be quite the accomplishment, and he cannot understand why Bernard did not brag about it.
Charley gives Willy $50, which he is thankful for, but still he asks for more money. Again Charley offers Willy a job, but Willy tells Charley that he already has a job, despite the fact that he was just fired. Willy feels insulted by the job offer and Charley feels insulted that Willy will not take the job. Eventually Willy loses it and Charley gives him more money.
Happy, Biff, and Willy are meeting at Frank’s Chop House for their “celebratory” dinner that night, though Willy has nothing to celebrate. While waiting for Willy and Biff, Happy makes conversation with a waiter named Stanley and flirts with a cute girl, telling her that he goes to West Point Academy and that Biff plays football for the NFL. When Biff arrives, he wants to talk to Happy, but Happy is distracted by the girl and is asking her to bring a friend for Biff, which she agrees to. When Biff finally gets Happy’s attention he tells him about his visit with Bill Oliver; he waited six hours to see him only to find out that Mr. Oliver had no clue who he was.
Biff realizes that he was never a salesman for Mr. Oliver, his father had made him think he was through the fantasy world he lives in, he was only a shipping clerk so of course Mr. Oliver did not remember him. Biff was so upset and humiliated about the meeting that he stole one of Bill Oliver’s fancy pens on his way out. Biff wants to tell Willy the truth, but Happy thinks that is a bad idea.
When Willy appears at the restaurant, he seems exciting at the good news he is sure that he will hear from his boys. Biff tries to tell the truth to his father, but Happy and Willy both keep butting in insisting that the meeting went perfectly. Soon Willy goes off into one of his daydreams again, remembering when Bernard came over to tell Linda that Biff had failed his math class. Back in reality Willy hears about Biff stealing the pen and starts yelling “I’m not here”, imagining that a phone operator is trying to get ahold of him. Biff tries to smooth things over, horrified at his father’s behavior, and Happy insists that everything went well with Mr. Oliver, though Biff still tries to maintain the truth. At this time, the girl Happy had been speaking to comes back with her friend.
Willy loses himself in a flashback where he is with the unnamed woman again, getting dressed. She speaks to him like she thinks that he is wonderful and really pumps up his ego. There is a knock at the door and Willy is alarmed so he makes the woman hide in the bathroom while he answers it. It is Biff, begging his father to speak to his teacher because he failed his math class. Willy tries to push Biff out of the room, but he is too late because the woman comes out of the bathroom. Willy tries to make excuses, but Biff realizes that his father is having an affair and screams at him for giving the woman stockings that belong to Linda.
When Willy comes to, he realizes that his sons have left him in the restaurant and left with the girls. Willy asks Stanley, the waiter, where he can find the nearest seed store as he decided earlier that he wanted to plant some seeds. When Biff and Happy return to the house later that night, Linda is furious with them for leaving Willy alone in the restaurant, and refuses to allow Biff to see his father. Biff goes out to the backyard and sees Willy planting seeds and talking to himself. In Willy’s mind, he is speaking to Ben about killing himself, so Biff can have his life insurance money to start his own business. Ben tells Willy that killing himself would be cowardly, but Willy thinks that it would be beneficial for his sons to see all of the mourners at his funeral to prove how well-liked he is.
Back in reality, Biff tells his father that he is leaving for good now, and he knows it is his own fault that he is not making anything of his life. He and his father go back into the kitchen, and Linda refuses to acknowledge Biff’s goodbyes. Willy keeps asking about Mr. Oliver and he and Biff get into a fight that results in Willy telling Biff he is spiteful and Biff confronting his father about his suicide attempts. Willy denies everything and Biff snaps, finally exposing the family’s lies and refusal to accept reality.
Biff blames Willy for making him so arrogant that he has never been able to accept the authority of an employer and finally tells his father he does not want to be a salesman. Willy is shocked by Biff’s outburst and his subsequent tears and realizes that Biff really does love him. Willy hears Ben’s voice telling him about the diamonds and Willy refuses to go up to bed, instead staying downstairs to listen to the voices in his head. Willy cannot shake his desire for Biff to become successful, and suddenly runs from the house. Linda and Biff realize that Willy has left in the car and soon they hear a crash, and they know that Willy has killed himself.
Captain Underpants and the Invasion of the Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies from outer Space (and the Subsequent Assault of the Equally Evil Lunchroom Zombie Nerds) is notorious for its lengthy title. In fact, it becomes a running joke in subsequent books.
The book begins as Harold and George are in class learning about volcanoes. They discover the reaction caused when vinegar and baking soda are mixed and believe it is excellent material for a prank. They write a recipe containing the mixture and give it to the lunch ladies, claiming it is a recipe for cupcakes and that it is Principal Krupps’ birthday.
The cafeteria ladies fall for the stunt, making a giant batch of the so-called cupcakes which causes the the entire school being filled with green goop. To top it off, the next comic in the boys’ series revolves around the cafeteria workers. In it, the cafeteria ladies mix trash into their cooking, but get locked inside the school for the weekend die when they are force to eat their own food. The janitor finds the bodies and bury them on a haunted hill, causing them to come back to life as zombies. Captain Underpants arrives to fight them as they begin their attack on the school. He gives them wedgies, which doesn’t work. He eventually wraps them in toilet paper which they also escape from. As they push Captain Underpants off the building and fall behind him. He is able to swing to safety, but the lunch ladies fall into the trash on top of their food and once again die as a result.
Furious, the cafeteria workers go to Principal Krupp with the comic book and accuse the boys of tricking them and causing the fiasco. Although Principal Krupp wants to punish the boys, he says he cannot without proof. The cafeteria ladies quit.
Meanwhile, a UFO filled with alien villains lands on the school. The aliens plan to turn the students into monsters and conquer the world. Their timing is convenient. They see Principal Krupp about the cafeteria jobs Principal Krupp immediately hires them.
As a punishment, Principal Krupp forces the boys to eat lunch in his office.
The aliens serve milkshakes the next day that change everyone except George and Harold and Principal Krupp into Zombie Nerds. Harold and George discover the aliens evil plan and sneak into the lunchroom to take the growth juice. They pour it out the open window, dousing a dandelion.
The boys convince Principal Krupp of the aliens disguised as cafeteria workers, and as one snaps its tentacle, he transforms into Captain Underpants. He disappears to fight crime, and the boys hold off the aliens until he returns. George, Harold, and Captain Underpants cannot defeat the aliens, so they jump onto their spaceship where they capture several bottles of juice. On bottle contains Anti-Zombie Nerd Juice which is needed to turn everyone back to normal. One contains juice that will provide super powers. The third bottle of juice causes whatever it comes into contact with to self destruct. They switch the labels confusing the aliens causing the ship to self-destruct.
The boys and Captain Underpants escape from the spaceship before it destructs and land near the dandelion that has mutated into a giant because of the growth juice. The giant dandelion tries to attack Captain Underpants. The boys give him the bottle of juice that provides super strength, and Captain Underpants destroys the dandelion.
At the end of the book, the students are given Anti-Evil Zombie Nerd Juice, returning them to normal, and Captain Underpants becomes Principal Krupp, but his superpowers remain.
Captain Underpants and the Invasion of the Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies from outer Space (and the Subsequent Assault of the Equally Evil Lunchroom Zombie Nerds) explores the series typical themes of anti-authority and good vs. evil. It also explores the idea that children are smarter than adults. Not only do George and Harold outsmart the lunch ladies, but they also have to convince Principal Krupp that he mistakenly hired aliens before he is able to realize it himself. Discuss these themes with your children and how they may or may not be accurate.
As Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants begins, we are introduced to Professor Pippy P. Poopypants. The professor comes from a place where everyone is given silly names. He is brilliant and creates the Shrinky-Pig 2000, a shrinking machine shaped like a pig, and the Goosy-Grow 4000, an enlarging machine that appears like a goose. The brilliant professor travels to America to show off the machine. He plans to use it for good to decrease the world’s garbage and create a greater food supply. However, nobody will take him seriously because of his name.
Meanwhile, George and Harold are banned from a school field trip when Principal Krupp observes them altering a sign. Instead, they are instructed to tidy up the teacher’s lounge. As an act of revenge, the boys plan a prank that causes all the teachers to be sprayed with water, then covered in paste, and stuck with styrofoam. After the prank, the science teacher retires.
Discouraged by his unsuccessful journey to show off his invention, Professor Poopypants sees the open position at the school, mistakenly thinking the kids would be kinder and be able to look past his name. Once he is hired, he finds them to be just as bad as everyone else.
He succeeds in engaging the students when he creates a robot that lets a gerbil run with its master. However, when the student find out that the P in his names stands for Pee-Pee, they begin to make fun of him again.
When Geroge and Harold read the Pied Piper of Hamlin, they get the idea for their next comic. In it, Professor Poopypants becomes a teacher at the school, but becomes angry when he gets made fun of. He decided to make a Gerbil Jogger 2000 army, and when they won’t follow his orders he brainwashes them, forcing them to listen to Cher. All of the kids are taken hostage, but Captain Underpants comes to the rescue. Professor Poopypants turns himself into a giant robot when they continue to laugh at him. He fights Captain Underpants who eventually flushes toilet water over him, making him rust.
The comic makes everything worse for Professor Poopypants, destroying him and causing him to go insane. He uses his Goosy-Grow 4000 to make a giant gerbil machine. He gets inside and uses his shirking machine to shrink the school and hold everyone hostage. He demands that everyone will be given a silly name or will be punished by being shrunk. Professor Krupp becomes Lumpy Pottybiscuits, George becomes Fluffy, and Harold becomes Cheeseball.
George and Harold recruit Captain Underpants to steal the enlarging machine, but since he refuses to change his name, he is shrunk along with the machine.
The boys try to restore the size of the school, but fall off of it. They make enlarge an airplane made out of paper to fly. Captain Underpants rescues them. George enlarges Captain Underpants, and he fights and defeats Professor Poopypants. Everyone’s name returns to the original, and the enlarging and shrinking machines are used to return everything to their original size. Captain Underpants is changed back into Principal Krupp.
Harold and George suggest that Professor Poopypants change his name as he is taken to jail. He agrees, but picks the name Tippy TInkletrousers which only results in more ridicule in jail.
In addition anti-authority and good vs. evil themes found throughout the series, an anti-bullying theme is introduced in Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants. Professor Poopypants is continuously made fun of for having a silly name until eventually he is driven crazy. A man who was once good turns evil, and the effects of bullying become apparent. Discuss with your children the appropriateness of the behavior exhibited in this novel. Use it as a jumping off point to discuss the effects of bullying.
Captain Underpants and the Wrath of the Wicked Wedgie Woman begins as Ms. Ribble, announces her retirement. She decides to throw a party at recess and forces the students to make her cards. Instead, Harold and George create a comic. In it, Ms. Ribble gives the students 41 book reports over the holidays, but afterwards they fall on top of her resulting in her death. When she is taken to the hospital, she is turned into a robot with a wedgie robo-claw hidden in her hair. She begins to attack, and Captain Underpants arrives to defeat her, but he fails. She hangs him on a pole, but he is eventually rescued by a group of children. He has another battle with Wedgie Woman and wins this time. As the comic ends, Captain Underpants takes her to jail.
As a result, George and Harold are sent to the principal’s office. The secretary makes them hand out the weekly memo, which they do, but not before making some hilarious changes to the schedule.
Later, the boys run into Principal Krupp and trick him into signing a blank card that they claim is for Ms. Ribble’s retirement. Principal Krupp eventually discovers the comic and places the boys in detention. Since the boys can no longer deliver the card to Ms. Ribble, Principal Krupp decides to give it to her himself.
Meanwhile, Ms. Ribble’s party is in action and is not going well. Principal Krupp delivers the care to Ms. Ribble, but unknown to him, George and Harold made it appear that he is proposing marriage. Principal Krupp is shocked, but does not say that the proposal was unintentional. George and Harold do not play any tricks during the ceremony, but Ms. Ribble announces she cannot marry Principal Krupp at the alter because has a ridiculous nose. Principle Krupp is angry and reveals that George and Harold were the ones to arrange the marriage. Ms. Ribble gets angry and goes after the boys.
When Ms. Ribble tells George and Harold that she is drastically dropping their grades, they devise a plan to hypnotize her. They tell her not to turn into Wedgie Woman. Unknown to George and Harold, the police have decided to recall the ring since it effects women differently than men. They perform the opposite of whatever they are told to do.
George and Harold return to their treehouse that night, and Ms. Ribble appears dressed as Wedgie Woman. However, she doesn’t have any super powers, so the boys easily put a stop her. She trips and accidentally spills super-power juice on her brain and hair, giving her super powered hair and intelligence. Her hair now has tiny head that can extend to give people wedgies.
Wedgie Woman captures George and Harold and proceeds to make robot versions of them –Evil George and Evil Harold. The are the exact opposite of the boys and behave perfectly. They are specifically designed to destroy Captain Underpants on sight. Wedgie Woman names the robots Robo-George and Harold 2000. When the robots meet Captain Underpants, he thinks they are the real George and Harold and is immediately defeated. Meanwhile, the boys are tied to chairs watching everything unfold on a TV. Wedgie Woman set up traps that fortunately malfunction and the boys escape.
George and Harold find all the police officers in town hung from street poles along with Captain Underpants–the work of Wedgie Woman and the robots. The boys rescue him. Captain Underpants is convinced he lost his powers, so the boys decide to write a comic about the origin of Captain Underpants. Once he reads the comic, Captain Underpants believes he has regained his powers. He proceeds to defeat the two robots. During a battle between Captain Underpants and Wedgie Woman, the boys use reverse psychology to get Wedgie Woman to use a bottle of hair remover that she thinks is starch(he secret weapon). She sprays the bottle everywhere, and once the smoke clears everyone is bald. Wedgie Woman loses her hair and her super powers.
George and Harold re-hypnotize Wedgie Woman, turning her back into Ms. Ribble. This time she is a nicer version of herself. She is kind and bakes cookies for everyone.
Captain Underpants and the Wrath of the Wicked Wedgie Woman visits themes of ant-authority, good vs. evil, and the idea that children are smarter than adults. The boys not only ridicule their teacher by creating a negative image of her in a comic book rather than making her a card for her retirement, but they also outsmart Principal Krupp and trick him into proposing marriage to Ms. Ribble. Discuss the appropriateness of the behavior with your children, and how the children may have otherwise solved their problems.
Captain Underpants and the Big, Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy, Part 1 begins as George and Harold are demonstrating a new prank for a speech in school. They call it the “squishy”. It involves ketchup packets placed on the toilet seat so whoever sits down to use the toilet will end up with ketchup splashed all over them. The speech is well received, and everyone in the school including the teachers are eager to try it. However, Melvin Sneedly insists they listen to his presentation before they leave. He displays his newest invention the Combin-o-Tron 2000. To demonstrate how the machine works he takes his pet hampster Sulu, and a robot hamster and combines them with the machine, creating a bionic hamster. Melvin attempts to get Sulu to do tricks, but he refuses to obey. Melvin cries and says he no longer wants the hamster, so George and Harold adopt him.
Ms. Ribble plays the prank on Principal Krupp who believes George and Harold are responsible, even when she tells him otherwise. He then discovers that the entire 4th grade is giving and receiving the prank. Melvin tattles on George and Harold, explaining to Principal Krupp that they were the ones to teach the prank to everyone. Principal Krupp gives George and Harold detention, and they decide to write a comic about Melvin because they are so angry.
The comic revolves around a tattletale named Melvin who tells on everyone anytime they break a rule. Eventually, he tells on a group of robbers. He is a hero and becomes the youngest mayor in history. As mayor, he makes ridiculous rules and the jails fill up quickly. Melvin creates a robot called the Tattlletron 2000 to capture any lawbreakers. When Captain Underpants appears he is immediately captures, but he easily escapes. He devises a plan to fight to robot and free its captives. He feeds the robot prune juice, causing him to poop out the lawbreakers. Captain Underpants puts Melvin in jail and releases the remaining prisoners.
When Melvin reads the comic, he is angry. He decides to make a bionic version of himself to have superpowers like Sulu. He builds a robot with superpowers and plans to use the Combine-o-Tron 2000 to combine himself with it. Melvin sneezes at the last second and ends up part boy, part robot, and part mucus, resulting in Bionic Booger Boy.
As Bionic Booger Boy, Melvin is a star football player, volleyball player and has his own drinking fountain. When flu season comes, he sneezes huge amounts of snot and has a voice like a monster. On a class trip to the tissue factory, he destroys the factory to defend himself.
George summons Captain Underpants, and when he rescues his secretary, she kisses him turning him back into Principal Krupp. Bionic Booger Boy attacks George and Harold next, and they are saved by Sulu.
Melvin’s parents try to change him back to normal, and when they change the batteries in the Combine-o-Tron at George and Harold’s suggestion, it works. However, in the process he switches bodies with Principal Krupp. The booger globs fly off of Melvin and come to life, destroying the Combine-o-Tron 2000. The book ends as the boogers chase George, Harold, Prinicpal Krupp, Melvin, and Sulu.
Captain Underpants and the Big, Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy Part 1 includes controversial anti-authority themes and theme of good vs. evil and acceptance. As the boys are readily accepted by the school while they are demonstrating a prank for their demonstration speech, Melvin Sneedly is ignored as he attempts to show off his new invention. He later becomes their enemy and refuses to help George and Harold since they made him look uncool in a comic. Discuss the appropriateness of the behavior of the boys in this book, and how it is important that everyone feels accepted.
Captain Underpants and the Big, Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy, Part 2 starts just a few moments after part 1 ends. George, Harold, Principal Krupp, Melvin, and Sulu are being chased by the bionic boogers. They are almost caught when Sulu swallows the boogers and spits them heroically into space.
Everyone soon realizes that Principal Krupp and Melvin have exchanged bodies. To keep them apart, they are given the names Mr. Melvin and Kruppy the Kid. Kruppy the Kid convinces Mr. Melvin to make a new machine to change them back. Mr. Melvin agrees, but explains that it will take 6 months. Because of the long amount of time, George develops an idea to build a time machine instead to bring them back to the original Combine-o-Tron 2000, and they all agree it is a much better idea since that will take only one or two days.
Fingers are snapped and Kruppy the Kid turns into Captain Underpants. The boys let Melvin in on the secret, and Melvin devises a plan to keep Captain Underpants’ superpowers once they are returned to their bodies.
Melvin tells George and Harold to create a comic book with him as a character while he builds the time machine. In the comic, a barrel of nuclear waste is accidentally dumped on a field of cotton. Once the cotton is harvested, it is made into underwear, and Melvin’s mother buys him a pair on sale. The underwear grows into a monster overnight and in the morning, war is declared. Captain Underpants defeats the monster and takes Melvin to jail.
Melvin is angry the next day when he finds out the comic does not depict him as cool. He shows George and Harold the time traveling machine and warns them to be careful, because if it is used more than once without letting it recover, something bad will happen. He gives them a device that erases short term memory and a Combine-o-Tron decoy to replace the real once with. The boys go back in time two days and get the machine.
Later, George and Harold return to the library and use the time machine a second time to travel backwards in time and capture a Qutraleoatulus that Harold calls Crackers. They return just as the librarian is trying to steal the Combine-o-Tron and memory eraser to take to the police. At the sight of the dinosaur, the librarian is convinced it is all a dream. The boys send the dinosaur back to his own time and erase the librarians memory.
Kruppy the Kid is meanwhile getting into trouble as Captain Underpants. He is found by Mr. Melvin and they return to their original bodies.
The robo-boogers land on a spaceship on Uranus. There is a brief cameo of the Talking Toilets from the second book. They ride the spaceship as it returns to earth and begin to cause distruction. Captain Underpants tried to stop them and then realizes his super powers stayed with Melvin. Melvin will not help unless George and Harold change the comic.
Captain Underpants fight the robo-boogers anyway. Together with the help of George and Harold, they discover the boogers are killed when they are hit with oranges. They kill one by throwing oranges at him, but trick the other two with an orange “squishy”.
Melvin lies and tells the news station that his superpowers defeated to robo-boogers. George and Harold successfully switch Melvin’s powers back to Principal Krupp’s body and erase the memory of the newscast.
Later, at the treehouse, George discovers that Harold kept Crackers for a pet instead of returning him. The boys decide return the dinosaur without letting the machine rest. As the story comes to a close, the boys are in the time machine as something terrible happens.
Captain Underpants and the Big, Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy Part 2 explores themes of anti-authority, good vs. evil, and acceptance. Once an outcast, Melvin is working together with George, Harold and Captain Underpants until he discovers that they still find him uncool and become uncooperative. Discuss with your children what appropriate and inappropriate behavior is shown throughout the book. Bring up the topic of acceptance.
Captain Underpants and the Preposterous Plight of the Purple Potty People opens just as the previous book ends. Harold and George along with their pets are transported to a universe where everything is an alternate reality. They meet Captain Blunderpants, an evil Captain Underpants and Evil George and Evil Harold.
Evil George and Evil Harold kidnap Crackers and Sulu and hypnotize them to become evil. It works on Sulu, and he attacks Harold and George, but it does not work on Crackers who saves them. The boys then assume Crackers is a female since hypnosis works differently on females.
They eventually return back to their normal world but bring along the nice version Mr. Krupp, Evil Harold and George and Evil Sulu. Evil George and Evil Harold pour water of the head of their version of Mr. Krupp, transforming him into Captain Blunderpants.
The boys plan to find Sulu and leave with a bottle of superpower juice, but first they must eat with their grandparents. Because of the delay, Evil Harold and Evil George discover the growth machine created in book four and turn Sulu into an enormous monster. As Harold and George arrive at the scene and try to consume the superpower juice, but their is none left. They summon Captain Underpants. He proceeds to defeat the evil Sulu monster. Captain Blunderpants is turned back into the nice version of Mr. Krupp. Captain Underpants ties him up, but a rain storm comes transforming nice version of Mr. Krupp back into Captain Blunderpants. Likewise, Captain Underpants into Principal Krupp. Principal Krupp walks home.
Having drank the superpower juice, Harold and George’s grandparents arrive as Great Granny Girdle and Boxer Boy. By working together, Captain Blunderpants is defeated. Evil George and Evil Harold attempt to shrink them, but instead they shrink themselves. Evil George and Evil Harold are returned to their alternate universe, and Sulu is returned to normal.
When it seems everything has returned to normal, George and Harold are arrested by the police who think the are Evil George and Evil Harold and taken to jail. As the book ends, they are being chased in jail by Professor Tinkle Trousers.
The book contains two comics, one by Evil George and Evil Harold and the other by George and Harold. Evil George and Harold’s comic is about Captain Blunderpants. In it the nice Mr. Krupp was being too kind. Evil Harold and Evil George hypnotized him, transforming him to Captain Blunderpants. As he is being chased for stealing a pizza, he gains superpowers by drinking a combination of two foods. After that, he could be turned into Captain Blunderpants by being doused with water and back into the nice version of Mr. Krupp whenever someone snaps a finger.
The real George and Harold’s comic begins as a UFO lands opening a store to trade their regular grandparents in for improved robo-grandparents. Harold and George were the only ones who did not trade their grandparents in. One day, their grandparents find out that the regular grandparents are being kept as slaves. George and Harold’s Grandparents ate candies with superpowers and turned into Great Granny Girdle and Boxer Boy. They set out on a mission to save the other grandparents. They chased the aliens back onto their UFO. When the UFO tried to attack, Boxer Boy turned it into a giant candy. As the robots tried to eat it, the fuel line explodes, killing all the villains. Boxer Boy and Great Granny Girdle freed the other grandparents.
Captain Underpants and the Preposterous Plight of the Purple Potty People explores themes of good vs. evil, anti-authority, and the definition of right and wrong. In this book, the reader is introduced to alternate versions of George, Harold, Mr. Krupp and Captain Underpants. Each character has a different definition of what is right. Although the alternate versions of Harold and George follow the rules, they are considered evil. Discuss the actions of the characters in the book with your children. Describe your definition of right and wrong and ask them to describe theirs to you.
Captain Underpants and the Terrifying Return of Tippy Tinkletrousers begins where the last book ends. Tippy Tinkletrousers is chasing George, Harold, and Principal Krupp while they are being taken to jail. However, it is revealed that he is a future version of himself that is time traveling has changed the normal timeline of events. The Banana Pie Paradox is explained, meaning if something is changed in the past it remains in the future.
The story flashes to the natural timeline beforeTIppy Tinkletrousers time travels to chase George, Harold and Principal Krupp. This time, they do not go to jail. Instead, Tippy Tinkletrousers is in still in prison, where he was placed in the fourth book. He is instructed to make a statue depicting the warden of the prison. Tippy agrees to build the statue, but instead of doing as he is told, he constructs a giant robot. When it is finished, Tippy goes to the warden to present his project. He reveals the giant robot, climbs inside and proceeds to freeze anyone blocking his way.
Tippy Tinkletrouser finds Principal Krupp and picks him up, demanding that he take him to Harold and George. Once the two boys are found, he sets Principal Krupp down and demands information from George and Harold about Captain Underpants. Thee boys snap their fingers, Principal Krupp transforms, and Captain Underpants appears. Tippy Trousers begins chasing Captain Underpants. His attempts to freeze Captain Underpants are unsuccessful, and during his struggle, he ends up freezing the robot’s legs instead. Finally, Tippy Tinkletrousers decides to travel back in time five years as a final attempt to escape.
As the story flashes back five years, the reader is introduced to younger versions of Harold and George who are in Kindergarten. The Kindergarten versions of George and Harold have a difficult time in school. Principal Krupp’s nephew, Kipper Krupp is a bully that harasses the boys daily. George and Harold devise a plan to put a stop to Kipper’s bullying. They come up with a number of ways to prank him, including stuffing girly items in his locker, and ordering an extra spicy pizza. Finally, they trick Kipper into believing he sees a ghost to put an end once and for all to the bullying. Kipper is so scared that he flees the school with his friends during a thunderstorm that causes the lights to go out. Outside, they see Tippy arriving as he journeys through time. The robot appears to Kipper and his friends like a ghost. They are terrified and driven to insanity.
Principal Krupp is fired from his position as principal at the school when the police believe he is responsible for the insanity of Kipper and his gang.
His work complete, Tippy Tinkletrousers travels to the future to find a world where Captain Underpants never existed. Because Captain Underpants was created when Harold and George hypnotized him in fourth grade, and Principal Krupp is no longer present to terrify the boys in fourth grade, a world exists where Captain Underpants was never created. Instead, the earth has been destroyed by Evil Zombie Nerds, and is nothing more than a fiery wasteland.
As the book ends, it appears to be the end of the series. Tippy Tinkletrousers is squashed by a pair of Zombie Nerds that are revealed to have once been Harold and George. However, it is revealed that there is another book in the series.
George and Harold create two comics displayed throughout the book. The first revolves around a police officer and his partner, a dog name Greg. As the duo tries to diffuse a bomb, they fail to arrive in time and, as a result, they are injured in the explosion. The doctors announce that the body of the dog is dying along with the policeman’s head. The hospital crew decides to attack the dog’s head to the policeman’s body. The result is a dog/man combination that everyone refers to as “Dog Man”. The result is a police officer who is excellent and sniffing out criminals and still has hands to capture or fight them. His only downfall is that he inherited some dog-like traits such as a fear of the vacuum cleaner. Rip Van Tinkle’s former accomplice, a cat named Petey, discovers the weakness and creates a robot vacuum to rob a bank. The robot vacuum tries to attack Dog Man but eventually dies when it is unplugged. The comic ends as Petey is taken to jail.
The second comic revolves around a character name Wedgie Magee. He is constantly bullied and given wedgies until he cannot take it. He sees fortune teller who gives him an elixir to prevent wedgies. However, once he uses it, his pants turn into a ghost whenever someone tries to give him a wedgie. No one is scared of the ghost and Wedgie Magee dies of embarrassment. The haunted pants swallows the bullies as an act of revenge.
Captain Underpants and the Terrifying Return of Tippy Tinkletrousers explores themes of good vs. evil. It explores the idea of what might happen if history was altered and certain characters didn’t exist. It also explores the topic of bullying, as we discover that George and Harold were victims as children. There is some crude humor and disrespect exhibited by the characters. Discuss the behavior with your children.
Captain Underpants the the Revolting Revenge of the Radioactive Robo-Boxers begins where the last book left off. The series is seemingly over, as Tippy Tinkletrousers arrives from his time travels in a ruined world where Captain Underpants doesn’t exist. Tippy Tinkletrouser is thought to be killed when Zombie Nerd versions of George and Harold step on him. However, as the book begins, it is revealed that the red splotch thought to be the blood of Tippy is actually ketchup from a ketchup packet Tippy used as a distraction. He actually escaped when the Zombie nerd stepped on it.
Realizing what the world is like without Captain Underpants, Tippy Tinkletrousers decides to go back in time and restore the world to its rightful order. He travels back in time five years to when George and Harold are in kindergarten, and when Kipper and his friends are frightened so terribly that they go insane and are taken to a mental institution.
Due to the effects of time travel, Tippy arrives on the the scene as a second Tippy and freezes Kipper and his gang before they can encounter the first Tippy that scared them in the original scene.
Then Tippy goes back to the scene where George and Harold are nearly arrested. George and Harold hide in their time machine with Sulu and Crackers, and accidentally take Captain Underpants with them. This time, the time machine takes them to prehistoric times. Here, there are three Tippys to contend with. Through time travel, the Tiny Tippys stole the Goosy-Grow 4000 and transform one of the Tiny Tippys into a giant Tippy. The Giant Tippy defeats the Tiny Tippy and then tries to use a nuclear bomb to destroy Captain Underpants.
They escape once again in their time machine and this time they are taken to the African Savanna during caveman times. George and Harold make friends with the cavemen locals. They draw them a comic without words because the Cavemen have yet to develop a language and do not understand English. The Cavemen are thrilled with the world’s first comic and set out to help the boys defeat Tippy. The Cavemen set traps for Tippy and defeat him. Tippy uses a freezing weapon to freeze the water causing the Ice Age which in turn causes Crackers to get sick.
The protagonists are transported to the future where they find that Principal Krupp is an old man and they are now teachers. Old Mr. Krupp is transformed into Old Captain Underpants who beats up Tippy with the younger Captain Underpants. Tippy then attempt to use a nuclear bomb to destroy the galaxy. Sulu and Cracker sacrifice themselves, going back in time with Tippy to a time before the universe existed. They are blown up by a giant explosion, the big “Ka-Sploosh”, that causes the universe to form.
George and Harold discover that Crackers has laid eggs, and they commit themselves to caring for them. As the book ends Melvin Sneedly as a giant squid appears and captures them, taking them back to the future.
Captain Underpants the the Revolting Revenge of the Radioactive Robo-Boxers contains crude humor and anti-authority themes. It largely explores themes of good vs. evil and the topic of bullying. Discuss the characters’ behavior with your children and the effects bullying has on them and others.
Katniss decides that the only way around the fence is to go over it. She walks along until she finds a tree that looks all enough and sturdy enough to help her cross over. Katniss gets across the fence and as she drops to the ground she feels intense pain, knowing that she has badly injured the heel of her foot as well as her tailbone.
Katniss knows that she must pretend she is not injured or she will blow her cover, as she is not supposed to be in the woods. As an alibi, Katniss stops at the shops and picks up some stuff for her mother and Prim before heading home. Katniss finds two peacekeepers at her house waiting for her return and launches into a story about getting lost while trying to find a goat keeper who has a goat to impregnate Prim’s goat Lady with, blaming Prim for giving her bad directions.
After the peacekeepers accept her story and leave her alone Katniss reveals her injuries, which Mrs. Everdeen treats before Katniss heads to bed. While Katniss heals over the next few weeks she and Peeta add to the book of edible plants that Katniss’ father began; Katniss describes the plants and Peeta draws pictures of them. Katniss watches a news report from District 13 one day and realizes that the footage they use is old, as the same mockingjay flies by the corner of the screen in every report, as though the Capitol creates fake reports over old footage to convince the rest of Panem that there is no one in 13.
Katniss is to have a photo spread done modeling six wedding dresses which the President has chosen for her. The people of Panem and the President will decide which dress Katniss should wear in her wedding to Peeta. The prep team gets Katniss ready for her shoot, which frustrates her because it takes so long.
The day after the shoot Katniss tries to speak to Haymitch about the possible existence of people in District 13 though Haymitch does not seem to think it is possible. That night everyone has to watch a mandatory program on the television, which is of Katniss’ photo shoot, and it is followed by an announcement from the President giving the rules of the Quarter Quell, the 75th annual Hunger Games.
Every 25 years there are special rules for the Quarter Quells to remind the people of the Dark Days before the Games. Supposedly the rules for all Quarter Quells were made at the start of the games and have been locked away. At the 25th anniversary, the districts voted for tributes, at the 50th anniversary there were double the number of tributes and this year, the 75th anniversary, the tributes will be chosen from each district’s living victors; Katniss will be going into the Games again and will be accompanied by either Peeta or Haymitch.
Katniss runs from her house, horrified, and hides in the basement of one of the abandoned houses in Victor’s Village. Eventually Katniss comes out and goes to see Haymitch, who thinks that she is there to ask him to go in and save Peeta but all Katniss does is ask him for a drink.
Katniss gets drunk and stumbles home where she sees Gale and wishes that she had run away with him when she had the chance. Gale puts Katniss to bed, and she sleeps late the following day. Despite the fact that Katniss has an awful hangover, she heads to Haymitch’s house and finds that Peeta is already there and he is throwing away all of Haymitch’s alcohol.
Peeta tells Haymitch and Katniss that neither of them are to drink anymore, and they all have to start training for the Games right away. The three train together over the next few weeks and Gale even helps by teaching them to make snares. On the day of the reaping, Haymitch is drawn as the male tribute, but Peeta comes forward and volunteers to replace Haymitch. All three of them are ushered onto a train with Effie, and none of them wanted to say goodbye to their families before they left.
Once on the train Peeta, Katniss, and Haymitch are in game-mode and sit to watch the reapings from the other districts; Katniss is especially intrigued by an old lady named Mags from District 4 who steps into to take the place of a younger girl. They watch the tapes of their competitors from each one’s Hunger Games victory to study their strengths and weaknesses.
Katniss has trouble sleeping because she is suffering nightmares again and heads back down to the lounge where she finds Peeta still watching the videos. They decide to watch the video of Haymitch’s win in the Games, curious as to how he was victorious. Haymitch was allied with his co-tribute from District 12, a girl who was a good friend of Mrs. Everdeen. Haymitch found a way to use the force field around the arena to his advantage, which is how he won; Katniss realizes that Haymitch has shown his rebellion against the Capitol before, and his defiance could greatly aid Katniss in saving Peeta.
Peeta and Katniss realize that Haymitch has caught them watching the video, but he is not angry at them, though seemingly angry at the Games.
As the prep team gets Katniss ready to present herself in the Capitol they cry incessantly at the idea of possibly losing her again. Katniss complains to Cinna about the tears, and he promises that he will speak to them about it. Each year the tribute must dress for the opening ceremony to represent the industry for which their district is known; for District 12 it is coal mining.
Cinna sticks with his theme from the previous year of dressing Katniss to represent not a coal miner, but coal itself and she is put into a suit that appears to be a glowing, burning, piece of coal. As Katniss is waiting by her chariot Finnick Odair, the tribute from District 4 who is ridiculously good looking, approaches her and makes a pass, though he leaves when Peeta comes over. Katniss and Peeta hold hands throughout the ride, but they do not smile and wave as they did the previous year.
In the elevator back at the training center Johanna Mason, the tribute from District 7, strips naked and rides up with them. Finnick finds it hilarious that Katniss is so innocent that people cannot help but to try to tease her. Katniss is only angry until the elevator door opens and she finds herself facing her favorite peacekeeper from District 12, Darius, who has been turned into an Avox.
Katniss is very upset to find that Darius has become an Avox and her sleep that night is interrupted by nightmares, once again. In the morning, Katniss is feeling quite rebellious but Haymitch convinces her that she must come to training and it would be beneficial for her and Peeta to ally herself with other tributes before the Games begin, though Katniss has no desire to do so.
At the rope station, Katniss is approached by Finnick who teaches her a particularly complicated knot; Finnick knows a lot about knots because he is from the fishing district. At the fire building station, Katniss meets Beetee and Wiress, the older tributes from District 2 whom she takes an instant liking to despite the fact that she knows Haymitch will not approve of them as allies. Beetee teaches Katniss how to see a force field, which not many people can do.
Katniss has to sit with everyone at lunch, and to her dismay she begins to like the other tributes which she will, unfortunately, be involved in a bloodbath with soon. On the final day of training, Katniss does not know what to do for the judges so she hangs a dummy from the ceiling and writes “Seneca Crane” on it in blood-red paint. Seneca Crane was the previous head gamemaker who had been killed, which was covered up, after he allowed both Katniss and Peeta to win the previous Hunger Games.
When Haymitch finds out about Katniss’ stunt in the judging room he is not happy; nor is he happy when he learns that in judging Peeta drew a picture in dyes of Rue’s body after Katniss had covered it with sunflowers. Both Peeta and Katniss get top scores from the judges which Haymitch knows is just the judges’ way of painting a target on both of them in the eyes of the other tributes.
The next day Katniss and Peeta are allowed to relax, and they spend the day having a picnic on the roof. The following day it is time for interviews with Caesar Flickerman and President Snow requests that Katniss wear the wedding dress he chose for her. Katniss remarks that the dress is quite heavier than she remembers, and Cinna informs her that he had to make some alterations. When Katniss finally takes the stage to give her interview, she takes the cue from Cinna to twirl and show off her dress; as she does so the entire thing seems to go up in flames, and when they clear what remains is a gown inspired by a mockingjay.
Katniss knows that Cinna has placed himself in a world of trouble by making this statement and she silently appreciates him but worries about him all the same. The crowd is beside themselves with sadness over the fact that Katniss and Peeta will never be able to get married as one of them will soon die but Peeta surprises the audience by telling them that he and Katniss are already married in their minds.
Peeta says that they performed a traditional marriage ceremony in District 12, though it is not legally binding; then he shares with the audience that Katniss is pregnant with his child, which catches Katniss by surprise. At the end of the interviews the tributes all take stage together, and, as a symbol of unity, they all join hands before the audience. The Capitol is outraged as this show of solidarity and sends everyone home who is not directly involved in the games.
The next morning Cinna dresses Katniss for her second turn in the Games and puts her into the tube that will bring her to the arena. The tube closes, but Katniss is not sent up to the arena right away, instead she is stuck watching as Cinna is beaten and dragged away by peacekeepers. Katniss is send up into the tube, in total shock, and finds herself in the middle of a huge body of water; the message to Katniss seems clear, a “girl on fire” cannot survive in water.
Katniss realizes that each tribute is standing on a platform in the water and must swim to a land arm that connects to the cornucopia; Katniss feels fortunate that she knows how to swim because she is sure that many tributes do not. When Katniss arrives at the cornucopia she finds that Finnick is the only other one there, but he seems to be wearing a gold bracelet just like the one she saw Haymitch wearing so she thinks he is supposed to be her ally, though she does not trust him.
Finnick saves Katniss from the District 5 man, and she takes the opportunity to take a bow and arrows from the stockpile of supplies. Katniss works with Finnick to fend off some of the other tributes. They soon realize that the cornucopia has nothing but weapons, no survival supplies, so they take as many weapons as they can.
Katniss sees Peeta still standing on his platform because he does not know how to swim so Finnick goes to rescue him and then gets Mags and the four of them quickly retreat. Katniss climbs a tree to check out the situation and sees that several tributes have died at the cornucopia. They decide to look for fresh water, but as they are walking Peeta walks straight into a force field and falls to the ground.
Peeta’s heart has stopped beating so Finnick performs some sort of strange act of breathing into Peeta’s lungs (CPR, though Katniss has does not know what it is called) to bring him back to life as Katniss screams and begs for him to come back to her.
After Finnick saves Peeta they decide they must find water now, especially because Peeta is weakened. Finnick asks Katniss how she knew a force field was there because he saw that she was about to yell before Peeta ran into it, and she tells them that she can hear the electricity with the ear that the Capitol fixed for her after the last Games; this is not true though, Katniss learned how to see force fields from Beetee.
They walk the perimeter of the force field, and find no water so they take the slope downward and decide to make camp for the night.Katniss goes out on her own and sees an animal in a tree that looks like a rat, and his mouth is wet; Katniss knows there must be water somewhere. Finnick and Mags have created a shelter for the four of them, and Katniss gives Peeta the rat creature she killed to cook for dinner.
That night eight faces are shown in the sky and Katniss realizes there are only eight of them left in the arena. Katniss gets a gift from a sponsor, and it is recognized as a spile; Katniss realizes she has to tap the trees for water and it works. As Katniss keeps watch that night, she hears a loud gong sound go off twelve times and struggles with what it could mean. Soon a fog comes over their camp that makes Katniss’ skin blister.
As Katniss, Peeta, Finnick, and Mags all run from the fog they realize that not only is it blistering their skin but it is also taking control of their nerves, making it difficult to have control over their bodies.Peeta and Mags are affected the worst, and cannot walk for themselves so Finnick carries Peeta and Katniss tries to carry Mags. Katniss cannot hold Mags for very long and Finnick knows he cannot carry both, which he tells Mags; to Katniss’ shock Mags gives Finnick a kiss on the cheek and runs into the fog, killing herself. As the three stumble to the water’s edge to escape, the fog Katniss realizes that the salt water greatly soothes her blisters and she shares this information with Peeta.
The two of them have to drag Finnick into the water because he is hurt worse than they are and cannot move for himself. Peeta goes to tap a tree and Katniss realizes that the monkeys in the trees seem to be congregating together, and staring down at them. Katniss calls to Peeta but as soon as he moves the monkeys attack. Katniss uses all her arrows and asks Peeta to throw her more, and he drops his knife in the process. Unarmed, Peeta is nearly attacked by a monkey but the girl from District 6 jumps in between Peeta and the monkey, saving him and badly injuring herself.
As the monkeys retreat, Katniss, Peeta, and Finnick try to help the girl who saved Peeta, but her wounds are too severe and they just keep her company and hold her hand while she dies. Katniss offers to keep watch so Finnick can rest that night, but he refuses, insisting that she sleep and Katniss can tell that Finnick wants some time to be alone so he can grieve for the loss of Mags.
In the morning, Katniss’ blisters itch terribly so she asks for Haymitch to send her something and only moments later she receives some tar ointment that looks atrocious but soothes the itching. Finnick catches some shellfish for breakfast, and the trio sees three other people stumbling out of the woods coughing; Katniss recognizes them as Johanna Mason from District 7 and Beetee and Wiress. Johanna seems to dislike Katniss and tells her that she only saved Beetee and Wiress for her, which Katniss does not understand. Beetee has injuries that Katniss attends to and Wiress keeps babbling incoherently “tick, tock, tick, tock”.
That night Katniss sees the lightning accompanied by twelve gongs sounds again and realizes what Wiress is trying to tell them; the arena is a clock.
Katniss tells everyone what Wiress has discovered; each section of the arena corresponds to a time on the clock and in each section of the clock a different kind of attack happens – the fog, the monkeys, etc. They decide to sit at the cornucopia and watch the different sections of the arena to see what each section does and at what time.
At the cornucopia, they restock their weapons and Peeta draws a picture of the arena in the sand so they can keep track of the sections. As they are distracted, the tributes from Districts 1 and 2 attack; Katniss and Johanna manage to kill the tributes from 1 but not before they kill Wiress.
The tributes from District two hide behind the cornucopia and Katniss chases after them but the island they are all standing on begins to spin out of control and everyone is forced to hold on for their lives. When the island stops spinning, Finnick saves Beetee from the water and Katniss swims out to Wiress’ body to get the wire that Beetee found in the cornucopia and seems so important to him.
The five who are remaining head back toward the jungle and despite Katniss’ uneasy feelings she goes off with Finnick to get water while Peeta stays on the beach with Johanna to make another clock drawing. In the jungle, Katniss hears Prim’s screams.
Katniss runs after the voice and soon realizes that Prim’s scream is coming from a jabberjay, a genetically mutated bird, and Katniss kills the bird. When Finnick comes after her, he too hears the voice of someone he loves and runs off in the other direction. As Katniss and Finnick run away they come to a wall that does not let them get away from the birds, they have to wait until that section of the clock is done with its torture. Katniss and Finnick are both convinced that their loved ones are being tortured by the Capitol, and their screams were recorded, but Beetee assures them that it would be all too easy for the government to create the false screams of anyone they want.
That night they watch the faces of the dead flash in the sky and receive a gift of rolls from District 3. Beetee is sure to count the rolls before anyone eats them, and they decide to save some of them for later. Peeta and Katniss keep watch together that night and Katniss finds that Peeta has brought a locket with him that contains pictures of Mrs. Everdeen, Prim, and Gale; he uses the locket to try to convince Katniss to let him die to save her but Katniss refuses.
The next day Katniss tries to convince Peeta that they have to break away from the others because they will have to kill them soon enough, but Peeta thinks that they should wait. Beetee comes up with a plan that day to kill the District 2 tributes; he will run his wire from the lightning source that strikes at midnight into the water and kill the tributes when they are on the beach.
They all hike up to the lightning tree together, and Katniss tells them where the force field is so they stay away; Beetee is amused when the others tell him that Katniss can hear the force field because he knows that he taught her how to see it. After Beetee is done examining the tree, and the area around it they all go back to the beach where they dine on seafood and more rolls that have been sent from District 3.
The next day they all head to the lightning tree so Beetee can rig the electrical wire. Beetee tells Johanna and Katniss to run down to the jungle, carefully placing the wire, so they can quickly head off to section one of the clock where they will be safe. Katniss does not want to leave Peeta behind because she still worries that the others are going to turn on them and separating them will create the perfect opportunity; however, Katniss and Johanna are the fastest so it makes the most sense.
Halfway down the hill Johanna gives the wire to Katniss and shortly after the wire snaps back at Katniss and she finds herself being thrown to the ground with a hard blow; Katniss is barely conscious, but she can feel that Johanna is sitting on her and digging her knife into Katniss’ arm. When Katniss comes to, she is sure that her fears have been realized and she runs back up the mountain to get Peeta.
Katniss finds Beetee unconscious with wire securing a knife to his hand, and she remembers what Haymitch told her before she left for the Games – to remember who the real enemy is, which Katniss knows is the Capitol. Katniss wraps the wire around one of her arrows and shoots it into the force field; sure that is what Beetee was trying to do.
Lightning strikes and Katniss sees the arena start to fall apart right in front of her eyes. A hovercraft comes and takes Katniss out of the arena, and she finds herself in the presence of the head gamemaker before she passes out. When Katniss comes to she finds herself in a medical room and Beetee is in the bed next to her; she is sure they have been captured by the Capitol. Katniss feels that Peeta must be getting tortured, so she grabs a syringe that she plans to use to kill him so he will not suffer, and goes down the hall.
Katniss hears Finnick’s and Haymitch’s voices coming from another room along with the head gamemaker, Plutarch Heavensbee. Katniss reveals her presence and she is told that there was a plan in place all along to rescue Katniss from the arena and many of the other tributes had made their promise to save Katniss and Peeta at all costs, even if it meant their own lives. Katniss has become the face of the rebellion, and she needs to live to spark hope in others and they knew that if Peeta did not survive then Katniss would not be a strong enough leader.
Katniss finds out that Peeta was not rescued by them; however, because the Capitol got to him before they could, and also finds out that they are on their way to District 13 where people are still living and the rebellion is stationed. Katniss is devastated by her fear for what is happening to Peeta in the Capitol and confused at the new information. Gale comes into the room, injured, and tells Katniss that her family is fine but District 12 has been destroyed.
What Happened to Candide, Cunegonde, Pangloss, Martin, Etc.
The group sets out to rescue Cunegonde and the old woman, and on the way the Baron and Pangloss tell their tales. Candide apologizes to the Baron for stabbing him, but the Baron graciously forgives him. He says that after he was stabbed a surgeon took him in and nursed him back to health. Later, he was abducted by Spanish troops and sent to prison. Eventually, he ended up employed in Constantinople where he was caught bathing with a Muslim. For this crime, he was sent to the galley as a slave.
After hearing the Baron’s story, Candide asks Pangloss to reveal how he survived. Since the Inquisition has more experience burning people than hanging them, they did not tie the knot well, and his flow of air was not entirely cut off. A surgeon took his “corpse” home to dissect it, but when he cut into Pangloss’s body the philosopher screamed. Startled, the surgeon fell back, and his wife came to see what the commotion was. After Pangloss begged for their help the surgeon sewed him back up, and the wife nursed him back to health.
Later, Pangloss entered the service of a Venetian merchant and one day went into a mosque. There, he saw a beautiful young woman accidentally drop a bouquet that lay by her bosom. In returning it, Pangloss “took too long” and was ousted as a Christian. His crime was to be sent to the galley where he met the Baron, and they spent many days arguing about whose crime was worse. Candide asks Pangloss if, after all his hardships, he still believes everything is for the best. Pangloss still thinks that is true and does not renounce his philosophy.
How Candide Found Cunegonde and the Old Woman Again
During their conversation, Candide and the group arrive at the house of the prince. They see Cunegonde and the old woman outside doing laundry. The Baron and Candide are shocked at Cunegonde’s transformation – her skin is browned and wrinkled and she has lost all of her beauty. Candide ransoms Cunegonde and the old woman and decides, with the old woman’s advice, to buy a small farm.
Once they are settled, Cunegonde reminds Candide of his promise to marry her. She is not aware that she is no longer beautiful, and Candide cannot turn her down. The Baron, however, still insists that Candide cannot marry Cunegonde because of their slight difference in royal blood. Candide reminds the Baron of all that he has done for Cunegonde, and the fact that he just rescued the Baron from slavery. Still, the Baron insists that Candide cannot marry his sister while he is alive.
In truth, Candide does not wish to marry Cunegonde because she is so ugly, but wants to prove the Baron wrong. He consults the others, who all have different opinions about how to deal with the Baron. They decide to send him back to the galley without telling Cunegonde, and go ahead with the plan.
Now that Candide is with Cunegonde and all his friends living in peace, he and the others should be happy. However, instead they are miserable and bored. Cunegonde keeps getting uglier and harder to handle, the old woman becomes increasingly feeble, and Cacambo, who works in the garden, curses his work. Martin is the only one who stays the same. From time to time, they still talk about philosophy and good and evil. Candide wonders whether it would be worse to go through more hardships or to be bored as they are now. Martin comes to the conclusion that man is never satisfied. Even Pangloss, though he says everything is for the best, does not truly believe it.
One day Paquette and Friar Giroflee come to the farm. All the money Candide gave them is gone, and they are even worse off than before. Martin gloats at being right in that the money would only bring them more hardship instead of making them happy.
After a while, Candide and the others go to ask a famous Turkish philosopher about all the questions about life and happiness they have not been able to answer. The great philosopher is not helpful and slams the door in their faces. On their way home, they meet an old man who invites them inside for food. Candide is impressed by the man and his children, as well as their simple lifestyle. Most of all, he realizes that they are happier than any others he has encountered on his journey, even the wealthy.
He decides that man was not born to be idle, and that everyone needs to work in the gardens on their estate. Each member of the household learns a skill and helps around the house. Sometimes, Pangloss reflects on the string of events leading up to their life on the farm. Candide listens to him, but always replies that they need to “cultivate the garden.”
Sazed is in his room, studying and transcribing the rubbings he found. He knows that these few pages of transcribed text could keep him busy for months or even years. Vin enters through his window and wants to talk to him about the deepness. Sazed talks about if the deepness is even real or if it’s just a made-up story, some propaganda spun by the Lord Ruler. Vin says she thinks it’s real and tells Sazed that she thinks it’s actually the mist itself. The log book and the rubbings don’t say the mist actually killed people but that people died because of the mist. That could be because a permenant mist that covered the ground would kill crops and live stalk, leaving people to die of starvation. Vin also tells Sazed about the mist spirit that has been following her.
The assembly gathers, and Elend gets an opportunity to explain what he has done with his father. He uses twenty minutes to tell of the situation with the two armies and how his meeting with Straff went. He tells them that he used Vin’s power to threaten Straff, a move that may protect the city for some time yet. Meanwhile, Vin tries to pay attention to Elend’s meeting. She sees Zane in the crowd, and he smiles at her. They then have nominations for who should run for king. Elend and Lord Penrod are nominated, and, lastly, Cett is nominated. The man reveals himself to be in the crowd.
Vin sits in her room, studying the stacks of papers she has there. OreSeur is there with her, and they talk about the religious beliefs of the kandra. They practically worship the Contract above all else, the agreement they have with their human masters. Meanwhile, Elend discovers that some of the wells in Luthadel are being poisoned by someone, probably one of the armies outside. Vin talks to Dockson, and in the conversation, she determines that he can’t be the spy. She and OreSeur turn their attentions toward a new option: Demoux, a captain of the guard.
Elend works to find a way to convince the assembly to name him king again, while Vin wants to tell him her theory about Demoux. Tindwyle gets upset with Sazed when she finds out that he helped write part of the laws Elend put into place a year ago. Vin leaves the group and finds Zane, who immediately attacks her. She thinks he wants to spar, like before, but the fight becomes aggressive and Vin must fight him to survive. Zane tells her that he was ordered to kill her and that this attack was a warning. There are also many refugees coming from the koloss army, on their way to seek refuge in Luthadel. After giving his two warnings, Zane leaves.
Vin tries on another custom-made dress. Tindwyl tells her that Elend has nearly learned as much as he can from her; he’ll now have to learn to be a good leader through experience. Elend prepares his armored escort and carriage to go and see Cett. Breeze decides not to go, since he and Cett have history, which would only make the situation worse. When Elend and Vin actually enter the keep Cett is staying in and talk to the man, they discover just how sincere he is. He doesn’t want his daughter back, trusting that Elend will take good care of her. Cett wants Elend to step down from the election for king, and in return he won’t have Elend killed when he is made king. They also talk about the fact that no atium was found in all of Luthadel. Finally, Cett dismisses the two.
Sazed wanders through warehouse full of refugees from the koloss attacks, trying to help and health where he can. Tindwyl comes in and talks to him. She wants to see what he’s found–the rubbings he’s been transcribing. Meanwhile, Breeze has been listening in on the conversation, soothing both people in a way that would make them more friendly to each other. He walks among the refugees, trying to sooth away bad emotions and make them feel better. Elend and Ham come in, and Elend wants to make sure all the people have the clothes they need. Later, Breeze goes into the keep and has a secret meeting with Clubs. Though they always seem to hate each other, they drink together and talk; they’ve struck up a strange companionship. Allrianne walks in and tries to steal Breeze away. Vin, watching from outside, discovers that Allrianne is a rioter, since she was rioting Breeze’s emotions. She and OreSeur then go to find Demoux, still certain that he is the kandra spy. They find him in a little meeting of the church of the Survivor. He can’t be a spy, Vin decides. Then who is?
Sazed and Tindwyl sit together in the study, pouring over the rubbings, searching their metalminds for any references to the deepness or Hero of Ages. It’s morning, meaning they’ve been at it all night long. Tindwyl knows the course of actions Sazed takes is different from what the keepers want, but she is willing to stay with him and study these things further. Meanwhile, Elend and Ham walk along the wall. Ham comments that Elend looks more kingly than ever. As they walk, Elend announces that he has an idea to help Luthadel’s situation.
Vin, Elend, and the rest of the crew arrive early for the day of the election for king. Before the voting begins, Vin, trying to figure out what Elend has up his sleeve, discovers that he has joined the church of the Savior, in an effort to curry votes from the skaa members of the assembly. Suddenly, a groups of allomancers attack Elend and Cett. Vin manages to fight off the men, getting badly hurt in the process. After the fighting, the vote is moved to a more secure location, and the assembly members each announce their vote. Surprisingly, Penrod, a nobleman from the assembly is chosen the new king. Elend hands over his crown and leaves.
Straff Venture is angry that Zane sent a group of his allomancers to their deaths while Vin still lives. Zane promises that he has a plan to take care of her. Meanwhile, Straff meets with Penrod, the new king of Luthadel. Penrod is planning to give Luthadel to Straff, opening the gates to him and handing over the kingship. Straff, on the other hand, doesn’t want to enter the city while Vin still lives. Later, Zane tells Straff that he has been poisoned again. Zane leaves, and Straff is forced to ride hard back into the camp so his mistress can make him another antidote tea.
Vin awakes to see that Elend is with her. He tells her that he is not king, and he reports that OreSeur, who was badly hurt in the fight, is currently digesting a new set of bones. Vin feels that Elend is now scared of her somehow because of the way she fought those allomancers. Vin goes back to sleep, and awakes to find Zane there. He accuses her, saying that she could have killed those attackers easily had she not been so distracted with protecting Elend and other innocents. Later, OreSeur visits Vin, in another dog’s body. They talk more about the Contract that binds all kandra. Vin uses brass and duralumin to push strongly on OreSeur’s emotions. Even though he at first does not react at all, with enough force, Vin hurts him very badly, and she felt like she were controlling him for a moment. She apologizes for hurting OreSeur, and he leaves to get some rest. Vin promise to never tell anyone what she’s discovered about kandra.
Sazed and Tindwyl continue to talk about the things they are learning. Something doesn’t make sense about the rubbings, written by Kwaan. It seems that Kwaan did not trust Alendi, but he also knew Alendi was a good man. But if Kwaan knew Alendi was good, why did he have his nephew, Rashek, to mislead or even kill Alendi? Elend comes in and asks for advice. After a discussion, he decides that being king isn’t about a title, but about doing something to help others. He returns to his closet and retrieves the white suite, the one made for a king.
Elend is hard at work, helping the people. He’s sending men out to dismantle the wooden parts of keeps and houses to use as firewood. The many refugees are cold and hungry, and he wants to help them. Someone comes with news that one of the gates under the river has been broken. That is how someone has been getting into the city and poisoning the wells. Also, other reports say that an Inquisitor is lurking about the city. Elend decides to go out and talk to Jastes, with the koloss army, himself. He rides out and meets Jastes, unable to make any kind of deal. On the way out, Elend manages to fight and kill one smaller koloss, earning the sword and pouch as his own. He looks into the pouch and discovers how Jastes is controlling the koloss. He’s paying them.
Vin sees Elend, now returned from his meet with the koloss army, inured and resting. Zanes comes and says that Cett was the one that planed the attack at the voting ceremony. Vin gets angry and decides to attack Cett. Zane and Vin attack the keep that Cett has been staying at in Luthadel. Together, they kill guards and hazekillers. Fueled by rage, Vin kills quickly, working her way to Cett’s room. She realizes that Zane is using atium, while she has none, and yet she’s killing just as easily as he is. They finally get to Cett’s room, where he is with his son. Vin fights them at first, but when she discovers that neither of them is an allomancer and that Cett doesn’t have a single allomancer with him, she leaves them behind, injured and scared.
The crew sees that Cett’s army is now leaving, a result of Vin’s attack on his keep the night before. Elend does not know why Vin attacked Cett like that. Some in the crew think she’s crazy, but Elend just sees her as determined. They also discover that the “coins” Jastes has been using to control the koloss are fake, wooden coins painted gold. Elend goes to find Vin, who is hiding in the city. He finds her with OreSeur’s help. She says she must leave Luthadel and go north, to Terris. Elend says he trust her to do the right thing. They have one large bead of atium, and Vin gives it to OreSeur to hold for her.
Sazed and Tindwyl compare notes, studying the rubbing and other references they’ve managed to find. Tindwyl admits that she doesn’t believe in these prophecies, her interest in them being purely academic. Sazed, on the other hand, thinks Vin might actually be the next Hero of the Ages. While they talk, they discover that someone–or something–has torn a piece from one of the transcription pages. Vin comes in, while they try to figure out at what point were they both gone or occupied to not have seen an intruder going through their things. Vin asks Sazed how she can know if she’s in love. They talk about trust. After Vin leaves, Elend comes in and starts asking similar questions. Elend thinks he and Vin are too different to make a couple, but Sazed says that, to him, they are more alike than they think. After Elend leaves, Sazed realizes that Luthadel is going to fall soon; he needs to get both Elend and Vin out of the city before that happens.
Sazed calls a meeting with the members of the crew: Dockson, Breeze, Ham, and Clubs. He doesn’t invite Elend, Vin, or Spook. They talk about how the city is sure to fall. Straff apparently is in no hurry to take Luthadel. Instead, he’ll back off and let the koloss attack the city first. The koloss will win and enter the city, pillaging as they go. Then, with the koloss weakened and tired from the fight, Venture will ride in like a hero and save the city, defeating the koloss and taking Luthadel for himself. Sazed says that Elend and Vin need to get out of the city before these things happen. He wants Spook and Tindwyl to go with them. The rest of the group will have to stay and fight and die. Meanwhile, Vin feels she must follow the drumming she hears all the time. In Straff’s camp, Zane is attacked by his father’s men. He defeats them, but spares his father. He leaves, saying that tonight he will take Vin with him and leave Luthadel. He tells Straff that he should wait for the koloss to attack and then take the city.
Vin is in her room with OreSeur when Zane visits. He wants her to come with him, but she says she can’t because she doesn’t want to leave Elend. When Zane sees that she won’t go, he attacks her. They fight. When Zane starts to burn atium, Vin asks OreSeur for the large bead, a bead Zan had given her before. OreSeur doesn’t respond to her command. Vin discovers that OreSeur is not OreSeur. He is TenSoon, Zane’s kandra. Of course! There was no other spy. The bones they found were TenSoon’s and he had killed OreSeur! Zane corners Vin, but Vin uses a massive soothing to take control of OreSeur/TenSoon and attack Zane from behind. She then cuts the bead of atium fro TenSoon. But this is another trick. The bead is lead, with only a thin layer of atium. Soon, Vin is left helpless against a Mistborn killer with atium. Vin decides that Zane can see what she’s about to do, or, rather, what she plans on doing. If she attacks without thinking, though, she can, see in Zane’s reaction what she is going to do, only to change it at the last possible second. The trick works, and Vin defeats Zane. After Zane dies, she thanks OreSeur/TenSoon for helping her win. His contract is void, and he must return to his people. Vin goes to find Elend.
Elend is in his study when Vin comes in, bloody from her fight with Zane. She tells him that she killed him. He calls for Sazed, who comes to help with the wounds. While she is there, on the ground, she asks Sazed if he knows any wedding ceremonies. Of course, he knows hundreds. Vin asks which one is the shortest, and Sazed recalls one that only requires a declaration of love between the bride and groom before an ordained witness. Vin and Elend both say that they love each other, and Sazed declares them married. The wounds are clean, and Sazed sends Vin to get some rest. He also gives them a fake map to find the Well of Ascension. If the couple follows the map, they’ll be gone from Luthadel for a long time.
Elend and Vin prepare to ride out of the city. Tindwyl decides to stay in Luthadel. Spooks gets ready to go, and Allrianne will ride out, at Breeze’s insistence. So the four of them ride out, Vin quickly having to fight pursuers from Straff’s army. Once they are free, Allrianne breaks off to find her father’s army. Meanwhile, some of the crew watch as the escape, now sure of their own coming doom. Straff Venture hears of the escapes, but he has problems of his own now. He’s getting sick, which he knows is the result of poisoning from his son, Zane. He sends for his mistress, Amaranta, to fix him an antidote, but he discovers that she isn’t preparing what she normally does. She is actually killing, as she has for a long time. There never was any poison. Zane never tried to kill his father. But Amaranta, in her constant fixing of teas for Straff, has been causing him to become addicted to a rare drug. Without that drug, Straff will die. Straff, in a rage, kills Amaranta and then swallows as much powder from her medicine cabnet as he can, hoping to accidentally swallow some of the drug he needs before he loses consciousness.
Allrianne has made her way to her father’s camp, with the help of some bandits she’s tamed with her rioting. Her father, Cett, is not happy to see her. She convinces him to go back and join the winning party in the battle that is to come, although Cett promises that will likely be Straff. Meanwhile, Elend wakes up on the third morning out of Luthadel. He and Vin share a tent now, and he finds himself surprisingly comfortable on the hard ground, with Vin next to him. They get up and prepare the fire. It’s just the three of them: Elend, Vin, and Spook. Meanwhile Straff wakes up in bed. His men have taken care of him, and they’ve isolated the plant he needs to stay alive. When he hears that Vin and Elend have left the city, the men ask if they should attack now. Straff says no; they should pull back and wait for the koloss. Sazed meets with the others to plan a strategy for when the koloss attack. They plan to have a group of men at each gate. Saze and Tindwyl get a little time together, but then the warning drums begin to beat.
Vin is thinking about how the mist is staying later and later every day, instead of just disappearing with dawn, when she feels the pulsing of the mist spirit coming from Elend’s tent. She runs in, just in time to see the outline of that spirit lift some kind of knife to attack Elend, who is sleeping on the ground. She attacks the spirit and it disappears. Elend wakes up and never knows what was happening. She leaves Elend to sleep a little more and goes out to speak with Spook. He thinks someone is following them. Meanwhile, Sazed and the crew get ready, since it looks like the Koloss are about to attack. Men are at each gate, with one crewmember there to help. Straff sees that the koloss are attacking, but he tells his men to wait. Vin and Elend attack the camp of people that have been following them. It turns out to be Jastes. He’s lost control of the koloss, so he just left them. Elend kills Jastes because of his crimes against Luthadel. Vin discovers that the drumming sounds are getting softer, meaning the well is to the south, in Luthadel, and not in the Terris mountains.
Breeze works at his assigned gate, soothing soldiers by the dozen, helping them to be brave and fight well. The koloss pound at the door, while men atop the wall rain arrows down on the attackers. The koloss throw rocks up in return, smashing archers. Meanwhile, Vin runs towards Luthadel, burning pewter. She knows she will run out of pewter long before reaching Luthadel, and she wonders if the effect will kill her. But still she keeps running. Breeze and Clubs talk while the koloss continue to beat the gate. They blame themselves for being stupid enough to be in this mess, and they blame Kelsier for getting them into such responsibilities. Just then, the gates burst open. Meanwhile, Sazed gets word that Breeze’s gate had fallen. He doesn’t think he can really help. He notices that there is a crowd of skaa standing behind the defense force. When Sazed confronts them, telling them that they should flee to safety inside the city, the skaa answer that they are there to witness the fall of the koloss at the hands of Vin, who they are sure will return and make her appearance at Sazed’s gate. Then the gate breaks. Sazed musters his stored strength, growing in size, and faces the lead koloss, shouting for the men to fight. Vin, half collapsing and out of pewter, reaching a small village. At first she thinks to ask for pewter, but then she remembers how she used to travel with Kelsier on a path of metal bars in the ground. She asks for horseshoes, using them to “walk” by leaping, placing horseshoes ahead of her and pulling the ones behind to place further. In this way, she uses the horseshoes like stilts to help her travel in the air.
Outside Luthadel, Straff Venture sees that the koloss have now broken into the city gates. His men are ready to attack the koloss from the rear, but Straff decides to wait longer. Sazed, fighting the koloss, realizes that they need to get the gate closed again in order to survive. Using strength and weight, he manages to fight off the koloss and get the gate closed again. While getting a little break, a messenger comes and says that Tindwyl’s gate fell over an hour ago. Meanwhile, Clubs and Breeze are attacked and forced to run. Clubs is killed, while Breeze hides in a building. Dockson contemplates the root of their failure. He attacks a koloss, only to be cut down. Straff decides not to swoop in a save the city while the koloss are weak. Instead, he’d rather wait for the koloss to kill everyone and burn the city. Then Straff will move in. Meanwhile, Sazed fights on, wondering what happened to Tindwyl. He feels he is going to die, but then Vin arrives and starts killing koloss. Breeze is found by Ham and some others. They want to try to escape.
Vin continues killing koloss, several at a time. Sazed, outside Lord Penrod’s keep, begs the newly appointed king to go with them as they try to escape. Penrod insists on staying inside his keep. Vin continues to fight the koloss, but now she is almost completely out of pewter, steel, and almost every other metal. In desperation, to save some skaa from certain death, she super-soothes them, like she’d done to TenSoon, controlling the koloss with her mind. Sazed is standing outside Penrod’s keep when Vin walks up with koloss in tow. She orders Penrod to gather his men and put out the fires in Luthadel. Vin will take care of the koloss throughout the city. Later, Sazed finds Tindwyl’s dead body among the slain soldiers. He feels that all the faith, all the religions, he has always treasured is now useless. His life, he believes, has been a sham.
Straff wakes up and takes a sample of the drug he needs to stay alive. He gathers his men, expecting to be able to take the city now. But the koloss come out with the remaining soldiers of Luthadel. Vin jumps from among the koloss, sailing through the sky with a giant sword, cleaving Straff and his horse in half on impact. Allrianne watches these events from her father’s camp. She charges after them to help Luthadel’s army, forcing her father and his men to ride after her. Straff’s army surrenders, and Janarle, Straff’s general, is named the new Lord of the Venture army. Janarle, Penrod, and Cett all swear loyalty to Elend as their Emperor. Vin, needing rest, leaves Sazed in charge of the Empire until Elend can return to Luthadel.
Linda is bewildered that the family, along with Charley and Bernard, are the only people who show up for Willy’s funeral. She thought that he had been well-liked as he had always told her and cannot believe that he killed himself when she believed that they were close to being out of debt. Biff thinks that Willy had the wrong dreams because he always seemed happier working on the house than he did in business.
Charley believes that living in dreams is the only way for a salesman to live because it keeps them holding on to something. Happy is distraught over Biff’s feelings because he wants to live out his father’s dream and become a salesman. Linda speaks to Willy alone, telling him she made the final house payment and cannot cry for him because she feels he is just on another business trip. Finally, Linda says “we’re free”.