A Man Named Dave Essay

A Man Named Dave: A Story of Triumph and Forgiveness Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

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In "A Man Named Dave," David Pelzer offers an honest and often difficult account of his transition into adulthood. After suffering 12 years of abuse from his mother, he enters the foster system as a haunted young man. He applies himself to work from a young age, to prove his worth to society. This work ethic causes him to drop out of high school. However, the allure of success in the Air Force draws him. He enlists to become a fireman, like his father was.

Pelzer continues to suffer from setbacks in the Air Force, seemingly through no fault of his own, though he does possess a naiveté that is unusual for someone of his age. Though he continues to apply himself fully to his tasks, he feels discouraged in jobs that he does not enjoy. Due to his secluded upbringing, he lacks social skills and fails to make friends.

After several years in the service, Pelzer learns that his father lies sick in the hospital. He arrives days before his father dies, whom he only saw briefly since entering foster care. Pelzer watches as cancer takes his father. The loss makes him feel more hopeless, as he hopes to save enough money to buy a house for him and his father. Without that goal, Pelzer's life begins to feel pointless.

The only skill Pelzer seems to possess, though, is an unbreakable will to survive, which he continues to possess. After more years in the Air Force, he gains clearance as a crewman on a refueling plane. With this promotion comes a transfer to a base back in his home state of California. He relaxes his strict hold on himself somewhat by renting an apartment off base. Months later, he attracts the attention of Patsy, a young woman in his apartment complex.

Female companionship is something of which Pelzer has no experience. However, Patsy pursues him, even to the point of moving in. Though Pelzer recognizes their personality conflicts right away, he feels his scarred background damages him; he admits to himself that he does not deserve better anyway. After several months of living together, Patsy announces she is pregnant.

Determined to be a better parent than his own were, Pelzer pushes for a quick marriage. He faces marriage and parenthood with the same determination he shows for every task. Deep down, however, he fears that he is genetically programmed to fail as a parent. The birth of his son proves otherwise, however. He falls instantly in love for the first time in his life. His son's happiness even sustains him through his service in the Persian Gulf War. It causes him to stick with a broken marriage for nearly 10 years, through his retirement form the Air Force and transition into life as a motivational speaker.

Finally, however, Patsy demands a way out. She refuses to support his sometimes unprofitable life as a speaker. They remain amicable in the separation. In the process of taking over his own life, including publishing the first two volumes of his memoirs, Pelzer meets his second wife. With the success of his books, he gains more fame as a speaker. Shortly after moving to his dream home on the Russian River, Pelzer remarries.

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Name: _________________________Period: ___________________

This test consists of 5 multiple choice questions, 5 short answer questions, and 10 short essay questions.

Multiple Choice Questions

1. The last time David saw his father, he showed him his prized possession. What is his father's prized possession?
(a) His retiremant papers.
(b) A photo of his wedding.
(c) David's birth certificate.
(d) His fireman's badge.

2. Where does the book begin?
(a) Daly City, California.
(b) San Francisco, California.
(c) Red River, California.
(d) Russian RIver, California.

3. Instead of going out during time off from the Air Force, what does David do?
(a) Lie in bed and cry.
(b) Call all of his family.
(c) Read.
(d) Write letters home.

4. Who goes to the hospital with David to see his father for the first time?
(a) His mother.
(b) Alice.
(c) Russell.
(d) Stan.

5. According to the phone call, how long does David's father have left to live?
(a) Two weeks.
(b) A few days.
(c) A month.
(d) A few weeks.

Short Answer Questions

1. Upon entering the hospital to see David's father, what does the smell remind him of?

2. What is the date of the second chapter "Fly Away?"

3. What are the two names that David calls his mother?

4. In the autobiography, what does David say is the nickname given to foster children?

5. After examining David, what does the nurse come to find out is David's real injury?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why does David choose to stay at the dorms rather than go out with the other soldiers?

2. Why is David's grandmother upset with his brother Russell?

3. Why is David sweating while on the plane to San Antonio?

4. How did David deal with his Mother's abuse as a child?

5. Why is David shocked by the one and only letter his father sends him?

6. Why is David so upset about his father being in the hospital?

7. Why is David afraid of the nurse reporting the abuse to the authorities?

8. David's grandmother denies abusing his mother. What did his grandmother do to her daughter as a child?

9. Describe the hug between David and his grandmother during their first meeting in years.

10. Why does David initially refuse to admit that his father was going to die?

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