Jack Gantos's "Dead End in Norvelt" is a funny take on the typical autobiographical "growing up" novel which includes appearances by a sniper rifle, an obituary column and the Hell's Angels. Eleanor Roosevelt also plays an important role.
In addition to being angry or violent, a tirade is usually of a long duration, which at the moment, is the main reason Jack doesn't want to endure one from Miss Volker.
When I passed Miss Volker’s house I ducked way down as I ran because I didn’t want her to ask what I was up to and then get it out of me that I was doing a favor for Mr. Spizz, which would trigger a
tirade I didn’t have time to endure.
of a color at the end of the color spectrum (next to orange); resembling the color of blood or cherries or tomatoes or rubies
As suggested by the sound of the word, the color at the end of the spectrum that applies here is red. While "ruddy" also means "inclined to a healthy reddish color, often associated with outdoor life" this does not apply to the example sentence's description of the streak from the bloody nose.
I wiped my nose on my forearm and saw a
ruddy streak from my wrist to my elbow.
a narrow channel of the sea joining two larger bodies of water
"Their tiny room was in the dank bottom of the boat and it took weeks to travel down the Adriatic Sea and around the boot of Italy and across the Mediterranean Sea and through the
Strait of Gibraltar and across the Atlantic Ocean."
“Jefferson believed that every American should have a house on a large enough piece of
fertile property so that during hard times, when money was difficult to come by, a man and woman could always grow crops and have enough food to feed their family."
“One story has it that their tunnel came up to a little patch of prison ground where only Berkman was allowed to exercise. Emma was waiting for him to take his daily walk, and then he’d sneakily drop down into the tunnel and off they’d
flee to freedom and live a romantic life fighting for workers’ justice all over the world.”
"Eclipse" is used both figuratively and hyperbolically here. The hyperbole is in the exaggerated comparison of earthly humans to celestial bodies such as the sun and an orbiting planet (this emphasizes Jack's attitude and relationship to the girl). Jack did not literally experience an eclipse, so he is only figuratively in the dark about how to talk to the girl.
She squinted at me and I knew I was supposed to start a conversation, but it was as if I had suddenly had a total
eclipse of the sun and my mind faded to black and became wordless.
History began when the universe began with a ‘Big Bang,’ which is one reason why most people think history has to be about a big event like a
catastrophe or a moment of divine creation, but every living soul is a book of their own history, which sits on the ever-growing shelf in the library of human memories.
“This was the day that Anne Frank, a fifteen-year-old Jewish girl, last wrote in her diary of the two years she and seven of her family and friends hid in the secret rooms above her father’s office building, while the Nazis searched for Jews to deport to concentration camps. Three days later they were
betrayed and captured."