No Promises in the Wind Theme Poster

No Promises in the Wind

This realistic fiction is about two young boys growing up during the Great Depression, Josh and Joey. In the beginning of the story, the ten and fifteen year old brothers run away from home, where there isn't enough food- or love- to go around. The story as a whole is about their failures and successes as they struggle to survive in a starving world. The title of the story, No Promises in the Wind, is a minor detail that Josh mentions. He describes how the empty wind brought no promises for tomorrow. The wind was also one of the only things they sometimes heard while on the run, just themselves and the land; that's one reason the book is Man vs. Nature for conflicts.

Conflict and Outcome-- Man vs. Nature

Man vs. Nature is probably the biggest conflict in No Promises in the Wind, although it's not the only one. Josh wars with himself over his and Joey's failures, and also fights with society as it threatens to steal their wealth. There's also some moments in the book where Josh and Joey fight. However, the majority of the book is about how they survive while the Great Depression goes on. One thing that happens in the story that is an example of this is in the middle of the story, when they're slowly starving. This is right before they meet Lonnie, the truck driver, and are hardly surviving. The other is after the circus burns down and Josh is burning with fever, and can't help provide.

Quotes and Actions

At the beginning of the book, Josh really doesn't respect Joey. He only let him run away with him and Howie because his friend wanted Joey to come; Josh thought he would only be a nuisance. Later in the book, though, he's unable to imagine a life without Joey. In fact, after Joey runs away, Josh is in ruins. "If Joey is gone for good, I don't want to live anymore," he told Lonnie later (163). Anyway, this relates to the theme because Joey became his partner in more ways than one. He became more respected and loved, but was also the main 'begger,' as horrible as that sounds. Without Joey in the story, I don't think Josh could've survived, especially after Howie died.

No matter what Josh thinks, though, Joey is devoted and determined. When he finds out that Josh was running away, he refuses to be left behind. "I know you're going to leave home- I heard you tell Mom. And you listen to me, Josh. I'm going with you." (33) Howie lets Joey come with him and Josh, and Joey actually ends up as an asset, in the end, instead of a hinderance.

Contrasts Between Characters

Josh and Joey have a few differences, like the way they look at everything. Joey is usually positive, and looks at the bright side; Josh only sees the bad in everything and everyone. If both characters had not been there to balance each other out, Joey probably would've starved (rather then beg, like he had to), and Josh wouldn't have had the endurance to survive so long, without someone to look after. There's also the age matter, with five years in between the siblings (although Joey is much more mature than a lot of ten year olds I know). Joey is also loved more easily, partly because of his age, but also because of his forgiving and contagious attitude towards everyone. Their biggest difference is in perspective.

By: Taya B.