By: Chris Van Allsburg

The Polar Express


"The Polar Express" by Chris Van Allsburg is about a young boy who meets Santa Claus. The boy is picked up by the magical Polar Express train and taken to the North Pole. Santa picks him to recieve the first gift of Christmas and the boy picks a sleigh bell. He puts it in his pocket and he realizes, too late, that it fell out. On Christmas day, though, it is under his Christmas tree with a note signed "Mr C."   

The Setting

"The Polar Express" takes place on Christmas Eve during the night. There are 3 different settings. There is the Polar Express, the North Pole, and the boys house. I think the author chose these settings because the boy meets Santa Claus, hence the North Pole. The Polar Express is the same because it takes him to the North Pole. They kind of go hand in hand. The boys house is in the story because the resolution take place in that setting.


The two main characters in "The Polar Express" are the boy and Santa Claus. The boy has brown hair, he is nice and kind, and he receives the very important first gift of Christmas. Santa Claus has white hair and a beard, he is kind, and he gives the first gift of Christmas to the boy. However, the two characters are flat. They are flat because even though they are the main characters, you do not learn a lot about them.

Rising Action of "The Polar Express"

The Rising Action in this story is the boy is picked up by the Polar Express and taken to the North Pole. once he is there,the boy is selected, out of a ton of children, to receive the first gift of Christmas from Santa. He picks to get a sleigh bell. 

Climax of the story

The climax of "The Polar Express" is when the boy returns to the Polar Express, he realizes he lost the sleigh bell. He lost it because when he put it in his pocket, there was a hole and it fell out.

The Falling Action of "The Polar Express"

The Falling Action is that the boy is sad that he lost his bell, and he is dropped off back at his house by the train. 

The Resolution of "The Polar Express"

The Resolution of this story is on Christmas Day, there is a box under the tree with the bell that he lost in it. It is with a note from Santa saying he dropped it in the sleigh.


The main conflict in "The Polar Express" is when the boy loses the sleigh bell. This is an external conflict because it falls out of his pocket.


The author of "The Polar Express", Chris Van Allsburg, uses indirect characterization in the story. Instead of the boy experiencing the events, an older version of the boy is telling the events of that Christmas night. 


The theme of "The Polar Express" is Always Believe. I think this because in the story it said that the boy, his sister, and his friends could hear the sleigh bells sweet sound, however his parents could not. Over time, the bell became silent for all of them, but not for the boy, because he truly believed.