Newport Times

By Luke Muse

Torn Apart

Can you imagine what life would be like if you lived during Prohibition? In the book Black Duck by Janet Taylor Lisle, Jeddy has to deal with the effect of the Prohibition. This book took place in Newport,Rhode Island in 1929. At this point and time America had a law called Prohibition and everyone wanted to drink alcohol and it wasn't pretty. Ruben Hart and his best friend Jeddy live in Newport, Rhode Island and find themselves right in the middle of a group of rum runners. Jeddy and Ruben finds their lives flipped upside down.

Jeddy and Ruben first find out that something is fishy when they find a dead body on the shore of the beach with a lighter and a half fifty dollar bill in his pocket. The police refuse to investigate the case. Ruben is offered some money to help unload some rum from a boat. He thinks about it and decides to accept. The police came down to the beach and the person who set the whole thing up was very mad because he had paid the police to “look the other way”.

A man comes to Ruben’s town and tries to set a good impression by giving little kids money and being very nice. It was very obvious to Ruben that he was in the rum running business. Ruben is kidnapped. He had the half of a 50 dollar bill and it was the key to a lot of rum. When Ruben has lost hope and is going to tell them about how he has the key Marina (Jeddy’s sister) comes and sneaks him out. Ruben is very confused but he finds out that Marina works for the Black Duck and she knew that he was going to be there. They asked Ruben if he wanted to go with them on the Black Duck to unload rum and he agreed. They loaded all the rum up onto the boat and they headed back. On the way back the police were waiting for them and they shoot and killed all of the crew He made it safely back to shore by swimming and he went back to life as it used to be and he grew old and lived with the dread of being the only one who knew what really happened to the Black Duck.

Mr. Adventure

Ruben feels all alone in the book Black Duck and he just wants to do something different. Everyday he went to school, came home and worked at his dad's shop, He always wanted to make a name for himself. His loneliness is increased when his best friend Jeddy says that his dad forbids them from being friends. Although he doesn't desperately need the money, when he is asked to work on a rum boat he accepts with pleasure because he wants to do something different. “My parents didn't say a word when I left for the boat. It was almost like they knew I was making a mistake.” Ruben said. But being a risk taker comes with some danger; When he is offered a trip on the Black Duck, one of the best smuggling boats in the country will he go on? It could be the difference between life and death!

Unraveling the History

1. There are rum runners and there are no rum runners any more because alcohol is legal. Therefore it shows that this story was written during Prohibition. “A rumrunner had lived in town, one of the notorious outlaws who smuggled alcohol during the days of Prohibition, that was the rumor. David Peterson heard he might still be around.” page 3.

2. In Black Duck it talks about Ruben and Jeddy finding a dead body on the shore. They tell a police and since the body isn’t there when they come back the police man refuses to investigate because there is not any evidence. It shows that many crimes were going on at the time and that one dead body wasn’t important. “Well there is no sign of the body now. No sign of anything,” Charlie said, sounding oddly satisfied. If someone came and dragged him off there’d be marks, wouldn’t you think there’s not even footprints.” page 31.

3. The book talks about Ruben being offered money to unload a boat. Because of the Prohibition even though he had a strict dad his dad said yes. A strict dad now a days would never let their son do something like that. “All right! You do what’s been asked of you,” he snapped, before I could open my mouth. He was angry. “It’ll just be this one time.” page 97.

4. The book talks about Ruben missing a few weeks of school and living down by the ocean for a couple weeks. I think it shows that during Prohibition being absent for school isn’t as important as it is now. “Maybe it was just being out from under my old life, away from the humdrum of school and Riley’s General Store, but I felt like a bird escaped from a cage.”

Important Events in our History

1. On January 17th, 1920 Prohibition was made a law in America.
2. On December 7th, 1941 the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.
3. On July 20th 1969, Neil Armstrong walked on the moon.
4. On November 9th, 1989 the Berlin Wall started to be taken down.
5. On November 4th, 2008 Barack Obama was elected President and in November, 2012 Obama was re-elected.