The Rag and Bone Shop

The Rag and Bone Shop

"The Rag and Bone Shop" (2001) is a book written by Robert Cormier. The book was published posthumously in 2001; Cormier died in 2000.

infobox Book |
name = The Rag and Bone Shop
title_orig =
translator =

image_caption =
author = Robert Cormier
illustrator =
cover_artist = Victor Stabin
country = United States
language = English
series =
genre = young adult fiction
reading level = 9-12 years
publisher = Delacorte Books for Young Readers
release_date = Oct 9 2001
english_release_date =
media_type =
pages = 154
isbn = 978-0385729628 (hardcover) 978-0440229711 (paper back)

Characters in "The Rag and Bone Shop"

Trent - no first name given. Widower, Special Interrogator called in to investigate a murder. Has never lost a case. Jason Dorrant - 12 year old. Friend of Victim and last known person to see victim alive. Alicia Bartlett - 7 years old, Intelligent, murder victim, her body carefully treated after; dress smoothed, “buried” under leaves Brad Bartlett - brother of victim. Jokester. Emma Dorrant - Jason’s little sister,7 years old, Didn’t like Alicia, Writing a mystery novel George Braxton - Detective, Uses instinct, Finds Jason to be the only suspect, Calls in Trent to interrogate Jason Sarah Downes - Works for the District Attorney, Doesn’t like interrogations – thinks methods may give false results, Reminds Trent of dead wife.

Plot summary

The story is of the brutal murder of a seven year girl named Alicia Bartlett and the interrogation of a twelve year old boy, named Jason Dorrant, who is her friend and the last known person to see her alive. Trent, an expert interrogator - known to get confessions which seemed impossible to obtain, is called in for the case. Trent does this "favor" to be in good graces with a senator.

Under the guise of "helping" the investigation, Jason is brought to police headquarters and introduced to Trent. After a long session of questioning, Jason is eventually driven to his breaking point and, innocent though he was, is pushed to confessing to the murder. Earlier in the book, Jason recounts an encounter with a bully in school who molested a girl and regularly tortured fellow students. Jason was pushed accidentally in the lunch line by the bully and Jason punched the bully (Bobo Kelton) to the floor, but to the principal, it appeared to be an act of spontaneous aggression. This was mentioned by Trent and labeled "violent tendencies." This, plus being seen last with Alicia, was enough to make him the prime suspect, and was part of Trent's manipulations to convince Jason of his guilt.

Immediately after Jason confesses, Trent steps from the room excited about his latest win just to find out that the alibi of the brother of the murdered girl, Brad, has been broken and his friends told the truth. Jason is released, but the damage has been done.

The book ends with Jason wondering whether he could or could not commit such a crime as murder, obviously confused by Trent's extraction techniques during the intense interrogation. He thinks of the bully. Knowing the bully would be at the local Y Center, he removes a butcher knife from the kitchen drawer.

Major themes

Irony is used throughout the book, particularly in the ending. When Trent at last extracts a confession out of Jason, he then learns that the real killer has been found. Thus, his seeming salvation has been his downfall.

The novel ends with the frightening ironic scene of Jason becoming a murderer even though he was not actually guilty of any murder before. The idea behind the story is the corruption of innocence because Jason was a normal, peaceful boy and he was only turned into a killer via Trent's ruthless interrogation.

Another theme is found in the repeated phrase, "You are what you do." This is what Trent's wife often told him. Trent's negative influence on Jason resonates through the book's ending. Jason becomes exactly what Trent convinces him that he is.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Rag and bone man — For the White Stripes song, see Rag and Bone. Rag and bone man is a British phrase for a junk dealer. Historically the phrase referred to an individual who would travel the streets of a city with a horsedrawn cart, and would collect old rags,… …   Wikipedia

  • The Curse of Steptoe — Phil Davis and Jason Isaacs recreating the roles of Steptoe and Son Format Television play Written by Brian Fillis …   Wikipedia

  • List of The Nightmare Before Christmas characters — The main characters in The Nightmare Before Christmas from left to right Doctor Finklestein, the Mayor, Sally, Jack, Barrel, Santa Claus, Zero, Lock, Shock and Oogie Boogie. This article lists characters seen in the film The Nightmare Before… …   Wikipedia

  • List of British words not widely used in the United States — Differences between American and British English American English …   Wikipedia

  • List of works published posthumously — The following is a list of works that were published, performed or distributed posthumously (after the parties involved in its creation died). Contents 1 Drama 2 Films 2.1 Films whose director died before the release …   Wikipedia

  • Robert Cormier — Robert Edmund Cormier (* 7. Januar 1925 in Leominster, Massachusetts; † 2. November 2000 in Boston) war ein US amerikanischer Schriftsteller und Journalist. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Leben 2 Auszeichnungen und Ehrungen (Auswahl) …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • ALA Best Books for Young Adults — ist ein von der American Library Association seit 1994 vergebener Literaturpreis. Jedes Jahr werden durch ein Komitee Neuerscheinungen nominiert. Jugendliche wählen daraus im Internet die zehn besten Jugendbücher des Jahres. Der Preis wird am… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • ALA Best Book for Young Adults — ALA Best Books for Young Adults ist ein von der American Library Association seit 1994 vergebener Literaturpreis. Jedes Jahr werden durch ein Komitee Neuerscheinungen nominiert. Jugendliche wählen daraus im Internet die zehn besten Jugendbücher… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Robert Bly — (born December 23, 1926 in Madison, Minnesota) is an American poet, author, activist and leader of the Mythopoetic Men s Movement in the United States.LifeRobert Bly was born in Madison, Minnesota to parents of Norwegian stock. Following… …   Wikipedia

  • Robert Cormier — Infobox Writer name = Robert Edmund Cormier birthdate = birth date|1925|1|17 birthplace = Leominster, Massachusetts, United States deathdate = death date and age|2000|11|2|1925|1|17 deathplace = Boston, Massachusetts, United States occupation =… …   Wikipedia