In the previous sections, you learned that applying the SIPS strategy will help you better understand the playwright’s use of dialogue and stage directions.

Before you read this final part, here’s some background information: Earlier in the play, Tommy tells the neighbors that in all the outer space books he’s read, monsters always arrive with meteors. As you read this next passage from later in the play, you’ll see that the neighbors are frightened and worried that they will find monsters on their street. Once again, you’ll see characters jumping to more conclusions, and they expect their neighbor Charlie to give them answers.

A photograph of a man walking on a sidewalk in the rain.

Source: WALKING MAN, Pryere, Flickr

[Charlie backs away from the group, his eyes wide with fright. . . .A man breaks away from the crowd to chase Charlie. . . .The other people start to run toward them. . . .Then [Charlie] forces his way, fighting, through the crowd to once again break free, jumps up on his front porch. . . .We can see the crowd converging on the porch now. . . .]

Charlie Look, look I swear to you . . . it isn't me . . . but I do know who it is . . . I swear to you, I do know who it is. I know who the monster is here. I know who it is that doesn't belong. I swear to you I know.

Goodman [Shouting.] What are you waiting for?

Woman One [Shouting.] Come on, Charlie, come on.

Man One [Shouting.] Who is it, Charlie, tell us!

Don [Pushing his way to the front of the crowd.] All right, Charlie, let's hear it!

[Charlie’s eyes dart around wildly.]

Charlie It's . . . it's . . .

Man Two [Screaming.] Go ahead, Charlie, tell us.

Charlie It's. . .it's the kid. It's Tommy. He's the one.

[There's a gasp from the crowd as we cut to a shot of Sally, holding her son Tommy. The boy at first doesn't understand and then realizing the eyes are all on him, buries his face against his mother.]

Sally [Backs away.] That's crazy That's crazy He's a little boy.

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Practice the SIPS strategy by opening your notes to write your own summary, inference, paraphrase, and synthesis statements. When you have finished, check your understanding to see sample responses.

Check Your Understanding

Sample Responses:

Summarize: In The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street, friendly neighbors are threatening each other after strange happenings occur.

Inference: Charlie is so terrified by the actions of the mob, he accuses young Tommy of being the one who is responsible.

Paraphrase: Charlie is being singled out as the one who is responsible for the strange occurrences. As the crowd turns mob-like, Charlie jumps on his porch for protection. He shouts to them, telling them that he is not the monster but that he knows who it is. The wild crowd responds by yelling at him to tell them. Charlie accuses Tommy, the young boy, who cowers next to his mother. Sally responds saying he’s nuts; Tommy is just a boy.

Synthesize: The fear the neighbors are experiencing is causing the people on Maple Street to react in a mob-like manner and jump to conclusions.