35 pages 1 hour read

Margaret Peterson Haddix

Running Out Of Time

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 1995

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Chapters 1-5Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 1 Summary

In Chapter 1, we meet Jessie Keyser, a 13-year-old girl. She wakes in the middle of the night to help her mother care for two sick children in their village. Jessie, her parents, and five siblings live in a small Indiana town called Clifton. Jessie believes the year is 1840. The town doctor, Dr. Fister, used to give out pills that healed illnesses quickly and efficiently, but now gives out only folk remedies. Many villagers call on Jessie’s mother to care for them instead. After visiting the sick children, Ma asks Jessie to help her pick herbs. Crouched beside a large rock in the woods, Ma tells Jessie to meet her there alone the following day after school and to tell no one. Ma says she will explain something dangerous that she wants Jessie to do.

Chapter 2 Summary

The next morning, Jessie worries about the mystery of Ma’s request. She completes her morning chores and gets ready for school. We learn more about her older sister, Hannah, who Jessie believes is too cautious, and Andrew, Jessie’s favorite of her four younger siblings. Jessie wonders if her father, the town blacksmith, is aware of what Ma is planning.