Momma is Liza, the Tillermans' mother. Rockland State Park, Connecticut: There is a Rockland State Parkbut it is ninety miles from the coast and so is not the shoreline park the children stay in for a few days after James hurts his head in a fall. Tom and Jerry, two boys who help them with crossing the ocean. Cousin Eunice is the only daughter of Aunt Cilla, their mother's cousin and niece to Gram.
Momma struggles under the responsibility of raising her four children on her own, but eventually buckles under the pressure.
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The children's journey is a long one. They start to learn that families can be fragile, and that if they are not nurtured and protected, they can fall apart as Gram's family has. When the children meet Gram for the first time, she is a widow, her husband John having died only a couple of years ly. In an attempt to escape, the children are helped by a traveling circus who drive the children to Crisfield.
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The children have trouble belonging in schools, they each are different on whether they cor stand their grounds. The police try to trace the children's mother. Samuel "Sammy" Tillerman is the youngest Tillerman. Dicey is a thirteen-year-old girl who is unconcerned with external appearances — her haircut and chay make many people think she is a boy. We learn only that she has been kept behind a year at school, that she worried her teachers who sent many notes home to her mother.
The images of Momma that are filtered through her children's and mother's memories paint a picture of a loving and beautiful woman, but one who is neither particularly reliable nor practical. Maybeth Tillerman is nine years old, and very pretty with blonde hair and a gentle, accommodating personality.
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She takes charge of enrolling the children in bridgepoort schools. She had plans to enter a convent and taking in the homeless children will put an end to her dreams of becoming a nun. Although no place with this name exists, there is a town near Stonington, Connecticutnamed Pawcatuck pronounced Paw-kit-tuk, with the accent on the Pawwhich is probably the place Voigt refers to. The novel ends with Dicey feeling that she and adullt family have come home at last. Both Gram and to a lesser extent Dicey grow to realise that it is not possible to live in isolation.
While she does take in the Tillerman looikng, she does so from a sense of "duty" and expects the children to show gratitude and to earn their keep through good behaviour, and, in Dicey's case, through taking on nearly all of the household chores.
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Family as home: The children learn the importance of families throughout the novel. In reality, although slow, she is just far too shy at school. The children are not Catholic, and their parents were unmarried, which Eunice does not like. Each book in the series follows events in the lives of different characters introduced in Dicey's Song or Homecoming. Momma features in the story mainly via the reminiscences and thoughts of the four children and Gram — she only appears in the novel once, briefly, at the very beginning, when she says goodbye to her children before abandoning them in the car.
At school, all the children are bullied because of their parentage: James and Dicey do not have friends, Sammy and Dicey get into fistfights.
She displays a fierce determination to survive and keep her family together. Although she had only planned to visit her, the other Tillerman children sneak away from school to her.
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Gram, like Dicey, is fiercely independent and at first is not ready to accept responsibility for her four abandoned grandchildren because she fears bridgrport emotional attachments that this will bring, and also that she will repeat the same mistakes she made with her own children. She is scared and distrustful of others, apart from her family.
However, Dicey realizes that the farm would be good for her family, and lookng they have nowhere else to go. Tillerman confesses to Dicey that she bears the pain of this, and fears repeating the same failures.
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When Momma becomes pregnant with Sammy, their fourth child, the children's father is angry about it and soon leaves her, it is suggested under legal duress as Dicey remembers a visit from the police following his absence. Dicey and James are afraid that Maybeth may have inherited her mother's tendency to depression and insanity.
Eunice is "silly", almost completely incapable of spontaneity and affection. Her middle-aged, unmarried daughter Eunice, a devout Catholic, is reluctant to be burdened with the Tillerman children.
Abigail Tillerman, the children's grandmother, lives alone on a run-down farm. During the long journey, he is sometimes stubborn and sullen. However, by her rigid adherence to habit, Cousin Eunice who wants to literally clothe herself in a nun's habit is unable to properly love the llooking, bound as she is by her ideas of "duty" and of doing what she believes the world to expect of her. She is a talented singer and looks like Momma physically.
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She then takes charge of their meager finances, by earning money whenever necessary and possible. Gram had always obeyed her husband even when she knew he was wrong.
Because the Tillermans come from a non-traditional family their parents remained unmarried, and their father left lpoking the youngest child was bornthey are to some degree on the margins of society. Seventeen Against the Dealer takes up events in Dicey's life when she is Dicey has brown hair and hazel eyes.
She is extremely quiet and shy, and is thought to have learning difficulties, although the novel does not go into details about what these might be. Peewauket, Connecticut: The town in which the children are abandoned.
James becomes distant from his family. He respects those who he believes are intelligent, sometimes without questioning their morals. The novel begins when the Tillerman children find themselves alone in their car, some miles from their home, in a shopping mall parking lot in Peewauketapparently Connecticut.