Running On Empty By Lucas Chen

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Running On Empty By Lucas Chen

Running On Empty by Don Aker begins with Ethan Palmer. One day, he crashes his car into his garage. As punishment, Ethan’s father makes him pay for all the repairs with his own money. So, he gets a job as a waiter where he meets a regular customer, Link Hornsby, and learns that he gambles for money. Before long, Ethan becomes addicted to gambling and loses his savings. As a result, Ethan turns back to Hornsby for help and he convinces Ethan to rob a gas station with him. At the gas station, Ethan decides that he does not want to commit robbery. Ethan’s sister who had been following them jumps out of a tree and hits Hornsby, but gets shot. Hornsby flees and as Ethan cries with his sister in his arms, the gas station owner then calls the police. A few days later, Ethan and his dad find out that Raye is in a stable condition and Hornsby gets arrested.

The theme in the book Running On Empty is the desire for money motivated by self-gain. In the novel, this theme is addressed when the main character goes through a gambling addiction in order to make more money.


Running On Empty


Setting: The novel is set in a slightly upper class house. This contrasts with Ethan's action's and behaviors, one would normally think that if a family was financially stable, they would seek help immediately and fix the issues. However, by the time Ethan starts to have his own money struggles, he hides his problems from his family and develops a gambling addiction.Conflict: Ethan's desire for materialistic items drove him to the point of robbing a gas station. He was willing to do almost anything in order to elevate his financial status.Situational Irony: In order to potentially earn more through gambling, Ethan borrows from his friends and family. Later, it is shown that he wants to gamble in order to pay them back through gambling, the way he lost their money in the first place.

The theme in the song Billionaire written by Travie McCoy (ft. Bruno Mars) is the desire for money motivated by self-gain. An issue in this song is that it addresses how many people want to gain social status, most people in the world feel as if they would be happier with more wealth or fame.In the novel Running On Empty by Don Aker, the author addresses similar issues and themes, such as the problem with greed and money. Ethan’s friend Allie talks about her father’s gambling addiction. In the song, Bruno Mars sings about his desire to be rich and famous, whereas Allie’s dad also wanted to be wealthy. For Allie’s dad, winning the lottery would have been a way to make a substantial amount of money for him; consequently, he developed a severe addiction.

“Life seldom allows us the luxury of choosing our consequences, a person is invariably defined by his ability to meet his obligations.” (Aker 16)This relates to the theme because by desiring money, one may come across many sacrifices and consequences. One cannot easily make an abundance of money without the proper method of doing so.“...and headed straight for the ticket scanner, pulling the rectangular slip of paper out of his wallet. He smoothed it between his fingers and slid the bar code under the red light, waiting for the machine’s display to tell him Not a winning ticket. His mouth fell open.” (Aker 151)This relates to the theme because this is one of the factors that led Ethan to a gambling addiction, he wanted more money to buy his dream car. It might not even be that much money, but it was enough to motivate Ethan to start gambling.“In the parking lot, Hornsby asked, ‘You willin’ to take some risks?’” (Aker 190)This relates to the theme because Link Hornsby helped Ethan in his goal of making lots of money. He introduced Ethan to gambling and Ethan was heavily inspired by Link after he showed Ethan his “guaranteed” method of beating the odds.

BillionaireBy Travie McCoy ft. Bruno Mars


By:Don Aker

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