The short story "President Cleveland, Where are You?" by Robert Cormier is set in a small town in the 1930s during the Great Depression. Even though his family struggles with money, just like other families, 11-year-old Jerry spends whatever money he can get on his presidential trading cards. Jerry's brother, Armand, chastises Jerry for not spending money on a gift for their father's birthday. By the end of the story, Jerry learns his lesson and makes a sacrifice for his family.

Helping Family

The setting of the story makes the events more profound. Jerry and Armand's father loses his job, as so many other people did during the Great Depression, and the family struggles for every penny. Armand is not going to be able to go to a dance with the girl he loves because the family has no money to send him. After spending much of the story trying to track down the elusive President Cleveland trading card, Jerry finally finds it and trades some of his cards to get it. Instead of giving the card a position of honor in his collection, he then sells it so he can give his brother the money to go to the dance. His sacrifice is more meaningful because the family has so little. Jerry won't have another chance to get that card anytime in the near future, just like Armand won't have another chance to go to the dance.