Spare Parts

by

Joshua Davis

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Allan Cameron Character Analysis

Another teacher at Carl Hayden who helps Fredi with the robotics club. Allan grew up in the 50s as a mischievous kid before serving in the Navy during the Vietnam War. After he returns, he decides to become a teacher in the very new field of computer science. He learns how to encourage kids by pushing them away from the low expectations that everyone has of them and that they have of themselves. When Fredi asks him to help him the robotics club, Allan readily accepts and helps Cristian with the robot’s programming, and also with the group morale in general. After the competition, Allan helps lead the robotics club to future successes. He and his wife Debbie also help Oscar after he deports himself, bringing him furniture, appliances, and anything else he might need to start a new life in Mexico before he is able to return. Even after retiring, Allan still volunteers his time with the robotics team.

Allan Cameron Quotes in Spare Parts

The Spare Parts quotes below are all either spoken by Allan Cameron or refer to Allan Cameron. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Underdogs and Overcoming Odds Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Farrar, Straus and Giroux edition of Spare Parts published in 2014.
Two Quotes

The whole point was to give the guys a chance to accomplish something beyond what they thought possible. But if they showed up at the event and failed utterly, it would only reinforce the impression that they didn't belong in the contest in the first place. That could leave a kid such as Lorenzo with a permanent sense of inferiority.

Page Number: 91
Explanation and Analysis:

For Lorenzo, the robotics team was like a new family. In some respects, Fredi and Allan were surrogate parents, constantly advising him and pushing him to do better. […] A team spirit had developed. Lorenzo wasn't the only one sitting in the front row of his classes.

Page Number: 113
Explanation and Analysis:
Three Quotes

It reminded them that they were doing something they had never done before. In Phoenix, they were called illegal aliens and pegged as criminals. They were alternately viewed as American, Mexican, or neither. Now, for a moment, they were simply teenagers at a robotics competition by the ocean.

Related Symbols: Stinky the Robot
Page Number: 158
Explanation and Analysis:
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Allan Cameron Character Timeline in Spare Parts

The timeline below shows where the character Allan Cameron appears in Spare Parts. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
One
Mentorship Theme Icon
Curiosity, Creativity, and Adventure Theme Icon
Allan Cameron grew up a mischievous kid in the fifties, setting up telephone wires between his... (full context)
Underdogs and Overcoming Odds Theme Icon
Mentorship Theme Icon
Allan then gets a job in South Scottsdale, a pocket of poverty in an otherwise wealthy... (full context)
Teamwork, Friendship, and Motivation Theme Icon
The next day Allan says that everyone thinks that they’re jerks, and that they have to change that perception.... (full context)
Underdogs and Overcoming Odds Theme Icon
Mentorship Theme Icon
In 1982, Allan starts a Ph.D. in elementary education, and is four years into the program when he... (full context)
Mentorship Theme Icon
In 1987, Allan accepts a full-time teaching job in computer science at Carl Hayden and completes his Ph.D.... (full context)
Underdogs and Overcoming Odds Theme Icon
Teamwork, Friendship, and Motivation Theme Icon
Mentorship Theme Icon
Curiosity, Creativity, and Adventure Theme Icon
In the summer of 2003, just before the start of the catapult project, Fredi and Allan travel to Monterey, California to learn more about a new robotics competition hosted by the... (full context)
Two
Mentorship Theme Icon
...group is daunted, but Oscar tries to be optimistic and motivational. Still, even Fredi and Allan are privately nervous: the tasks are difficult. They want to give the kids a chance... (full context)
Teamwork, Friendship, and Motivation Theme Icon
Fredi and Allan tell the kids of their plan. Oscar wonders why they want to go up against... (full context)
Teamwork, Friendship, and Motivation Theme Icon
For Lorenzo, the robotics team feels like family, with Fredi and Allan as surrogate parents. A team spirit has developed, and the rest of the team has... (full context)
Underdogs and Overcoming Odds Theme Icon
Teamwork, Friendship, and Motivation Theme Icon
...the pieces and look back at their creation. It is slightly lopsided, but Fredi and Allan assure them it looks really good. (full context)
Mentorship Theme Icon
...Fredi that the cooking school will cost four hundred dollars. A week later, Fredi and Allan offer to cover the cost. Lorenzo is amazed at their level of generosity. (full context)
Underdogs and Overcoming Odds Theme Icon
...and marvels at the unusual crew filing into her facility: Cristian, Luis, Lorenzo, Oscar, Fredi, Allan, and Michael Hanck, who is there to help pilot the robot. (full context)
Teamwork, Friendship, and Motivation Theme Icon
...much of Michael lately. He struggled in school and enrolled in summer classes. Fredi and Allan told him that if he couldn’t get his grades above a B average, he couldn’t... (full context)
Curiosity, Creativity, and Adventure Theme Icon
...behave erratically. They replace the wires, and the joysticks seem to work fine. Cristian and Allan also reprogram the software so that it doesn’t accelerate as quickly. (full context)
Teamwork, Friendship, and Motivation Theme Icon
Mentorship Theme Icon
...to get more hopeful about their chances. But the day before their departure, Fredi and Allan announce that Michael will not be joining them, since he hasn’t gotten his grades up... (full context)
Three
Mentorship Theme Icon
...get ready for their presentation and then they will have all night to fix Stinky. Allan takes them out to a bridge and instructs them to talk to anyone who walks... (full context)
Underdogs and Overcoming Odds Theme Icon
Mentorship Theme Icon
While the students complete their technical presentation, Allan and Fredi wait outside. Other students are in for at least forty-five minutes, and so... (full context)
Underdogs and Overcoming Odds Theme Icon
Teamwork, Friendship, and Motivation Theme Icon
Mentorship Theme Icon
Curiosity, Creativity, and Adventure Theme Icon
...everything will be determined by the scores they receive on their engineering review. Fredi and Allan can’t believe it, and they rush over to the kids, congratulating them. (full context)
Underdogs and Overcoming Odds Theme Icon
Teamwork, Friendship, and Motivation Theme Icon
...is hosted by Bryce Merrill, a recruiting manager for an industrial ROV firm. Fredi and Allan try to temper the boys’ expectations. They expect that they’ll be in the middle of... (full context)
Underdogs and Overcoming Odds Theme Icon
...they came from.” It signals to them that they did not get third. Fredi and Allan congratulate them, trying to look on the bright side. (full context)
Curiosity, Creativity, and Adventure Theme Icon
...a mile down the beach. They yell out into the ocean that they beat MIT. Allan tells them how proud he is. Fredi says that they are true “badasses.” The boys... (full context)
Four
Underdogs and Overcoming Odds Theme Icon
Mentorship Theme Icon
...the event is in Canada, effectively preventing undocumented students from attending. To compensate, Fredi and Allan start their own underwater-robotics competition. (full context)
Underdogs and Overcoming Odds Theme Icon
Immigration, Prejudice, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Allan and Fredi urge Cristian to apply to MIT, but his family wants to keep him... (full context)
Immigration, Prejudice, and the American Dream Theme Icon
...his documents, including a copy of his ASU diploma and letters of support from Karla, Allan, and Fredi. He will get a decision back in seven to ten days. (full context)
Immigration, Prejudice, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Teamwork, Friendship, and Motivation Theme Icon
Mentorship Theme Icon
Allan calls Oscar, who tries to get him not to worry. But Allan’s wife Debbie quizzes... (full context)
Underdogs and Overcoming Odds Theme Icon
Immigration, Prejudice, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Oscar returns to the U.S. in August 2010, after a year in Mexico. Allan and Debbie throw him a big welcome-home party in their backyard. Lorenzo and Luis bring... (full context)
Mentorship Theme Icon
...of a coaching stipend ($240 a month) in 2008, six years after starting the program. Allan retired in 2006 and now volunteers his time to help the robotics team. (full context)