Spare Parts


Joshua Davis

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Themes and Colors
Underdogs and Overcoming Odds Theme Icon
Immigration, Prejudice, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Teamwork, Friendship, and Motivation Theme Icon
Mentorship Theme Icon
Curiosity, Creativity, and Adventure Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Spare Parts, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Underdogs and Overcoming Odds

Spare Parts centers on the story of four immigrant high schoolers living in a poor neighborhood in West Phoenix, Arizona, and their extraordinary path to winning a national underwater robotics competition against teams from prestigious colleges like MIT. The four students—Oscar Vazquez, Cristian Arcega, Lorenzo Santillan, and Luis Aranda—must overcome tremendous odds and obstacles in order to accomplish this achievement, including their immigration status, their lack of funding, and their…

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Immigration, Prejudice, and the American Dream

While Davis shows how the Carl Hayden students are able to overcome almost insurmountable odds in their competition, there is also a less hopeful theme concerning the United States’ immigration policies and the detrimental effect they have on the students’ lives. Even as the students show immense promise and ingenuity, they and other immigrants are still stereotyped, discriminated against, and have their potential cut short. Davis points out the tragic irony in the fact that…

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Teamwork, Friendship, and Motivation

Each of the Carl Hayden students—Oscar, Cristian, Lorenzo, and Luis—is able to bring a unique skillset to the table as the team prepares for the robotics competition. In addition, the competition demonstrates that, as with all exceptional teams, the students’ work together is greater than the sum of its parts. Not only do the students inspire each other and add to each other’s work when building their robot, but…

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The four Carl Hayden students are extremely self-motivated and support each other while they complete their robotics project, but they certainly don’t achieve their success without help. Along the way, they have several mentors that guide them to their success against some of the top schools in the country. Mentorship not only provides the Carl Hayden students with the lessons and knowledge they need to succeed, but also the inspiration and the confidence to follow…

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Curiosity, Creativity, and Adventure

One of the questions that Davis investigates in Spare Parts is the continued issue of how to keep kids invested in school—particularly in math and science—regardless of socioeconomic status. The story focuses on the idea that finding ways to make science fun can get kids excited about intellectual pursuits; the fact that the robotics team is hands-on and creative is a huge part of why the Carl Hayden students become so invested in their project…

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