"Nothing But the Truth" is a documentary novel about a boy by the named Philip Malloy, who refuses to say the pledge in protest of his literature teacher because he blames her for her bad grade. Instead of reciting of the pledge, he hums "America the Beautiful', despite his teacher telling him not to. He is soon expelled for his actions, and he returns home to tell his father that he was expelled for singing the patriotic song rather than humming. His father soon spreads the story to the news and a candidate for the school board, and the news soon becomes a national story. The candidate school board uses his case for propaganda and in response, the school tells the English teacher to take time off from her job. Philip is allowed to return to school but learns that his fame is not all that positive because friends and the girl he likes are aware of what he actually did rather than the fake image that was created in the media about him. He eventually decides to leave the school when the girl he likes turns on him because she likes the English teacher and blamed Philip for sending her away. Upon arriving at his new school, he is asked to lead the Pledge of Allegiance, and upon doing so, he breaks down and cries that he does not know the words.
There are some large themes in Nothing But The Truth. It shows how powerful and controversial the Pledge of Allegiance debate is. Philip Malloy intended to only protest against his language teacher, but it was so controversial that it spread beyond the boundaries of what he intended and dragged him along further than what it really was to begin with. Another big theme is honesty. Philip is not honest about why he hummed in class and didn't stop the process even when his teacher was getting hurt. In the end, even though he gets what thought he wanted, he still hurts himself.
Source 1: The early Pledge of Allegiance Issue: West Virginia State Board of Education vs. Barnett.
A real life situation that relates to the fictional story of Nothing But the Truth is the Supreme Court case West Virginia State Board of Education vs. Barnette from 1943. Marie and Gathie Barnett were Jehovah's Witnesses attending Slip Hill Grade School near Charleston, West Virginia. They were told by their father not to salute the flag or recite the pledge, and were expelled. In continued protest, their father told them to return to school every time they were sent home, eventually leading them to sue the school district. The case eventually made it to the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court finally found in favor of the Barnetts. In a famous opinion, Justice Jackson, wrote some very inspirational quotes:
"The refusal of these persons to participate in the ceremony does not interfere with or deny rights of others to do so. Nor is there any question in this case that their behavior is peaceable and orderly. The sole conflict is between authority and rights of the individual."
"Government of limited power need not be anemic government."
" One's right to life, liberty, and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections."
This decision relates back to Nothing But the Truth in that the Barnetts found themselves stuck in situation that they didn't intend to cause. They only wanted to express their beliefs without interference. In this case, the Supreme Court ruled in their favor.