Sounder by W. H. Armstrong - Free Online Book Summary
The climax of the story arises out of an unfortunate incident that turns out well. When the boy is peering into a work camp trying to locate his father, his hand is seriously injured. The white guard that sees the accident callously laughs at the pain the boy endures. Later that day he passes a schoolhouse and walks up close to satisfy his curiosity. When the teacher spies him, he comes out to see what the boy wants. He tells the teacher that his hand has been wounded. From that point onward, the teacher takes the boy under his wing and gives him the first hope and happiness he has experienced in life.
The plot ends as a tragic comedy. In the process of growing up, the boy endures unbelievable hardships, including the death of his father and his dog. But the boy, forced into premature manhood in order to provide for the family, is given the opportunity to rise above his plight in life because the teacher offers him an education; therefore, the book ends on a positive note.
On a symbolic level, the conflict can be viewed in terms of a clash between the life giving forces of love, devotion, and justice (as symbolized in the faithfulness of Sounder, the love of the family, and the justice of the teacher) and the life-negating forces of injustice, inhumanity, indifference, and racial discrimination (as embodied in the State and its human machinery). When the “State” shoots Sounder, it is actually a shot in the back of humanity. Sounder’s crippling and his failure to survive and revocalize his mighty roar are warnings that the forces of tyranny must be curtailed in order to prevent humanity from limping its way into its grave, just like the dog. Fortunately, love and justice are strong medicines against tyrannical forces, as seen in the novel. In spite of the cruelty of the State, the boy thrives because of the care of his mother and his teacher.
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TheBestNotes.com Staff. "TheBestNotes on Sounder".
. 09 May 2017