Sounder by W. H. Armstrong - Free Online Book Summary
The boy’s maturation process begins to take shape in this chapter. First, Mother insists that he wear the father’s old-patched overalls, symbolizing that she is passing the responsibility of the family to him. Then she makes it clear that he is mature enough to watch out for his younger siblings while she goes in to town to shop; the boy takes the task very seriously and does a good job. The boy also begins to mimic his father’s habit of speaking aloud to himself.
The boy’s sensitivity and love for Sounder are again seen in this chapter. Lonely and desolate without the dog, he again goes out to look for him, expecting to find his lifeless body. He is concerned about giving his pet a proper burial. Although he searches everywhere, Sounder is not to be found, making him feel more miserable than ever. He remarks out loud, “No sun to thaw things out today.” Although he is literally speaking of the weather, he is also talking about the frozen state of his heart. Without his father or his dog, there is nothing to warm his life or bring him happiness. With the weight of the world upon his shoulders, the boy can stand no more. He cries copious tears; consciously they are for his lost father and dog; subconsciously they are for the premature loss of his own youth.
The overall sense of alienation felt by the blacks is voiced in the boy’s fear of “curtained houses,” places where the white people live. The curtains become symbolic. First they represent white luxury, for blacks cannot afford to cover their windows with fancy cloth. Next they serve as a barrier, protecting the sacred privacy of the white people and preventing the whites from having to look at the misery and poverty of the blacks. Ironically, the child has no fear when he sees the rough, dilapidated cabins along the way; to him, the windows there are “just faces and real eyes.”
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TheBestNotes.com Staff. "TheBestNotes on Sounder".
. 09 May 2017