Free Study Guide for The Great Santini by Pat Conroy|
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The Great Santini Study Guide
Chapter 22 Summary
The day before their Catechism class, Ben overheard an argument between Father Pinckney and Sister Loretta after the evening mass. It was about teaching sex education to the class. During their class, Sister Loretta sent the girls upstairs to speak with a registered nurse from the naval hospital to teach them something of great importance. She opened the topic up and reminded them that they were all mature, young men. Ben was cringing during the whole discussion, feeling a slight tint of hatred towards Sister Loretta for discussing sex as if itís the most distasteful thing in the world.
Notes: Catholicism is still iffy when it comes to the topic of sex, despite the setting of the novel. It shows Benís doubts about his own sexual curiosity.
On Christmas Eve, the Meecham family prepared to attend the midnight mass, fully dressed and waiting for Bull to get out of the bathroom. Mary Anne shared with their younger siblings the story when Ben accidentally forgot to remove a carton of milk full of his urine inside the refrigerator just because Bull took a while to come out of the bathroom. They took glory in the fact that their father couldnít get mad at them during Christmas Eve and they were savoring the moment. They walked to the church and listened to Father Pinckney conduct mass. Ben started daydreaming about Ansley Matthews during the mass, giving him thoughts about how masturbation isnít necessarily a bad thing.
The children were sent up to their bedrooms the moment they returned home from the midnight mass. Lillian told Ben to not expect much during Christmas, as they had so many unexpected expenses. Every year during Christmas, Bull would climb up to the roof of wherever theyíre staying at and made noises akin to Santa and the reindeers coming. At 5 in the morning, Ben was woken up by Mary Anne, too excited to sleep through the night. She told him that Matt and Karen were waiting for him by the tree to open up the presents. Ben grudgingly went downstairs when Mary Anne started citing the presents that they got for him. The siblings started arguing after Mary Anne said something selfish. The children, realizing that it was Christmas, agreed to disagree and ran upstairs to wake their parents up. Bull told them that heíll see them by the tree at 0535 hours. Lillian planted a long kiss on each of her children and wished them a Merry Christmas. Bull teased his children by slowly drinking his cup of coffee, until he started giving out the gifts, much to the childrenís joy.
Notes: Another rare instance of Bull showing restraint because of the importance of his family to him. It was revealed in the chapter that both Bull and Lillian were children during the Great Depression; thatís why they make it a point to shower their kids with gifts during Christmas despite being on a tight budget.
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Celis, Christine. "TheBestNotes on The Great Santini".
. 09 May 2017