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Free Study Guide for The Great Santini by Pat Conroy

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The Great Santini Study Guide

Chapter 25 Summary

The evening after Christmas, Sammy picked Ben up in his car and they drove quickly out of Ravenel via the Charleston highway. Sammy told Ben that he set up a date for the two of them with college girls. Sam went into detail about how dating works, something that Ben has limited ideas about. Sam bought beers for the two of them for courage. Sam admitted to Ben that he didn’t give his real name to their dates and wanted Ben to pretend that they’re in the basketball team together. Sam pulled out cigars and continued having a banter with Ben who was pretending to be Sam’s date for the evening. Once they reached the house that the girls were staying at, they were informed that their dates actually cancelled on them, bringing Sammy’s mood down. They both kept quiet until the two of them started giggling uncontrollably.


Chapter 26 Summary



Early Friday afternoon, Bull’s office phone rang and he heard the voice of Lt. Col. Cecil Causey’s voice on the other end. He was one of Bull’s best friends and also his toughest competitor in terms of leading the best squadron in the corps. He was extending an invite for Bull and his team to meet at the club in the evening for happy hour to be properly acquainted. Bull called over two of his officers and roughed them up for the meeting with squadron 234 later.

Prior to leaving for happy hour, Bull called home to tell Lillian that he’s going to happy hour with the boys and that he’ll meet them at the game later. He ordered Mary Anne to tell their mother about it and to not let her mother call him at the club, to which Mary Anne responded by taking note of the number after hanging up.

Bull required all his officers to join happy hour every Friday. It was his way of loosening up the fact that a Marine pilot’s life could be taken away in a blink of an eye. Bull and Cecil got to making bets and urging their officers to tease each other. After a while, the waiter approached Bull and told him that his wife was calling him— it was actually Mary Anne prank calling her father so he’d be required to pay up and buy everyone a round of drinks. Ben was in on the prank as well, making sure that even Cecil will join in on humiliating Bull. The pilots continued their drinking games, ending up in a total bar brawl between the two squadrons.

Notes: Regardless of his toughness, Bull also wants to instill his “playful” nature with his officers by letting them brawl with each other during happy hour. Mary Anne’s enjoyment of tormenting her father knows no bounds and is not afraid of disrespecting him openly.

Chapter 27 Summary


Bull returned home early to anticipate the game Ben’s team was about to play against Peninsula. He found his family sitting in the kitchen, listening to Arrabelle’s stories about her late husband. He drew attention to himself by saying that the house is filthy. He reveals that he doesn’t want Ben to screw up so he could get a scholarship for college. He asked Lillian for the day’s paper because it had something about the game in it. Lillian ordered Mary Anne to stop dressing in old, baggy clothes during Ben’s games. Lillian got annoyed at Mary Anne for being stubborn. The pair got into an argument, with Mary Anne making her mother cry because of the way that she depresses everyone around her. Next, she focused her attention on her father who was determined to ignore her.

The game was very crucial to the players, as college scouts were there to watch them play. Ben ended up breaking a boy’s bone under the pressure of Bull. He was forced to leave the game and banned from participating in other games as a result.

Notes: Ben was pressured to commit a foul because of his father’s urging.

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