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Free Study Guide for The Great Santini by Pat Conroy

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The Great Santini Study Guide

Chapter 28 Summary

The next morning after the game, Sam drove up to the Meecham household to pick Ben up. Sammy revealed to Ben that he’s keeping a 12-gauge double barelled shotgun inside the car to scare off those who bully him. While they were driving around, they saw the deputy sheriff, Junior Palmer, getting it on with a black woman inside his car. Ben told Sam to drop it and forget the whole ordeal, but Sam wants to use the information to blackmail Palmer for 50 dollars.

Notes: Sammy Wertzberger obsessions towards being a “chick magnet” caused them to discover something that might get them into trouble.


Chapter 29 Summary



Sam and Ben went to the water tower and made sure that no one was around to catch who authored the blackmail letter for Junior Palmer . They climbed the tower and waited for the deputy to do as he was told on the note. While they were speaking, Red Pettus stuck a shotgun against Sammy’s throat.

Ben and Sammy were handcuffed together as they were taken to the county jail by Junior Palmer, who was Red’s third cousin. Sammy pleaded with Junior that it was all a joke, something that the deputy didn’t react positively to. He punched the Jewish boy in the throat and spewed out threats. Their handcuffs were removed and Ben was placed in a dark cell on the “white” side of the jailhouse. After a while, Bull came to see Ben, physically assaulting his son in the process out of rage. Palmer told Bull that Ben had hit him because the young boy was drunk. Palmer took great joy in seeing Bull attack Ben. He was surprised when Mr. Dacus dropped by and told him to release Ben. Ben thanked Mr. Dacus endlessly for getting him out of jail. He opened up to the principal about his hatred for his father, but Mr. Dacus told him that he actually loves his father and that his father loves them more than they thought. He told Ben that he’ll take care of Bull in the morning, if he’s not mad at him for kicking Ben off the team.

Notes: Power-tripping of authority in their town can be scary, as what happened with Ben and Sammy. Bull didn’t even do anything to help his son. Again, Mr. Dacus was the one who saved Ben, making the young boy dislike his father even more.

Chapter 30 Summary


Ben and Mary Anne waited for Sammy and his girlfriend on a warm, spring day. Mary Anne started being melodramatic, telling her brother that she’s going to get famous after she commits suicide. Sam and Emma arrived, with Mary Anne inviting Emma up to her room to get a book. Sam confided in Ben that he’s planning on going all the way with Emma inside his car later that day.

Sammy parked his car in the same area where they found Junior Palmer with the black woman. As they were kissing, a black man opened the door of the car and dragged Sam out. He cut his cheek with a knife and told him to run or else he’ll cut Emma into pieces. Sammy ran and sought help. The black man raped Emma Lee, who passed out after a while. Sam was able to find help, but a highway patrolman already came across Emma, who was walking down the beach road with only half of her clothes on, her face beaten beyond recognition.

Notes: Sammy’s drive to be a ladies’ man turned into a total nightmare when his girlfriend, Emma Lee got raped by a black man during one of their outings.

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