Free Study Guide for The Great Santini by Pat Conroy|
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The Great Santini Study Guide
Chapter 31 Summary
Bull gave Hedgepath a call and told him about whatís happening with Ben and wants him to cover for himó because for the first time in history, Bull Meecham was deserting his post.
Red returned to bus slowly, the dogs making a racket as Toomer tried to have a feel of what Redís next move is going to be. Red fired at one of the dogs, killing it immediately. Red then aimed the gun at the big Gray, but Toomer took the bullet for the dog instead, hitting him square in the stomach. Before falling on the floor, Toomer was able to open the door of the bus to release the dogs, sending the pack running towards Red. The dogs started attacking Red, ripping his flesh off of the person that hurt their caretaker.
Ben reached the area and saw Redís corpse on the field, only distinguishable because of his red hair. The Gray attacked Ben, ripping off a sleeve of the flight jackett. Ben returned inside his car and drove to the bus to check on Toomer. He saw Toomer on the floor and assured him that heís going to get better as soon as they see a doctor. Once he was able to drag Toomer to the car, he realized that the boy was already dead. He drove back to their house, his head filling with memories he had with Toomer. He was met by his father who hit him in the face with a slap. Bull asked him why he disobeyed his orders. Ben retaliated that if it was Bull who were in his shoes, he would have done the same thing.
Notes: Toomer defending himself got him into trouble with Red Pettusí gang. As mentioned in a previous chapter, Bull unconsciously instilled the drive to help others out to his children, hence Benís urgency when it comes to helping out Toomer until his last breath.
Bull went to the annual Marine Mess Night, a gathering that is exclusively for men only. He promised Lillian that he wonít drink much, but Lillian knew better. As President of the Mess Night, Bull ensured that all traditions will be upheld and that only the best food and drinks will be served. He had invited 6 men who he admired for their bravery as Marines, he was the only one who knew that these people were invited.ó because they were the epitome of how the old Marines were. After a whole night of debauchery, Bull arrived home at 4 in the morning. They could hear their parents fighting, all of them except for Ben coming down to aid their mother. Once he heard that his father was physically attacking their mother, he ran down the stairs to find Bull holding Lillian by the throat. He tackled his father but he was too strong for Benó Bull grabbed Ben by the throat and slammed his skull on the wall. Lillian and the other kids started attacking Bull to let go of Ben. Bull stopped and looked stunned. He ran out of the house, leaving his family on the kitchen floor, weeping.
As he was preparing to go to bed, Ben was ordered by Lillian to go look for Bull despite his objections. He found his father passed out. As angry as he was, Ben still felt emotions for his father and told the old man that he loved him, something that Bull fled away from drunkenly. Being drunk, he was unable to run away from Ben, who was successful in taking him home.
Notes: Bullís temper reached its climax at this point, hurting Lillian and the kids in the process. Ben revealed his feelings for his father even thought he was mean to them throughout the years.
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Celis, Christine. "TheBestNotes on The Great Santini".
. 09 May 2017