Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
The Baxter family consists of Penny Baxter, his plump wife, Ora, and their son, Jody. They live in a simple cabin in the Florida scrub country, where patient, hardworking Penny ekes out a meager living by farming and hunting. Young Jody still sees life through the eyes of a child and finds a boy’s pleasure in building a flutter mill (a water wheel) at the spring when he should have been hoeing the garden patch.
One spring morning, the family discovers that Betsy, their black brood sow, has been killed by a bear. Penny recognizes the tracks as those of Old Slewfoot, a giant black bear with one toe missing. Determined to be rid of this offender, he corners the animal in the scrub, but his old gun will not fire, and the bear escapes.
Unable to afford a new gun, Penny trades a worthless dog to his neighbors, the Forresters, for a new double-barreled shotgun of fine make. The Forrester family consists of the old parents, six gigantic, lawless boys, and Fodder-Wing, a deformed and disabled boy who is Jody’s best friend. Penny is reluctant to dupe his neighbors, but his very living depends on the destruction of Old Slewfoot. He eases his conscience by telling the Forrester boys truthfully that the dog cannot be trained for hunting. His words convince the suspicious Forresters that the dog is even more valuable than they had thought, and they insist on the trade.
After his father’s old gun is repaired, it becomes Jody’s great pride. One day, while hunting with his father, he shoots a buck, and Penny sells the venison at the store in Volusia. Afterward, Penny and Jody go to see Grandma Hutto, at whose house they spend the night. In the morning, everyone is made glad by the unexpected arrival of Oliver Hutto, Grandma’s son, just home from the sea. Later that day, Oliver goes downtown, where he meets Lem Forrester. Both of the men have been courting the same girl, Twink Weatherby. When the two start to fight, all of Lem’s brothers join in against Oliver. Wiry Penny and small Jody also enter the fight with Oliver, because the odds against him are so heavy. Jody is knocked unconscious, and Oliver leaves the fight badly battered. To keep people from talking, Twink leaves town on the riverboat the next morning.
A short time later, Penny discovers that his hogs have disappeared. He suspects the Forresters of having trapped them to get revenge for the shotgun deal, and he and Jody start to track the hogs. During the search, a rattlesnake bites Penny on the arm. He saves himself by shooting a doe and applying the animal’s liver to the bite to draw out the poison. Even in the excitement, Jody notices that the doe has a fawn. While Penny staggers homeward, Jody goes to the Forresters to ask them to ride and fetch Doc Wilson.
The Forresters, with the exception of Lem, evidently hold no grudge over the trading of the dog and the fight in town, and they do all they can for the Baxters. One of the boys brings Doc Wilson to the Baxters’ cabin, and later...
(The entire section is 1228 words.)
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Chapter 1 Summary
The boy, Jody, leans on his hoe and watches his mother tidy their small cabin before he walks away. Soon two dogs, Rip and Perk, run toward him. Old Julia, the other family dog, followed Jody’s father to town. The boy breaks into a run until he reaches his private place near a spring, shared only with the wild animals that come to drink.
He carefully carves a flutter-mill then lies on the creek-bank to watch it work before falling asleep. When he wakes, he revels in the beautiful April day before galloping home. He is ashamed to see his father, Penny Baxter, doing Jody’s chore of chopping wood. Jody is thankful his father understands the call of nature on a young boy because it was once the same for him.
Jody delivers a load of firewood to his mother who is working in the kitchen before rejoining his father. Trixie the cow has been milked and old Caesar has been fed what meager food they have for him; now father and son go in to dinner. Jody is starving and it is a simple but glorious meal; all of them eat until they are full.
Baxter reminds Jody that they are going to hunt down a great old black bear named Old Slewfoot, and Jody teases playfully with his mother. The boy is “addled with April” and has trouble sleeping. For the rest of his life, on an April day like today, Jody will feel the throb of an old wound and be filled with nostalgia for something he cannot quite remember. Finally he sleeps.
Chapter 2 Summary
It is a full moon and Penny Baxter is still awake, thinking about what he should be doing instead of lying here in the dark. His own father would have punished him for leaving his chores undone, for he was a stern man. Though he taught his children how to read, write, and know the Scriptures, he also forced them to toil mercilessly. Food had been scarce and hookworm had been rampant. Baxter was a small man because of those things, but he is “sound amalgam,” honest and upright and wanting only what is his.
People thought he was crazy for leaving the safety of a town and venturing off to the wilds to farm, but it may be that he had been “bruised too often” and needed the peace offered by nature and silence. The touch of man is hurtful, but nature heals; wild animals are less predatory than many of the people he has known. He can forgive wild animals who attack his stock, but he finds it difficult to understand human cruelties.
At thirty Baxter married a woman twice his size and built a life in the wilds with her. He had hoped for a large family, but the couple’s children were all weak and none of them survived very long. After a string of these heartbreaks, Ora Baxter had no children for a time. Finally, late in their life, Jody was born.
Baxter went to war when Jody was two and was gone for four years; his wife and son stayed with Grandma Hutto while he was gone. While Ora loves Jody with some detachment, Baxter’s “bowels yearn over his son.” He understands the boy and is glad Jody got to build a flutter-mill today.
Chapter 3 Summary
Jody wakes unwillingly, but it is good to be awake before his mother calls him. Everything is coming to life outside his window, and he is torn between the “luxury of his bed and the coming day.” Soon he is up and dressed; his bed is forgotten and he anticipates his mother’s hot cakes for breakfast.
Jody washes and teases with his mother that he is ugly. She does not disagree, saying ugly runs in his family. He wishes he were dark like the Forresters, but his mother says their hearts are as dark as they are. Jody remembers Lem Forrester bullying him and then slips away to find his father.
Old Julia is trembling over a mutilated pig carcass, and Baxter tells his son to look closely to see what happened. Jody walks a few paces away and sees the unmistakable footprints of a huge bear with one missing toe: Old Slewfoot. Father and son study the direction in which the bear had come and gone.
None of the dogs had scented the bear because the wind was in his favor. Old Slewfoot is a cunning animal and formidable adversary. He only ate a bite or so of the pig, so his stomach must have been full. This was an unnecessary killing. Jody should feel bad but he only feels excitement about hunting down this personal enemy.
They drag the pig home to be used for lard and sausage, explaining what happened to an upset Ora. She is angry at the bear for killing her brood sow, worried there will be no meat for winter. Finally they sit down to breakfast.
Chapter 4 Summary
Today the Baxters will hunt Old Slewfoot. They gather supplies, including a hunk of dried alligator meat used to feed the dogs, and Jody has to wear his shoes. The trail leads south and the footprints are easy to find and follow; Baxter almost always catches his game. All three dogs are with them, but Old Julia is the best tracker; the hunters see signs that the bear is eating fire-plant along the trail.
Baxter has respect for the animals he kills, unlike the Forresters who kill for pleasure. Baxter loads his gun and they realize Slewfoot is running toward the creek. He does not have a clear shot because the dogs are leaping and retreating. Suddenly the bear stops and feigns indifference; Baxter shoots, but his gun does...
(The entire section is 299 words.)
Chapter 5 Summary
Julia is better but exhausted from losing so much blood. At breakfast, Baxter determines to trade Perk for a new gun. The dog is of no use to the Baxters, but he is a good “ketch-dog” and the Forresters love to acquire dogs. Ora warns him he is likely to do poorly in the trade, but Baxter and Jody are going to go. They split wood and fetch water before they leave. Jody is anxious to visit his friend Fodder-wing.
Father and son ride the horse, Caesar, together, and Perk follows them to Forresters’ Island. The trail they are riding was blazed by the Spaniards and cuts across Florida. The Spaniards had to fight Indians, panthers, and bears; suddenly the woods look more perilous to Jody. When they get closer to the...
(The entire section is 301 words.)
Chapter 6 Summary
The baby raccoon drinks as Jody holds it. When the contented creature’s belly is full, he scrambles to be free and Jody puts him on his shoulder. Pa Forrester is sitting quietly in the shadows and now says that he used to have a pet raccoon; it was “gentle as a kitten” for two years and then one day it bit a chunk out of his leg.
The remaining Forresters and Baxter enter the cabin as the patriarch continues talking about raccoons. Baxter is still holding Perk in his arms and now crosses the room to talk to Forrester. Ma Forrester asks Baxter to sit, which he does, and one of the boys asks if Baxter’s dog is lame. Baxter replies that he just wants to protect the dog from their bloodhounds. Far from being...
(The entire section is 291 words.)
Chapter 7-8 Summary
Jody arrives home to the smell of roasting meat. He is disappointed that his father went hunting without him and says he will never leave his father again if this is what happens. Baxter tells his son to be patient and listen to the story; after all, he got to spend the night at the Forresters and cannot have everything. Jody certainly wishes he could.
On his way home yesterday, Baxter saw a big buck standing in the road; the animal did not move, even when he heard Caesar approaching. Baxter checked his new gun for bullets, and of course it was loaded. He shot the buck and threw it on the horse, hopeful this would be an effective peace offering to his wife for leaving Jody at the Forresters’.
Jody teases with his...
(The entire section is 283 words.)
Chapter 9 Summary
It rained last night, and today is another beautiful April morning. Jody has eaten so well for the past few days that he is hardly hungry. As he is leisurely chopping wood, his father comes from the barn, dangling a strange white object. It is a raccoon, but Baxter explains it is an anomaly called an albino. It was killed in the barn trap, which makes Jody sad. He wishes he could have kept him for a pet. His mother does not think that raccoons should be pets.
Baxter and Jody convince Ora that the white hide would not sell for much so Jody can keep it. Baxter wishes he had enough money to build a well, and Jody wonders why his father chose to build his homestead so far from any fresh water. His father does not complain...
(The entire section is 300 words.)
Chapter 10 Summary
Jody is recovering from being slightly ill. His mother is certain it is a fever and chills, but he suspects he just ate too many unripe berries. She makes him drink something she has created, and it is not as bad as some of her concoctions. Jody feels a bit guilty that his father has had to do all the chores for the past two days, but he did not want to take the purging medicine which his mother certainly would have given him. Once he is up, Jody eats and goes to see his father; Baxter figured his son’s illness was because of too many green berries. They decide to go fishing.
Along the way they see six Minorcans with bags over their shoulders; they are hunting gophers, the “last food the inhabitants of the scrub...
(The entire section is 284 words.)
Chapter 11 Summary
Jody sees the hoof prints of twin fawns and is ecstatic; he wants to leave one for its mother and take the other for himself. Ora says there is no milk to spare. Jody, Baxter, and Old Julia set off to hunt, go to the store to trade, and stop to visit Grandma Hutto. Jody is honored to carry his father’s faulty rifle.
Baxter teaches Jody how to tell a doe from a buck and whether they are running or walking just by their tracks. They see twin bear cubs and two bucks, and Jody is able to see a newborn fawn with its mother. After lunch, Jody grazes a buck. Baxter finishes the kill and dresses the animal. They will give the hide and a haunch to Grandma Hutto, keeping a haunch for themselves. The rest they sell. In the...
(The entire section is 301 words.)
Chapter 12 Summary
Jody is sleeping at Grandma Hutto’s when he hears the steamship whistle and realizes someone is coming to the landing. It is Oliver and everyone is thrilled, since he only comes home twice a year. His ship has been in the tropics; he has stories and gifts to share but wants to eat first.
Jody’s gift is a marvelous hunting knife. When he blurts out that Lem Forrester thinks Twink Weatherby is his girl, Oliver laughs and reminds Jody that the Forresters are liars. Jody is relieved and his conscience is clear, but he remembers Lem’s face and is worried. Oliver has more stories to tell, but he goes to visit his girl and the Baxters have to finish their trading and go home.
Suddenly Easy Ozell appears and...
(The entire section is 290 words.)
Chapter 13 Summary
Jody wakes up in Grandma Hutto’s spare bedroom and is sure the fight between Oliver and the Forresters was a nightmare—until he turns and feels the pain in his neck and shoulder. Baxter is bandaged up and has a black eye, and Oliver is in bed with a plethora of wounds but will recover. Baxter tells his son that it was not fair to involve a boy in a man’s fight, but he is proud of him for wanting to help a friend in trouble.
Jody finally says the Forresters are also his friends, but Baxter says that is probably no longer true. Jody is even more resentful that Oliver left them for a girl, but he would fight again if needed. The odds were not fair and he could not abide such an injustice; thinking of it this way...
(The entire section is 294 words.)
Chapter 14 Summary
Baxter is worried because his hogs have not come back home. If a bear had attacked, they would not all be gone; he suspects the Forresters have somehow trapped the animals. Baxter will leave soon to find the animals and is prepared to fight the Forresters if he must; Jody would rather lose the pigs and keep the Forresters as friends. His mother did not approve of their fight to save Oliver, but she is eager for them to fight, if necessary, for the pigs.
They leave before noon, and Baxter quickly finds evidence that the Forresters lured the hogs away by giving them corn. They discover an empty pig trap and work their way through the dense woods. Suddenly Baxter is bitten by a rattlesnake. Jody holds the dogs back as his...
(The entire section is 285 words.)
Chapter 15 Summary
Jody wakes from a nightmare in which he and his father are battling a nest of rattlesnakes. He is thrilled that his father looks no worse than he did last night. Jody starts to do his father’s chores, and Buck Forrester graciously offers to stay and work the farm until Baxter is well enough to work.
Jody convinces his father that he must find and raise the fawn; it is the least he can do since the does saved his father’s life. Mill-wheel helps Jody search for the fawn before he returns to his family. They agree that no one else should have gotten involved in the fight between Oliver and Lem. Mill-wheel assures Jody that the Baxter hogs will be home by sundown. Jody is concerned that Fodder-wing is sick. Mill-wheel...
(The entire section is 301 words.)
Chapter 16 Summary
The fawn follows Jody everywhere. Buck is a hard worker but he “fills the Baxter cabin until it bulges.” Though he eats an astonishing amount of food, Ora does not complain because he works very hard and keeps her supplied with game. Baxter’s strength is returning slowly.
Buck shows Jody evidence that foxes have been eating the corn and promises to teach Jody to be more serious about caring for the farm and the crops. Buck and Jody smoke the bees out of a honey-tree and gather several tubs of honey; however, Buck feels as if he should go home. He has a bad feeling in his heart about Fodder-wing. That night, Jody and Buck prepare to hunt the fox and Baxter wishes he could go, too. He and Buck tease good-naturedly...
(The entire section is 294 words.)
Chapter 17 Summary
Two weeks after Buck left, Jody is hoeing; if he finishes by noon he can visit Fodder-wing, who has a gift for names, to get a name for the fawn. Jody has tried many names, but none of them seem to fit.
Baxter is still not strong, but Jody has been trying to do more to help. The fawn is growing and getting in the way at times but makes the Baxter men laugh. Before Jody leaves for the Forresters, his parents warn him to be especially alert for bears because it is mating season.
Jody is delighted that the fawn is following him so faithfully when suddenly he sees two male bears fighting on their hind legs a hundred yards away. It is a rare sight, and Jody only resumes his journey after the bears move on; he is...
(The entire section is 281 words.)
Chapter 18 Summary
The August heat is merciless. The harvest will be plentiful and everything is going well on the Baxters’ farm, though Jody is always conscious of Fodder-wing’s absence. Flag is continually growing and has become quite clever.
One afternoon near the end of August, Jody and Flag go to the sinkhole to get water. Among the dripping moss, he imagines he sees a helmeted rider, a Spaniard, something he and Fodder-wing talked about often. Jody realizes he will never be able to talk to his friend about such things again.
Jody forgets his errand and lies with Flag in the shade of a dogwood tree. Soon a mother raccoon and her two young ones come down the slope of the sinkhole. The mother fishes in each of the...
(The entire section is 264 words.)
Chapter 19 Summary
September is dry and hot. Baxter kills a seven-foot rattler and hangs the hide next to the fireplace with great satisfaction. The deer and bears are feeding in low, wet places and are hard to hunt. Ora wants rain because her rain barrels are empty. Baxter senses the weather is going to turn bad.
That night a fierce wind comes but is gone by morning. No air is stirring and the skies turn black; then comes a “toad-strangler of a rain.” Jody, Flag, and the two dogs manage to get inside before the worst of it comes, and the household settles in for the night. In the morning, Baxter dresses for winter since he must go out and milk the cow. The storm continues all day and the Baxters go to bed early. The next day is the...
(The entire section is 293 words.)
Chapter 20 Summary
Two days after the storm, Buck and Mill-wheel come to check on the Baxters. The storm has disrupted all the habits and patterns of the wild animals, so the two Forresters and the two Baxter men go to explore. They see dead animals of all kinds, and the water is still high in most places.
The men check on the doctor; he left a note on the door, saying he was heading to the ocean “where this much water is ain’t so peculiar.” The men enjoy a moment of laughter. They discover islands of land amid the swampy ground, islands which are full of all sorts of animals. The men shoot six wild cats because these are the predators of their farm animals. Jody shoots a lynx, and they also shoot several deer for meat.
(The entire section is 294 words.)
Chapter 21 Summary
Baxter spends two weeks trying to salvage his crops. Only some of the sweet potatoes survive, and the sugar cane is “flattened to the ground” but might be salvaged later. Three weeks after the flood, Baxter cuts some marsh grass to cure, since his hay was ruined. Now that the water has receded, no fish are evident and the stench is overwhelming.
In October, a month after the flood, Baxter, Jody, and Flag go to cut and gather the marsh grass when suddenly Old Julia tears into the bushes and finds a curiosity: a wildcat, not yet old, is dying. They take one load of hay home, and the dogs begin to bay at the sink-hole. The hounds corner a buck, but, inexplicably, it refuses to fight. Baxter kills the buck and discovers...
(The entire section is 250 words.)
Chapter 22 Summary
By November, the Baxters and Forresters know the extent of the plague and understand game will be scarce for the winter. They are more concerned than ever about their farm animals and do what they can to protect them. One night a pig squeals and they discover a large bear took it. When Baxter and Jody find the tracks, they know it was Old Slewfoot. They are not surprised that this bear has survived the plague. The old bear will not be fooled by his trap since he lost his toe to one, so they will have to track him down. The next day Baxter is sick and stays in bed for three days, and he will not let Jody track the bear alone.
After he recovers, Baxter and Jody slaughter eight of their hogs, leaving just a few “to...
(The entire section is 300 words.)
Chapter 23 Summary
The first heavy frost happens at the end of November. The Baxters spend their evening in front of the fire; Flag is with them, and Ora does not even seem to care. Starvation seems unlikely to visit them now.
Suddenly the terrified calf bleats and Baxter goes for his gun. A pack of starving wolves has attacked the calf. Baxter shoots and the wolves disperse, all but the one Julia has killed. The incident has Baxter shaken, and he plans to go to the Forresters because a pack of starving wolves is more than either of them can fight alone. He leaves the next morning, leaving Jody to protect the farm. Flag stays inside all day, and Baxter returns in time for dinner.
There is only one pack of marauding wolves...
(The entire section is 296 words.)
Chapter 24 Summary
The poisoning killed thirty wolves in one week; only a dozen or two remain, and Baxter will help kill them. The pack is marauding in different places each night; the Forresters kill six of them and then set out more poison. When two of their dogs die of poisoning, however, their desire to kill so quickly diminishes.
The Forresters, Baxter, and Jody go hunting. At a watering hole they see a buck and a dozen spring bears. Finally the wolves appear and the men kill a dozen of them. Nearly all the bears have treed, and Baxter suggests they try to catch some, as there is a market for live animals.
Three of the young bears sit “crying like babies.” Others only climbed saplings and are easily caught. They catch...
(The entire section is 303 words.)
Chapter 25 Summary
The Forresters got a good price for the bears and were able to get everything on the Baxters’ list with money left over. The relations between the two families are strained because of Lem’s attack on Baxter’s veracity; despite that, Buck stops by to tell the Baxters they think they have killed the last of the wolves but the bears are marauding.
Jody spends a lot of time hunting with Flag. Jody makes his mother a necklace out of beans for Christmas. Before the Baxters leave for Volusia, Jody and Baxter go hunting so they have something to trade. Old Julia refuses to follow the obvious trail of a well grown fawn, but when she uncharacteristically refuses, Baxter thrashes her for her stubbornness. The fawn was Flag;...
(The entire section is 306 words.)
Chapter 26 Summary
Trixie’s calf is going to live and the Baxters are elated. Ora makes a dress out of the goods Baxter bought her, and Buck reports the Forresters lost a two hundred-plus pound hog to Old Slewfoot. The Christmas festivities are in three days, but the Forresters will not be going. Jody makes his father a pipe and Baxter does some mysterious building late at night. No one hears the bear that night, but in the morning the calf is gone.
Baxter is furious and intends to finally kill Old Slewfoot. Jody and Flag struggle to keep up with him. After an exhausting day, the Baxters see no sign of the bear, but they set out again the next morning. If they are not back, Ora will drive the wagon to town and they will do their best...
(The entire section is 477 words.)
Chapter 27 Summary
The next morning, the Baxters tell Grandma Hutto, Oliver, and his wife goodbye, as the Huttos are leaving immediately for Boston. Ora and Grandma Hutto even embrace. Baxter tells them they are always welcome at Baxter Island. The steamboat is just coming around the bend in the river when Oliver’s new wife presents Jody with a gift for fighting on Oliver’s behalf. Twink gives him a kiss on the cheek and Jody thinks it is quite agreeable.
As Grandma Hutto begins to board, Baxter tried to express his love for her, but his voice breaks and then the Huttos have to board the ship. As the two groups wave and holler goodbye to one another, the boat makes one final whistle before disappearing down the river.
(The entire section is 209 words.)
Chapter 28 Summary
It is a mild January, sometimes warm enough for Ora to sit on the porch and do her needlework in the sun. The Baxters are leading a quieter life now and still talk about how low the Forresters are for being willing to burn down a house assuming Oliver was in it. They do not pass by the Baxters’ anymore and have not come for their half of the bear meat in compensation for all the damage Old Slewfoot had done to their animals.
It is still warm at the end of January, a harbinger of spring. Baxter plows the fields where he will plant the early crops, fields which Buck cleared for him when Baxter was sick. He will plant extra corn this year, for there never seems to be enough of it for the needs of the farm and its...
(The entire section is 279 words.)
Chapter 29 Summary
Baxter becomes temporarily crippled due to his rheumatism because of the cold in February. Jody does the light chores and keeps the house supplied with wood, but mostly he and Flag go hunting and playing. One day he sees Flag in silhouette at the top of a rise; seeing the creature from a new perspective, Jody suddenly realizes how big Flag has gotten. Baxter looks at the young buck speculatively, seeing the same thing, and confirms that Flag is almost a yearling. He tells Jody things will begin to change for Flag, though his horns will not begin to show until July.
Flag is in “increasing in disgrace, at best,” because of his antics; and Ora is not pleased with Flag’s “wild and impudent” behaviors. Flag is...
(The entire section is 207 words.)
Chapter 30 Summary
March arrives, sunny and cool, and Baxter feels better. He decides this is the day he will begin planting, and he teaches Jody exactly how to do it. The boy learns well and Baxter leaves him to finish planting the tobacco. Baxter is pleased and they work quickly together to plant the corn because Baxter senses rain is coming. He has a vague unease, “as though he were obliged now to leave his handiwork to forces he could only trust blindly not to betray him.”
Both of the Baxters rest for a moment and watch Flag. Jody is proud of his beautiful friend but sees something unsettling in his father’s eyes when he looks at Flag. Baxter says both Jody and Flag are now yearlings, and the thought somehow grieves him. Jody...
(The entire section is 250 words.)
Chapter 31 Summary
Baxter does not recover but will not let Ora call for the doctor. He suspects he has “been ruptured” but is convinced everything will be okay with time. Jody is worried but remembers far worse things from which his father has recovered.
Soon Jody reports that the corn is sprouting and looks perfect. Most of the next day Jody spends hunting with Flag. The next morning Jody goes to check the corn and is stunned to see no green shoots in the cornfield. When he examines the ground, he sees Flag’s tracks everywhere and is devastated. When Baxter asks about the crops, Jody tells him about everything but the corn. Finally he has to admit that Flag ate the entire field of corn.
Baxter is not surprised and will...
(The entire section is 277 words.)
Chapter 32 Summary
Jody and Flag wander west, and he tells himself his parents cannot make him kill Flag. Jody had raged and was soundly thrashed by Ora, and now he stops to think through possible solutions to this problem, just as Baxter does. Jody has an idea and walks the four miles to the Forresters’. The boys are all gone, so he asks their parents what they would do. Unhesitatingly, they say the yearling must be shot.
Jody’s new plan is to take Flag to Jacksonville, but the animal refuses to be restrained. Jody is exhausted and rests for a bit; when he wakes up, he follows Flag’s tracks back home. Jody sleeps with Flag in the barn and wakes up “stiff and miserable,” but he knows he must face his parents when he sees that...
(The entire section is 304 words.)
Chapter 33 Summary
Jody walks woodenly toward Jacksonville. He will go to Boston, leaving his betrayal behind him. He borrows a boat and paddles all day, numb with grief but even more bitter that his father turned against him. Now there is no comfort for him anywhere.
On the second day, loneliness overwhelms him as he continues his journey. Suddenly he finds himself in open water and panics. He tries to find the mouth of the river he wants but cannot, and his hunger rages. Now he understands his parents’ fear of starvation. He works his way along the shore and finds a cabin in which to sleep—a “drugged, nightmare-ridden sleep.” His hunger makes him lethargic and Jody begins to sob before eventually losing consciousness. He wakes...
(The entire section is 352 words.)