Explain Ed's quote which begins, "Decency ain't in him..." in Chapter 5 of Irene Hunt's "Across Five Aprils".

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ed Turner is speaking about Dave Burdow, a slovenly, uncommunicative man whose son was implicated in the death of Jethro's sister Mary.  Matt Creighton had earlier spoken up in defense of Burdow, even though it was his daughter who was the victim of Burdow's son Travis' negligence.  Ed says,

"Decency ain't in him...he's had nary a word of human feelin' fer what happened to that little girl, nary a word of thanks that Matt saved his worthless boy from his neighbors.  He's more of a dumb beast than a man".

Ed's statement reflects the feeling of the townspeople towards Burdow.  Because the man is inarticulate and expressed neither remorse for Mary's death nor gratitude fro Matt's generosity towards his son, his neighbors think he lacks feeling and decency.  They see him as beastlike, incapable of normal human emotions.

Dave Burdow is present when Jethro goes into town alone with the wagon to get supplies, and witnesses the ugly threats to which the boy is subjected because his brother is fighting for the Confederacy.  Fearing for his safety, Burdow follows Jethro and personally escorts him through a dangerous stretch of the road, saving him from a malicious prank which would have ruined the wagon and possibly resulted in physical injury as well.  Burdow says little during the escapade, but his actions speak louder than words.  Jethro realizes that Burdow is indeed a decent human being, despite the impression everyone has of him (Chapter 5).

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Across Five Aprils

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