In Gary D. Schmidt's story Trouble, trouble doesn't last. What trouble does Henry find on the river, and how does it resolve? What does he do? Why?

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Early in Gary D. Schmidt's story Trouble, while Franklin is still in the hospital prior to his death, Henry learns that his Whittier Academy crew team will be competing in the Cape Ann Coastal Invitational against the very first crew team from Merton. Merton happens to be the town Chay Chouan is from, the boy who was convicted of accidentally hitting Franklin in his truck. When Henry begins preparing for the race that day on the Charles River, he sees that one of the crew team members from Merton he is racing against is Chay's younger brother.

When Henry walks up to the dock after his Whittier team returns from warm-ups, Sanborn points out to Henry that the first rower on the Merton crew team is Chay's younger brother. Henry then notices the rest of the Chouan family, including Chay, in the the crowd, ready to cheer on the young Chouan. This troubling news disturbs Henry so much he makes a mistake that nearly costs the Whittier team the race.  

At one point during the race, Henry and Chay's brother make eye contact. During the moment, Henry loses his rowing rhythm, and his blade is "slapped out of his hand by the pull from ahead" (p. 116). Henry struggles to regain a hold on his blade, and as he does so, he feels the "shell sheering" (p. 116). Only after multiple tries does Henry finally get his blade back in his hand and his rowing back in rhythm with his team, but by this time, the team has lost a lot of speed. Whereas the Merton shell had been far behind them at the start of the race, the shell was now "only a single length behind" (p. 117). Even during the last one hundred yards of the race, as the Merton shell gained more and more speed, Henry still had trouble keeping his eyes off of Chay's brother. Regardless of the trouble Henry had had with is blade, the Whittier team wins the race,  crossing the finish line "less than a quarter length ahead of the Merton boat" (p. 118).

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