How has Michael changed by the end of Snow in August? (keep it short and sweet please)

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

By the end of the narrative of Snow in August, Michael has learned the significance of what he has been told earlier by Rabbi Hirsch: “You keep quiet about some crime, it’s just as bad as the crime.” Because his friends Sonny and Jimmy run away when Frankie McCarthy attacks the candy shop owner, Mr. G., Michael does not have the courage to come to his aid alone. Instead, he stands frozen. After Frankie throws the cash register on Mr. G's head and runs out, Michael does phone the police, but then he, too, flees and does not talk to the police because he does not want to be labeled as a "rat."

However, after he is further threatened by Frankie, he becomes demoralized. His friend, Rabbi Hirsch, encourages Michael to tell the police, but Michael is still fearful, especially after Frankie is arrested for painting swastikas on the synagogue. But, he still has not been charged with the deadly assault upon Mr. G. Nevertheless, believing that Michael has "snitched", Frankie has his gang members beat up Michael, putting him in the hospital for nine days. When Michael recovers, he goes to take exams and his mother accompanies him, but they are attacked and his mother's blouse is ripped off, and she is assaulted. Then, in July after Frankie is released, Rabbi Hirsch is brutally attacked and placed in intensive care. So, Michael understands the meaning of the rabbi's words. Now, he wants to take drastic measures; he must become involved. So, he secretly visits with Rabbi Hirsch, whispering for help to plot revenge. The rabbi gives him instructions.

Because of his renewed faith that goodness can defeat evil (foreshadowed by the Captain Marvel comic book), Michael follows the instructions of the rabbi, making 9 trips to the cemetery for the dirt necessary to give rise to the Golem. Out of the mud arises a seven-foot-tall creature who defends Michael against the gang and Frankie, whom he hurls outside into the August snow that has somehow appeared. Then, Michael takes the Golem to the hospital where he restores Rabbi Hirsch to health. Thus, in the end of the novel, Michael Devlin is instrumental in demanding restitution for the wrongs of Frankie McCarthy's gang.