Pictures of Hollis Woods

by Patricia Reilly Giff

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In Pictures of Hollis Woods, what is Hollis drawing when the Old Man comes out on the porch?

Hollis is drawing a picture of the Old Man when he comes out on the porch. He's very impressed by what he sees and tells her that it's a gift to see things the way they are.

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One day, Hollis is sitting on the bottom step in front of the house, drawing some sketches of the Old Man using a flesh-peach pencil. Hollis works quickly, drawing a number of sketches in rapid succession: the Old Man with the hat over his eyes; the Old Man standing in front of the river; the Old Man sleeping in a hammock; and so on. What Hollis is trying to do with these drawings is capture what the Old Man looks like so she'll have something to take with her to remember him by.

Hollis isn't alone for very long, and soon the Old Man himself opens up the screen door and appears on the porch. He sees Hollis's sketches and is immediately impressed. "Where'd you learn to do that?" he asks. Hollis doesn't answer, but simply looks towards the river, where a willow hangs over the edge.

The Old Man puts his hand on Hollis's shoulder and tells her that it's a gift to draw things the way they are. Hollis sits very still; no one has ever said anything like that to her before. But the Old Man's not done with the compliments just yet. He goes on to say that Hollis shines through in her drawings.

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