What is the denouement of "The Watsons Go to Birmingham"?

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Jamie Wheeler eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Remember that the a "denouement" is the falling action of a narrative. Here, all the events previously have culminated in the bombing of the church. The protagonist, Kenny, is forced once again to re-examine painful feelings about the meaning of life. By, the troublemaker, also comes to terms with his actions as the novel reaches its conclusion.

randajane | Student

As previously stated, the denouement is the "falling action" of a literary work. This means the scenes that take place after the resolution. In The Watsons Go to Birmingham, that would be the trip back home. On this trip, the boys realize how lucky they are to have a family that loves them and takes care of them, and yes, even punishes them for their wrongdoings. They realize that the dangers they have put themselves in (unnecessarily) effected more than just themselves... everyone around them was effected by their actions.


Byron talking Kenny into coming out of the "World Famous Pet Hospital" is also part of the denoument. It ties all these lessons learned in to one another. The scene depicts the love and care for one another that was always there, just not shown. It shows the importance of family and lets the reader know that everything will end up okay in the end for Kenny.

Read the study guide:
The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

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