Summary and Analysis Chapter 17
Rosh has carried out his plan. The village is abuzz with gossip about the robberies, and all suspect Rosh. Daniel wants to know how everyone is so sure. He discovers that Rosh’s reputation has suffered serious decline. Most of the villagers now believe that Rosh is just a bandit and his men a self-serving “pack of thieves.” One of the villagers points out that none of the poor has received a single penny of Rosh’s fortune. Daniel is growing more disillusioned as well, for he had not anticipated that Rosh’s plan would result in “wholesale looting.” He was expecting action more worthy of the cause.
The next meeting at the watchtower, however, is jubilant. Despite the protests of the villagers and Daniel’s own doubts, the other boys are energized and naively debate what wonderful things Rosh will do for the people with his stolen wealth. Joel has found his fish-peddling scam so successful that he continues it. The boys are thrilled that at last they are actively participating in the cause. None of them feels “the slightest pity” for any of the wealthy victims that are attacked. Daniel, however, is filled with dismay.
A Roman catapult is then discovered by the boys, who rashly propose using it as a weapon to kill Roman guards. But Daniel instructs them to disassemble it, to make the catapult “disappear.” The success of this operation goes to the boys’ heads; they begin to lust for more action.
Their activities, however, do not go undetected. Two villagers come to Daniel’s shop and give Daniel a warning: Rosh must not steal any sheep again. Daniel tries to convince them that their losses serve the cause. But the men have had enough and insist that they will no longer tolerate Rosh’s raids. Rosh disregards the warning entirely.
Much of the action is straightforward here. Daniel needs only look to see Rosh’s true nature. The rich are getting poorer, and the poor are too. Rosh does not care whom he robs, so long as the spoils come to him. He does not care whom he puts in danger, because he is safely hidden and protected. Rosh has become so cocky that he no longer even makes much effort to hide his activities. Daniel now sees just how much the people are suffering to support a cause they have never benefited from in the slightest.
(The entire section is 608 words.)