Chapter 4 Summary

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Driving Mr. Norton back to campus, the narrator fixated on the likely outcome of the day’s events. Surely there would be consequences, he worried, cursing Jim Trueblood for derailing their otherwise pleasant excursion. Mr. Norton, now terse, asked to be taken directly back to his rooms on campus. He also asked for Dr. Bledsdoe, the president of the college, to be sent to see him in his rooms at once. The anxious narrator attempted to apologize for the ordeal before dropping him off, insisting that he had had no better option than the Golden Day, but the trustee deflected.

Dr. Bledsdoe, the narrator explains, was a personal role model for him, and facing him after this transgression was thus extremely intimidating. Bledsdoe had power, good standing in the community, wealth, a beautiful wife, and two Cadillacs—everything the narrator himself hoped to have one day. Approaching Bledsdoe, he told him Mr. Norton was unwell and needed to see him immediately. Bledsdoe was furious to learn the narrator had taken the trustee to see such iniquity outside school grounds and especially that it had ended so terribly. The narrator attempted to explain that Bledsdoe was directing him where to drive and was then subsequently in danger, but the president ignored his pleas.

The narrator drove Dr. Bledsdoe to Mr. Norton’s room, and Bledsdoe insisted that the narrator come in with him. Seeing a small wound on Mr. Norton’s head, Bledsdoe was upset. Bledsdoe blamed the narrator and apologized to Mr. Norton profusely, and Mr. Norton told him it wasn’t the narrator’s fault. Bledsdoe was unconvinced, and the two sent the narrator away. Before he left, Bledsdoe told the narrator to be in the chapel for services that evening. Anxious that he would be expelled, and lacking any appetite for dinner, the narrator returned to his dormitory to wait.

Before long, the narrator was summoned to Mr. Norton’s room. The trustee told him he had explained everything, insisting to Dr. Bledsdoe that the narrator was not at fault. Feeling somewhat reassured, the narrator left and headed anxiously toward the chapel.

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