Part 1, Section 2

Download PDF Print Page Citation Share Link

Last Reviewed on February 4, 2020, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1181

At the fair, a fortune-teller tells Lettie to "Beware." Benoit dismisses this, but Lettie discovers that he has a knife in his hat, and when Benoit says that Grace brought her death upon herself, Lettie counters that he doesn't believe this.

Illustration of PDF document

Download Mean Spirit Study Guide

Subscribe Now

On his way to a peyote ceremony, Michael Horse encounters Moses. At the ceremony, a veteran, Keto, prays for guidance: a lawyer has "invested" his oil money in a house and then moved his own family into that house. Ben Graycloud then prays, beginning with the statement that he has felt unsafe since Grace was killed.

At this point, a loud bang interrupts the meeting. Lettie and Benoit, at the fair, hear it, too. When Benoit returns home, he finds that his home is no longer there—it has exploded, and a sheriff is waiting to arrest him. Sara has been killed, although her housekeeper, Mrs. Inman, was thrown clear.

Michael Horse has seen Benoit and Lettie together and is concerned about Benoit's arrest. He goes to see Mrs. Inman, who tells him Sara had been concerned about Grace's grave having been robbed. Michael cannot think of anyone who might have had a motive other than Benoit, who would inherit Sara's wealth.

Belle does not want Lettie to visit Benoit in jail until she dreams of her grandmother in a traditional "tear" dress. She and Lettie, clothed in traditional garb, go to the jail and are allowed to enter by guards who "romanticize" Indians. Lettie tells Benoit that someone, identity unknown, has put in a claim for Sara's money. Benoit insists he has been framed.

Lionel Tall, a Lakota medicine man, writes to Stace to tell him an innocent man is being held for the murder of two women, Sara and Grace. Ballard, the section chief, tells Stace he is assigned to a case in Arizona; they have no jurisdiction in Indian territory.

Nola is suffering from the loss of her mother and is especially drained on the day Grace's body is ordered to be exhumed to confirm cause of death. At the sight of the empty grave, the gathered company are horrified. Nola does not improve, not having spoken since her mother died.

An auction for drill sites is coming up; the night before is a celebration in town. Louise Graycloud socializes with Jim Josh, telling him a man named Tex the Younger has found three kidnapped Indian girls, all pregnant. They had been given up for dead. Jim Josh walks home alone, singing sadly to himself. On the walk, he encounters Michael Horse, whom he asks for a lift. Horse obliges and is surprised to see a car parked outside of Jim's house.

Horse sees Louise and Floyd "half-staggering" out of a speakeasy. Horse tells Floyd that he has a bad feeling about John Thomas, a friend of Floyd's. But the pair are drunk and take little notice. At this point, John Stink suddenly collapses, to the surprise of everyone, and is pronounced dead by the doctor.

Hale tells another man, Mardy, that Walker is suicidal and that if he kills himself, his life insurance policy, which Hale holds, will be void. He suggests the pair should kill him instead.

John Thomas is driving drunkenly into town, shouting that he knows who killed Grace. Floyd wakes in the night with a bad feeling of his own and goes to John Thomas's house, only to find it empty.

John Stink is buried. Belle attends but is distracted by worry about Nola. Later that night, John Thomas is found on the side of the road, shot through the neck. Belle tells Louise she will no longer speak to her, as she does nothing but go to parties while everything falls apart.

A wildfire starts up and burns rapidly. Nola is terrified by this, and Belle finds her pressed to the wall in her bedroom, sobbing. One watcher comes in to comfort her, and Belle feels sure that this watcher is Nola's father.

John Stink rises up out of his grave that night. He believes he is a ghost; his dogs are very happy to see him,...

(The entire section contains 1181 words.)

Unlock This Study Guide Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this Mean Spirit study guide. You'll get access to all of the Mean Spirit content, as well as access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

  • Summary
  • Chapter Summaries
  • Themes
  • Characters
  • Critical Essays
  • Quotes
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

Part 1, Section 1


Part 1, Section 3

Explore Study Guides