Shades of Gray

by Carolyn Reeder

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What does Uncle Jed do when asked for help in chapter 9 of Shades of Gray?

Quick answer:

When the miller asks Uncle Jed for help in chapter 9 of Shades of Grey, Jed says that he will go to the mill tomorrow and act as if none of the previous unpleasantness had ever happened. Earlier on, Jed had offered to help repair the mill, but Tom Riley had made it clear that his help wasn't appreciated. But Jed's such a decent man that this doesn't deter him from responding positively to the miller's request for help.

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Because Uncle Jed didn't sign up to fight for the Confederacy, a number of folks in town are not prepared to give him the time of day. They think he's a coward who hid from the conscription agents.

One of these folks is Tom Riley, who, in chapter 8 of Shades of Gray, makes it abundantly clear of what he thinks of Uncle Jed when Jed offers to help fix a broken mill:

Don't guess we need your help, but I reckon we could use the boy.

Jed responds by quietly asking Tom to let him know if he changes his mind. As was amply demonstrated by his unwillingness to fight in the Civil War, Jed is not a man of violence. And so his response to Tom's insult is one of calm and sweet reasonableness. Jed's help in fixing the broken mill may not be appreciated right now, but he's more than willing to help out should Luke Brown the miller call for him.

And call for him he does. Almost a week later, Tom Riley approaches Jed, carrying a letter from Luke asking for his help in fixing the mill. Many people in Jed's position would've turned down the request after being treated so badly the first time around. But Jed's not like that; he's a decent man who doesn't bear grudges. So he resolves to return to the mill the following day and act as if none of the previous unpleasantness had ever happened.

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