Chapter 2 Summary

The land is now stark and frozen, and almost no one passes by during the winter. Any speck on the horizon is a curiosity to people sitting on their cabin porches. On the third day after the meat appeared, the family still has plenty to eat. The boy leaves the cabin to go to the woodpile, but at the doorway he stands motionless, even when his father tells him to shut the door. Three white men rattle across the porch and push their way inside the cabin.

The men are rough and accuse the boy’s father of stealing meat from the smokehouse as one of the men dumps the remaining ham onto the floor. The sheriff and his two deputies are clearly angry and disgusted at having to be here. One of the deputies says “stick out your hands, boy.” The boy starts to raise his hands; however, the deputy puts the handcuffs on father’s wrists. As the men prepare to leave, Sounder barks and begins growling and scratching at the cabin door. One of the men says father tore his overalls on the door hook of the smokehouse; threads from the hook match his overalls, and soon father will be in jail.

One man shoves the boy outside and commands him to hold his dog if he does not want them to shoot it. The boy drags Sounder into a corner, and the men prepare to ride off with their prisoner. The commotion and confusion are unsettling to the dog, but the boy manages to restrain Sounder. The men chain father to the wagon as Mother watches from the doorway. Sounder makes an awful, strangled noise and then drags the boy as he follows the wagon. One of the deputies shoots at the dog and Sounder falls. Finally mother speaks, telling her son to come inside. Sounder is still lying in the road and the boy feels sick.

As the boy brings in an armload of wood, he hears a sharp yelp from the road. He drops the wood and races to Sounder. He sees the dog struggling to run, but one shoulder and half the dog’s face have been shot. The boy is crying and calls out,...

(The entire section is 502 words.)