The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

by David Wroblewski

Start Free Trial

Part 1, Chapters 7-8 Summary

Download PDF PDF Page Citation Cite Share Link Share

Gar tells Edgar that when Iris has puppies, that litter will be all his. Edgar will be responsible for the puppies' whelping (birth), feeding, training, and placement in new homes. Edgar is excited and grateful for the opportunity. School is almost out, so he hopes that Iris will wait until summer vacation begins.

On Saturday, the first day of vacation, Edgar watches Iris closely. She paces and seems restless all day. Edgar wants to stay with her, but Gar tells him that this will make her nervous and might cause her to eat her puppies in order to keep them from others. Edgar checks on her every half hour, but there is no progress all day. After supper, Gar tells Edgar to gather up the needed supplies and arrange them around the whelping room. Iris eventually gives birth to her first puppy. Edgar carefully washes and dries it, then places it where Iris can reach it. Puppies arrive at about the rate of one every half hour. After three or four puppies are born, Iris gives birth to a stillborn. Gar assures Edgar that he did nothing wrong: sometimes a puppy just is not strong enough to withstand the birthing process. When Iris is finished, there are three females and four males. Edgar is happy but exhausted. He eats his supper then returns to the kennel to spend the night there, watching over Iris and her new litter.

By October, another litter has arrived, but this one is Claude’s to care for. The family spends time playing cards, with a friendly rivalry between the two Sawtelle brothers on one side, and Edgar and Trudy on the other. Edgar has managed to find appropriate names for all the puppies, his source being the dictionary. In the margin of the dictionary, Edgar records each puppy’s number and birth date.

The barn roof has long been repaired, and Edgar spends time walking in the autumn woods, hoping to see some sign of Forte, the stray dog. Gar, Claude, and Edgar go out to chop wood for the winter. Edgar is eager to drive the tractor. As they reach the timber spot, it begins to rain. Claude insists on continuing, despite Gar’s objections that the rain will damage the chain saw, as well as make it more dangerous as the saw hits the wet wood. Gar becomes irate and leaves with Edgar. Claude returns later with the wood and carefully cleans the saw. Claude and Gar become increasingly belligerent toward each other.

On the television news, Edgar hears about the Starchild Colony, which is a commune on the Canadian side of Lake Superior. He is enthralled with Alexandra Honeywell, who serves as an unofficial spokesperson for the commune. Edgar rushes to the TV every time she is on. After Thanksgiving, Edgar awakens in the night to hear Gar and Claude fighting, with Gar trying to keep the truck keys from Claude. Eventually, Gar gives up and Claude drives off into the night.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

Part 1, Chapters 5-6 Summary


Part 1, Chapters 9-10 Summary