The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

by David Wroblewski

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Part 3, Chapters 1-2 Summary

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Edgar awakens in the morning, finding himself still in the kennel. The smells overpower him, and he only gradually remembers the events of the night before. He steps outside and finds that the rain has stopped. He finds the syringe, shattered in a puddle. He takes the pieces and goes up the road to throw them into an old silo. He returns home, circling the house, not wanting to go in yet. He climbs up into a tree, where he watches the house. He can see the window over the kitchen sink, the curtains parted. He sees Almondine come into the kitchen, apparently all right from her fight with Epi. He sees his mother come out from the bedroom, with Claude coming soon behind her. Claude sits in Gar’s chair to drink his coffee. Edgar is afraid that he will see Claude and his mother kiss. Claude pets Almondine, and then rises to wash out his cup at the sink. He looks out the kitchen window and sees Edgar up in the tree. Claude realizes that Edgar is watching him, so he steps back. He wonders if this is a prank, but soon he wonders what else Edgar saw. He looks at Edgar and gives him an awkward smile.

Edgar climbs down the tree and goes into the barn, where his mother and Almondine had just entered. Trudy asks him questions about why he is soaking wet. Edgar thinks about telling her, but he decides not to. He begins the tasks of the day, and by midmorning he begins to wonder if the previous night’s events had really happened. At noon he goes up to the hay mow and goes to sleep. He dreams of seeing his father working down in the kennel. Smoke rises up through the ceiling beams. As Edgar goes down the stairs, his father keeps working, ignoring the smoke.

That night, Edgar watches as his mother and Claude fix dinner together like an old married couple. He asks Trudy if she believes that there is a heaven or hell. She replies that she does not believe in the Christian idea of an afterlife, but she believes that whatever people believe is all right for them. She reminds him that he needs to get the new litter named. He becomes unaccountably angry and tells her that he is tired to working in the kennel. He wants to go somewhere where there is not the everlasting cleaning and where they can be together, just the two of them. Trudy sees what he is getting at and tells him that Claude and Gar’s fighting was over old arguments. She wants Edgar to give Claude a chance. Edgar does not believe that his mother is thinking about Claude just four months after Gar’s death. Trudy tells Edgar that Claude will be moving in for a while, but Edgar has a feeling it will be permanent. After supper, Edgar goes outside and thinks about the autopsy report of his father’s death. He knows now that it was not an aneurysm. He does not know what to do with his discovery of the true cause of Gar’s death.

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Part 2, Chapters 7-8 Summary


Part 3, Chapters 3-4 Summary