William Armstrong’s Novel, Sounder

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Chapters 1-2 Summary William Armstrong’s novel, Sounder, takes place in the home of a Southern American sharecropper in the nineteenth century. In the beginning of the book, it describes an image of the father petting his dog, Sounder, in the pouch. The boy asks his father where he first got Sounder. The father explains how Sounder came to him along the road when he was a pup. The boy loves Sounder and thinks no other animal in the world can replace him. He thinks the most impressive thing about Sounder is its bark. It echoes so loudly, clearly, and musically that everyone in the neighborhood can hear it. Then the father tells the boy that they will go hunting with Sounder if it is not windy tonight. After the conversation, the father and the boy go inside where the boy’s mother prepared dinner. The father, the mother, the boy, and three younger children eat together. It is windy after dinner, so the father goes hunt by himself without Sounder and the boy. The mother then shells kernels of walnuts for extra money for the rest of the evening. The boy, with nothing to do, starts dreaming about the Bible’s story his mother often tells him. He dreams about having a flood and all the houses are floating on water then fall asleep. When he wakes up, he notices something he has only smelled twice in his life, ham. The boy notices that his mother is humming as well; she always hums when she is worried. After eating the ham for breakfast, his mother begins mending his father’s overall. At night, the boy feels lonely and keeps wishing to learn to read. He always wishes he can read so he won’t be lonely all the time. After a few days, the family is still eating from the ham bone. At dusk, three white sheriffs enter the cabin and arrest the f... ... middle of paper ... ... packs the boy sandwiches for the journey. The boy has seen people in striped suits riding in wagons to hard labor before, so he knows what he is looking for. He begins wondering around trying to find men in striped suits working. His journey was a failure; however, he ends up finding newspapers and magazines to practice his reading. The stories in the papers are never happy and they made him afraid. He thinks the stories from the Bible that his mother tells him are stories best. He reminisces how his mother tells him stories from the Bible about Joseph and David. Every time he goes searching for his father he remembers the story about King David hearing the wind and knowing that God is always near. The boy wasn’t afraid with David near. As he reminisces, he falls asleep and he thought he heard Sounder rising out of his great throat, riding the mist of the lowlands.
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