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MonkeyNotes-Sounder by W.H. Armstrong
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Chapter 2

Summary

On the third day after the family had first enjoyed the ham, three uniformed officers arrive at the cabin; they force their way inside and arrest Father, accusing him of stealing a pig. The grease- stained tablecloth, the remnants of ham bone on the oak-slab, and the threads from Father's overalls found at the pigsty are all the evidence the officers need to judge the black man as guilty. They rudely chain "the thieven nigger" and drag him to their police wagon. When Sounder sees his master being mistreated, he barks ferociously and comes after the officers. The sheriff tells the boy to hold the dog back; he warns that if the dog comes closer, he will shoot the animal.


The boy tries to hold back Sounder with all his strength, but the dog becomes uncontrollable as he watches Father being forcefully thrust into the wagon. When it starts to move, Sounder lunges forward, knocking the boy down in the process. When the deputy sees the dog chasing the wagon, he shoots Sounder, whose body goes limp and falls to the ground. Although his own head is throbbing in pain, the boy wants to run to Sounder, but he cannot make himself move; he is afraid to find out if the dog is dead or alive. When he hears Sounder's agonizing cries, the boy forgets his own pain and races to his dog. Although Sounder is still alive, he is badly hurt. As the boy watches the blood ooze from the dog's head, he is moved to tears. Mother tells her son to leave the dog alone, for animals like to die in peace and solitude. The boy reluctantly obeys his mother; but he cannot stand it for long. He goes back out to help Sounder. He finds the dog's detached, blood-soaked ear, but Sounder is nowhere to be seen. He takes the ear home with him, believing it will bring him good luck.

That night the loneliness, which always pervades the cabin, is heavier than ever because of the absence of Father and Sounder. When the boy finally goes to bed, he puts the dog's ear under his pillow and makes a wish on it; he hopes that Sounder will survive and come home. It is an innocent and touching scene.

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