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Free Study Guide-When The Legends Die by Hal Borland- Free Book Notes
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CHAPTER SUMMARIES AND NOTES

CHAPTER 11

Summary

Tom decides to go in to town to trade some of his baskets for a new blanket. Not knowing any better, he takes his bear into Pagosa with him. The people in town are surprised, scared, and angry to see the bear and cause a great commotion. Blue Elk is summoned to converse with Tom, who can only speak in the Ute language. The boy foolishly reveals to him that his mother has passed away. When the preacher arrives on the scene, he tells Blue Elk that Tom needs to be brought to live in Pagosa so he can become civilized, go to school, and behave like a baptized person. He even pays Blue Elk to bring the boy to town to live.

After Tom does his trading in the store, Thatcher helps him to fend off the townspeople, who are trying to attack and hurt his bear. Tom finally manages to escape, but Blue Elk is secretly following him. He trails him all the way to Tomís lodge.


Notes

Wanting a new blanket, Tom decides to visit Pagosa and naively takes his bear along. The townspeople are shocked at the sight of the bear and want to kill it. Fortunately, Jim Thatcher, the shopkeeper, recognizes Tom and comes to his aid. Since Tom cannot speak English, he is unable to explain that the bear is his pet. Finally, Blue Elk is summoned to speak to Tom in Ute.

The preacher, who baptized the boy, feels that Tom should be brought to Pagosa to live and attend school. He pays Blue Elk to bring Tom to town permanently. Happy to make a quick buck, Blue Elk follows Tom when he departs; in spite of the boyís efforts to cover his trial, Blue Elk succeeds in trailing him all the way to the lodge.

CHAPTER 12

Summary

Blue Elk reaches the lodge, which brings back fond memories of his childhood for him. When he approaches Tom, the boy reacts in a somewhat hostile manner and does not answer all his questions. Blue Elk tries to dictate how Tom should live his life, but the boy refuses to listen. He does, however, tell him about everything that has happened since his father died.

Blue Elk reminisces about the old life. With tears in his eyes, he sings a song of mourning for the old people and the old days. He then tries to explain to Tom that the old days have ended and that he should come with him to live in town. There he can teach the people of the old ways that they have forgotten. Tom finally agrees to go with him if he can take his bear cub.

Notes

In this chapter, a different side of Blue Elk is seen. Although he has abandoned the old Indian ways for his life in town, he proves he still has an Indian heart as he sings his mournful song for the old days and the old people. In fact, he has to fight against his heartís urge to return to a life in the wild, like Tom has been living. He comes across as a man who has lost his identity, a symbol of a "Lost Generation."

In the end, Blue Elkís greed proves to be his strongest urge. He tells Tom that the people in Ignacio have forgotten the old songs and the old ways and that it is his duty to return with him to town so that he can educate the Indians there. In the end, Blue Elk convinces Tom to leave his lodge to live in town, for he wants to collect the money that the preacher has offered. Blue Elk also sells the contents of Tomís lodge and pockets the money for himself.

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