Apr 24, Josiah rated it really liked it I was very pleasantly surprised by this book not that the story itself strikes a pleasant tone. In many years I would have quickly agreed that this is the best choice for the Newbery Medal, but forI would actually give the award to John D.
Armstrongpublished in It is the story of an African-American boy living with his sharecropper family. Although the family's difficulties increase when the father is imprisoned for stealing a ham from work, the boy still hungers for an education.
The author refers to the various characters by their relationship or their role in the story. The setting is also ambiguous. The author notes prisoners were hauled in "mule-drawn wagons", and the mention of chain gangs places an upper limit to the story of when the practice ended.
The boy hears his father may be in Bartowand later Gilmer counties, but the author does not specify where the boy lives.
Since the boy is assured his father would not be taken out of state, and because the ground freezes, we are left to assume the family lives in the counties around northern Georgia or northwestern South Carolina.
Sounder won the Newbery Award inand was made into a major motion picture in Plot summary[ edit ] The black sharecropper's family is poor and hungry.
The father and his dog, Sounder, go hunting each night, but the hunting is poor. The family subsists on fried corn mush, biscuits, and milk gravy until one morning they wake up to the smell of boiling ham.
They feast for three days, but finally the sheriff and two of his deputies burst into the cabin and arrest the father. Sounder runs after them, and one of the deputies shoots him with a shotgun.
The arrested man's son goes looking for Sounder, but cannot find him anywhere. Returning to the scene of the shooting, the boy finds a part of Sounder's ear. He puts the ear under his pillow that night, but loses it under the cabin the next day while crawling in the dirt looking for the dog.
While his mother cautions him not to "be all hope", the boy searches the surrounding countryside for the dog every day for weeks. In the father's absence, the family survives on the money the mother makes by selling cracked walnuts. The boy helps to look after his three younger siblings, and experiences the intense loneliness of the cabin.
For Christmas, the boy's mother makes a four-layer cake for him to take to his father in jail. On the way, the boy is nervous about being stopped and made fun of by the townspeople. When he arrives, he has to wait and the jail guard treats him rudely. Finally the boy is admitted, and the guard breaks the cake into pieces with his hands, saying he suspects it could hide something which could help the boy's father escape.
The boy gives the mangled cake to his father anyway and tells his father that Sounder might not be dead. Their conversation is strained and difficult. The father tells the boy not to come back to the jail. The boy feels guilty that he has grieved his father by not acting "perkish", as his mother had told him to.
He fantasizes about the guard coming to a violent end. In the morning, the boy awakes to the sound of faint whining, goes outside, and finds Sounder standing there. The dog can only use three of its legs and has only one ear and one eye, and no longer barks.Sounder Book Summary and Study Guide.
William H. Armstrong Booklist William H. Armstrong Message Board. Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Sounder; A young African American boy and his family are living in poverty in the South during the 19th century.
The young boy's father is a sharecropper and the family is struggling through hard times. The Powerful Newbery Award-Winning Classic.
A landmark in children's literature, winner of the Newbery Medal, and the basis of an acclaimed film, Sounder traces the keen sorrow and the abiding faith of a poor African-American boy in the 19th-century South. The boy's father is a sharecropper, struggling to feed his family in hard times.
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Sounder by William H. Armstrong career there, the headmaster urged him to write a book about how to study, telling Armstrong that he had “the best organized, best disciplined, best prepared students in the school.” That suggestion resulted in Armstrong’s ﬁrst book, Study Is Hard 8.
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Sounder is the dog's name, and it is the only name used in the book. How did the dog get that name, and what did it say about him? Why do you think the author chose not to name the father, mother, boy, teacher, or any other character?