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Tee Jack, the owner of a local bar/general store on the bayou, narrates this chapter. Three customers are currently in the bar: a man from Mississippi come to see the football game; a quiet stranger; and Jack Marshall, owner of the Marshall Plantation. Jack Marshall comes to the bar each afternoon to drink, but speaks infrequently to any of the Cajun crowd. Tee Jack believes that Jack is trying to drink his family's history away. Tee Jack has heard about Beau's murder but says nothing until another local customer named Robert appears. Robert and Tee Jack start loudly discussing Beau's murder and speculating on the possibility of a lynching. Jack Marshall admits that Beau is dead, but acts uninterested. Suddenly the customer who is a quiet stranger speaks up and tells the other men that the days of lynching are over. Tee Jack is surprised at this stranger's reproof.
Suddenly Luke Wilson arrives with four other men, all of whom work at the local cement factory. Luke Wilson leads this small crew in regular actions against local blacks. Tee Jack knows that they put snakes in black churches, and turn over black school buses. Luke orders a bottle of whisky and some Cokes. He then approaches Jack Marshall and asks about the trouble on the plantation. Marshall looks severely displeased to be speaking to someone of Luke Wilson's quality. When Luke asks Marshall if Marshall is going to do something about one his "niggers" killing a white man, Marshall does not respond. Luke suggests that he will do it for Marshall. He also tells everyone that Fix is going to do nothing because of "his all-American son." Tee Jack tells Luke that he must be lying because Fix has always done something. When Luke grows angry at being called a liar, Tee Jack offers to buy their first bottle of whisky. As Luke and his crew start mixing their drinks together, Tee Jack notices that the ice is getting dirty since those men infrequently wash their hands despite the nature of their work.
The quiet stranger criticizes Luke Wilson's ideas and techniques, and Luke and his crew get very angry. This stranger turns out to be a professor at Southwestern Louisiana University who recently moved there from Texas, who, among other things, teaches black writing. As Jack Marshall gets up to leave, the professor begs him to stop what might happen on his land. Marshall looks annoyed. He tells the professor to go back to Texas if he cannot take it. Soon after, Luke and his crew physically force the professor to leave. They then order another bottle of whisky in order to get ready for that evening's lynching. As all the other customers have left the store, Tee Jack feels slightly scared left alone with the Luke's crew, since he knows that they would turn violent on him in a second.
Rooster, formally known as Albert Jackson, narrates this chapter. Back on the plantation, Sheriff Mapes suddenly calls everyone together and appears to be in a good mood. He tells them that Fix is not coming. No one believes him. Mapes laughs and explains that everyone there, including himself, was thinking of what Fix would have done thirty years ago, but times have changed. These days Fix's son helps racial relations by being part of a biracial football duo called Salt and Pepper. The blacks once wanted racial harmony and now that it exists, Fix is not coming and they will not have a chance for revenge.
Mapes then asks Mathu if he is ready and Mathu says yes. Everyone protests. Clatoo begs the Sheriff for a few minutes to speak with Mathu inside. The Sheriff agrees. When Candy tries to come inside, Clatoo tells her that she is not invited because it is just for the men. She grows furious and will not move no matter what Mathu says to her. In her anger, she threatens to evict everyone from the plantation. Mapes laughs and points out that Candy only acts like a savior when everyone obeys and pays attention to her. Eventually, Lou pulls Candy off the top of the stairs, physically carries her through the yard, and throws her in her car.
Once inside, Clatoo asks everyone what the men should do: fight, go downtown, or go home. The men argue about these options for a while. Mathu then quiets everyone and tells them that they have already done enough. At the beginning of the day, he thought that maybe they were not all strong men since they had spent their lives running, but already he sees that he was wrong. They already have proved themselves and should now just go home and let justice takes its course. Mathu explains that the day has changed him too. Before he was just a cold- hearted man who looked down on them, since he believed himself to be better, but now he has seen how he was wrong. The men have respected and known Mathu for many years, so his statement is powerful. Just as he is getting ready to leave the cabin, however, a voice calls from the kitchen telling him to stop. It is Charlie. He tells Mathu, his godfather or "Parrain," that Mathu should not have go. He tells everyone else to go get the Sheriff.
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2 out of 49 people found this helpful
You will not be able to follow this book at all. Im sorry if you have to read this
15 out of 26 people found this helpful
I recommend not over-analyzing this novel, written to meet a 1980s multiculturalist standard less tilted than today’s. Charlie appears borderline disabled intellectually, which gives Beau an opening to chase him, a thing Beau otherwise couldn’t have done without repercussions. That Candy likes “her people” (Mathu and the other Marshall farmhands) was necessary then but condemned as patronizing today. The attempted lynching and shootout are implausible after mid-1960s and holding a trial only days after a crime hasn’t been seen sinc
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