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William Armstrong


Key Facts

full title ·  Sounder

author ·  William Armstrong

type of work ·  Novel

genre ·  Young adult novel

language ·  English

time and place written ·  1969, Virginia

date of first publication · 1969

publisher ·  HarperCollins

narrator ·  Anonymous, external voice

point of view ·  The point of view is third person, reflecting the point of view mostly of the boy.

tone ·  The tone is serious and grave, even dismal at times. Sometimes the tone shifts and takes a spiritual voice.

tense ·  Past tense

setting (time) ·  The book takes place in the nineteenth century.

setting (place) ·  The home of a Southern American sharecropper

protagonist ·  The boy

major conflict ·  The arrest of the boy's father and the disappearance of Sounder.

rising action ·  The boy searches for his father and the boy encounters the teacher.

climax ·  The boy leaves the family's cabin to live with the teacher; the father comes home.

falling action ·  The boy's father dies; Sounder dies.

themes ·  The obscuring and dissolving of identity; loss of innocence/childhood; Bible stories as a context for real life; things left behind

motifs ·  Loneliness; optimism; literacy

symbols · The hunting bag; the fence

foreshadowing ·  Sounder comes home injured; the boy talks about people in the Bible always finding that for which they are looking; the boy findsthe book in the trash.

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