Whereas earlier in the book, Robert's Shaker ways only earn him mockery, his neighborly kindness to Mrs. Bascom, even after his unfortunate first meeting with her, earns him what is to be the adventure of a lifetime. The extreme contrast between Robert's first and second meetings with Mrs. Bascom is a testament to how much he has grown up. In the first meeting, Mrs. Bascom treats him like a child and chases him off of her property with a broom. In the second, she treats him as an adult and asks for his help with something that she is having trouble doing. After they finish the task, Mrs. Bascom invites Robert in for cookies, and while they are eating, Ira Long comes in. Mrs. Bascom introduces Robert to Ira, which is significant because it means that she trusts Robert. By the way Ira sits down and helps himself to cookies, it is obvious that he and Mrs. Bascom are at least a little more personal than what might be expected in a master/servant relationship, and Mrs. Bascom lets Robert see all of this. Considering how gossip gets around Learning, Mrs. Bascom must have been at least a little nervous about who sees her with Ira. The fact that Robert understands what is going on in the conversation between Mrs. Peck and Aunt Carrie is also indicative of his growing understanding of adult matters.

Considering the events that take place later in A Day No Pigs Would Die, it is important to look at how the Widow Bascom deals with the death of her husband. Shortly after his death, Robert sees her as nothing but a broom- wielding maniac. By the time of Robert's second interaction with her, she has moved on from her husband's death and is apparently finding happiness with her hired hand. Robert unknowingly discerns the message of this contrast, saying, "Having a big hired man like Ira around the house may be sinful. But I say the Widow Bascom is some improved." She has buried her dead and moved on with life, which is something that Robert will need to do very soon.


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