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Sounder

  • Study Guide
Characters

The father

Characters The father

The boy's father is not actually central to the plot of this book; however, his absence is a major plot detail. How the boy reacts in the wake of his father's arrest and conviction is the single, most important circumstance around which the book revolves. The removal of his father suddenly makes the man of the house who has to assume all kinds of responsibilities that he never considered before. We do not actually learn a lot about the father, except that he too is a stoic character who took the responsibility of providing for his family so seriously that he risked his freedom and life. His decision to tell his son never to visit him again in jail is our only real glimpse into his emotions: seeing the boy was too difficult for the father, and the father knew it was just as difficult for the boy. The father, always the caretaker, seeks to avoid that situation in the future, and, hence, he asks the boy not to visit him again. Like his dog, the boy's father has a strong sense of home and was resolved to get there no matter what. When the father returns, he is half-broken and half-beaten physically. There is an immediate distinction between his fate and his son's whose future has actually improved since the time the father has been away. The boy's success is the best gift and reassurance that his father did a good job.