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Sounder

  • Study Guide
Main Ideas

Key Facts

Main Ideas 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.