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Dicey's Song

Dicey's Song


by Cynthia Voigt

Dicey's Song Chapter 2 Summary

  • Dicey’s in Mr. Chappelle’s English class, where it’s hot and boring. They’ve been diagramming sentences, which she liked, but now Mr. Chappelle says they’re going to read some stories.
  • He asks the class about conflict in literature, and the class starts naming different kinds of conflict, which Dicey finds kind of ridiculous until Mina Smiths speaks.
  • Mina, who is outspoken and popular, mentions conflict between individual and society. The more Mina elaborates, the funnier Dicey finds it, and she finally laughs.
  • Mr. Chappelle isn’t down with the laughter, so he asks Dicey to name a kind of conflict. Dicey suggests conflict between a person and himself. One of the other girls says yeah, like when you can’t decide between two boys.
  • Annoyed with the girl's shallow response, Dicey looks out the window and sees… Gram walking out of the building. Gram? What's she doing there? 
  • After English class and home ec are over, Dicey leaves school to go to work. 
  • Jeff is outside playing the guitar. It’s our first sensitive-musician boy sighting! He’s playing the song "When First Unto This Country," which was recorded by, amongst other people, The Grateful Dead.
  • While Dicey’s pretty mesmerized and wants to listen to him play, she also knows that the food’s not going to put itself on the table, so she rides off to work.
  • Dicey realizes while cleaning the grocery store that Millie’s pretty awesome at cutting meat. Hey, everybody's got something to contribute. 
  • Dicey goes home after work to get crackin' on the boat, and while she’s in the barn scraping paint, Sammy comes out to bug her. He wants to help, but Dicey wants to be alone. 
  • Sammy’s response is to attempt to help Dicey with the boat, which results in his dumping a big box of screws on the ground. Dicey yells at him to pick them up, and he does. It's clear she’s worried about every little misstep her siblings make, because she doesn’t want Gram to kick them out.
  • After dinner, Dicey tries to help Maybeth with fractions again by cutting up an apple, but Maybeth still doesn’t get it. She does, however, eat the apple. 
  • Dicey teaches Maybeth what she remembers of the song Jeff was singing that afternoon. Maybeth catches on quickly. 
  • Gram tells the kids that she met with Maybeth’s music teacher, and the teacher, Mr. Lingerle, wants to give Maybeth lessons because she’s so talented. He offered to teach her for five bucks a lesson.
  • Dicey does the math and figures out that if she gives each kid 50 cents a week for allowance and gives Gram the rest of her earnings, Gram can pay for the lessons. 
  • James mentions that he’s writing a report about pilgrims for the parent-teacher conference in three weeks. Gram is surprised by the idea of conferences, but she’s down with it. 
  • Even though Dicey fishes, Gram won’t admit to having been at Dicey’s school that day.
  • Two days later, Dicey is at school again, and they have to do a partner project in science. Because there are 37 kids in the class, Dicey figures she’ll be the one without a partner, but Mina Smiths comes and claims her. Dicey's surprised, but Mina tells Dicey she wants to be partners because they’re the smartest ones in class, so Dicey agrees.
  • That afternoon, she goes home and finds that Gram has dug out some old boys’ shirts and tailored them to fit Dicey. Dicey asks where she got them, and Gram says the attic.
  • Dicey didn’t know Gram had an attic, but James is all over it. He asks if that’s what the trap door in the ceiling is all about, and Gram says yes. He wants more information, but Gram’s not coughing up the scoop.
  • In other news, James has gotten a paper route that day. Sammy’s psyched and wants to help. 
  • Gram, Maybeth, Sammy, and James start playing games and doing homework, and Dicey realizes they don’t need her for anything, so she goes out to work on the boat. She feels simultaneously relieved and uncomfortable—after all, if the little kids don’t need her, what exactly is her purpose in life?

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