Light in August
Light in August Chapter 7 Summary
- McEachern asks Joe repeatedly if he has learned his catechism. Joe has not.
- McEachern gives Joe one hour to learn the catechism. When Joe still has not learned it, McEachern beats him ten times.
- McEachern takes Joe out to the stable and whips him every hour for not knowing his catechism. He beats him to the point where Joe collapses.
- Later, McEachern prays for forgiveness for hitting a child.
- Joe lies in bed, sulking in his room.
- Mrs. McEachern enters the room and offers him food; Joe rejects it. When she leaves the food, Joe leaps out of bed and kneels on the rug, eating with his hands like a dog.
- One day, when he's fourteen, Joe's friends kidnap a young black woman and take turns raping her in a barn.
- When it's Joe's turn, he does not rape her, but begins to beat her instead.
- Joe's friends run into the barn and pull him off the woman, and then he begins to fight them too.
- When he returns home, McEachern asks what he was fighting about. Joe says he doesn't know.
- One day McEachern notices that the cow he gave Joe to care for is missing. He also finds a brand new suit hidden in the barn.
- Joe claims the cow is down by the creek, so McEachern says they should go there to see.
- When they reach the creek, Joe claims that he sold the cow. McEachern asks what he did with the money and Joe claims that he gave it to Mrs. McEachern.
- Knowing he has been lied to, McEachern punches Joe in the face. Joe tells him not to hit him anymore.
- Back at the house, Mrs. McEachern lies for Joe, stating that he really did give her the money.
- McEachern calls her a liar and tells her to repent before God. Thankfully, he doesn't punch her in the face too.
- In flashback, the narration recalls how Mrs. McEachern cared for Joe when the couple first adopted him. Mrs. McEachern bathed and dressed him on his first night in the house.
- She created a secret world between them – bringing him food after his beatings and hiding money in his bedroom – in order to secure Joe's trust. But these actions only disgusted Joe, because he felt Mrs. McEachern was trying to make him cry so that she could control him.
People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...
Noodle's College Search