Study Guide

A Northern Light Chapter 10

By Jennifer Donnelly

Chapter 10

plaintive

  • Still in April, right after Minnie gives birth, Mattie awakens at the kitchen table to Pa yelling at her about money. He has booze on his breath and anger in his face, and clearly, he's noticed her new composition notebook on the table beside her.
  • Pa grabs the notebook and rips out the poem, reads it, and throws it in the fire; Mattie says that she earned the money picking fiddleheads and selling them.
  • Angry that she had money and didn't use it to feed the family better food than mush, Pa hits Mattie across the face, sending her to the floor.
  • Mattie gets up and sees that Pa only earned half as much money as he was hoping he would for the syrup.
  • When he tries to apologize, Mattie brushes Pa off and tells him they have to plow the field the next day.

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