Study Guide

A Northern Light Chapter 18

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Chapter 18


  • Toward the end of April, Mattie is milking Daisy and whispering to the cow about her word of the day—sesquipedalian, which fittingly means long words. The cows are producing a ton of milk, and the girls are selling it, churning it, and feeding it to the animals.
  • Uncle Fifty is due back, but he hasn't arrived yet. Instead Mr. Eckler, the owner of the pickle boat, comes with news of Uncle Fifty: Pa's brother has skipped town, and the girls are sad and disappointed.
  • Mattie thinks her made-up word—recouriumphoration—is stupid, and feels bitter about having her hopes crushed.
  • When she comes in from straining the milk, Mattie realizes that her father is the only one who has stayed, the only one she can count on. And she feels ashamed for wanting to leave.

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