Study Guide

Arnold Green in A Year Down Yonder

By Richard Peck

Arnold Green

It's no surprise that when Grandma Dowdel picks up a boarder at her house, it turns out to be someone who is every bit as eccentric as she is.

Arnold Green is an artist who has come from New York City to paint the post office under a government contract, and he's just trying to make enough money to get by. He's not exactly jumping up and down to be in such a small town, and he practically chokes when Grandma Dowdel suggests that he settle down here:

"You thinking about getting married and settling down in these parts?" 

He staggered back from the screen door and turned. "In these parts?" He looked horrified. His hair nearly stood on end. (6.56-57)

Arnold Green spends his time painting in the attic, and causes quite the small town uproar when it's revealed that he's been painting Maxine Patch (the postmistress) in the nude. That's not something that you see every day in this small, sleepy town. But despite his "bad boy" status, Arnold Green ends up falling in love with Mary Alice's sweet, prim teacher Miss Butler. They share an interest in the arts and literature:

For the rest of the month until he went back to New York, most evenings found Arnold Green strolling to the Noah Atterberrys'. Miss Butler roomed there. They sat out on the porch swing in full view. At the time I supposed they discussed art and poetry and Paris. (6.161)

Arnold Green may be an artist from New York City, but that doesn't mean he's a hedonistic jerk. He totally settles down once he finds Miss Butler, and their romance continues even after he goes back to the Big Apple.