Study Guide

Alligator Bayou Chapter 6

By Donna Jo Napoli

Chapter 6

  • Cirone and Calo build a brand new porch for their house (like Dr. Hodge's), and Francesco tells them to paint it white. The boysprotest because white gets dirty quickly, so their uncle tells them to paint it white for the doctor's visit and then black the next day. Calo thinks this is stupid.
  • The talk with the doc goes fine, and all he really wanted was to set up rules for behavior for Francesco and Willy so that nothing bad happens.
  • On their new porch, all the guys eat strawberries, which are a big treat.
  • Francesco gives a strawberry to Bedda, his favorite goat; it makes Giuseppe mad.
  • Calo learns about Decoration Day, when America honors the men of the Civil War. It turns out the South only honors its own Confederate dead. Francesco thinks is stupid, but he understands that it means they'll sell a lot of food for the parties.
  • The boys are told to paint the porch tomorrow before going to work in the grocery, which really bums them out. But then they are given four pennies to spend, which makes them super excited.
  • Off they go into the dark to find some fun. Cirone wants to go by the slaughterhouse again, but Calo is freaked out by that panther they saw way back in Chapter 1. It was a panther, after all.
  • Passing the slaughterhouse, Calo notices that the town is different at night, and he thinks about how he loves the freedom of being alone without his uncles. He figures that since he is fourteen, he should have more freedom than he is given.
  • When they pass the sheriff's house, two big hounds bound up to the boys, and Calo gets spooked. Cirone pets one of them through the fence; this guy seems to be pretty brave.
  • While walking along, Calo and Cirone run into the boys that Calo met the other day. Charles and his buddies are picking up horse droppings and putting them in sacks, which confuses Calo and Cirone until they realize that these guys use it to fertilize their crops.
  • In order to join up with the group—and hopefully make some friends—Calo and Cirone pick up dung, too, adding it to the boys' sacks.
  • The boys go to an ice cream shop that is full and busy. Charles tells them they can't be served inside; instead, they have to put their money down out in back and get a scoop on newspaper.
  • Realizing that his cousin probably knew this already, Calo looks to see if he is upset about the fact that he can't have any ice cream, but Cirone doesn't show any emotion. Ever.
  • The reason Calo didn't know about picking up dung for the fields is that his uncles have horses that stay in stalls, and they have enough money to pay other people to gather and spread the manure.
  • After bending over for so long, Charles and his friends are sore and achy so they stretch out a bit, which reminds Cirone and Calo of a dance their uncle does, so Cirone begins dancing crazy in the street. They all join in, laughing and dancing, and they kind of become buddies.
  • Plans are made: the guys are going alligator hunting on Monday afternoon, and into the night.

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