Study Guide

Angle of Repose Part 7, Chapter 5

By Wallace Stegner

Part 7, Chapter 5

  • It's now 1887. Susan is alone in the house at night because Oliver is at a meeting for his project.
  • But, Oliver should have been back a long time ago—which could either be really good or really bad. With nothing else to do, Susan leaves the house, crossing the bridge and sitting in a field.
  • Suddenly, Susan hears "a musical, drawn-out howling" (7.5.23). Is it a wolf? A coyote? An alien? Actually, it's none of the above—it's Oliver, singing as he rides his horse.
  • Susan jumps out and surprises Oliver when he gets closer; that stops his singing real quick. He looks pretty embarrassed, too.
  • Based on his happy singing, Susan assumes that Oliver's got good news. That's a big nope, replies Oliver. That's when Susan realizes the real reason behind this strange cheerfulness: Oliver's drunk.
  • In case you didn't know, there's nothing Susan hates more than a drunk. Looks like Oliver will be sleeping in the shack tonight.