Study Guide

Seedfolks Fences

By Paul Fleischman

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The garden on Gibb Street may be a community garden, but that doesn't mean everyone always gets along. In fact, a decent amount of Seedfolks is about how tough it is for some folks to make friends with their neighbors.

Apparently, these people have been reading some Robert Frost because, while they're having trouble getting along, some of them put up fences around their plants. Cue tension.

These fences are a reminder that some characters don't trust their neighbors not to steal their fruits and veggies. And we're not the only ones who notice this: Sam, in particular, isn't happy to see fences going up in the community garden. Instead of coming together, the garden is becoming a space where people stake out their own ground:

Some people started worrying, looking ahead to ripe beans and tomatoes and thinking about strangers coming in. That week, a man put chicken wire around his garden, five feet high, complete with a little gate and padlock. The week after that someone built a board fence. Then came the first KEEP OUT sign. Then, the crowning achievement—barbed wire. (6.7)

Even worse, the enclosures are getting pretty dangerous. Did you notice how the fences get more and more aggressive over time? Sure, chicken wire is rather flexible, but barbed wire could really hurt someone. These fences aren't kidding around—they mean business.

And that's that, Shmoopers. Even in a community garden, there are still going to be some conflicts. But what are fences for, if not to be jumped?

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