Childhood Invisibility Chapter Summaries

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One of the worst things about childhood is how suddenly it can be over. (Transition to book description) (Plot summary)
Throughout the novel, Joe remains focused on finding and punishing the attacker, regardless of how those around him feel. However, as the story progresses, his motivations shift from his desire to return to his happy childhood, to his need to protect his loved ones.

(Topic sentence/lead in)In search of justice for his mother, Joe decides to conduct his own investigation of the attack. After visiting the round house to collect evidence, he returns home to his father discussing his mother’s poor state. When Joe’s father goes upstairs without acknowledging or checking on him, he becomes angry and upset -- (quote setup), “with
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When he attempts to have a conversation with her about the garden he’s planting for her, he’s ignored. He persists, but she refuses to interact with him. In desperation, he lashes out, threatening to kill the man who attacked his mother. She finally reacts by commanding him to not get involved. He then tries to present his father with the gas can he found by the round house, but instead of being praised, he is scolded once again. Joe’s anger towards the lack of justice for his mother immediately resurfaces, and he thinks to himself, “I had worked myself into a fury now, or planted myself into one with every puny hothouse plant that would not succeed in gaining my mother's attention” (Erdrich 93). Joe is trying to be the best son he can be by helping out, whether it be in the garden or the investigation. However, his parents don’t react as expected, causing him more anger and frustration. He is still desperate for the attention and admiration of his parents, and he hopes that if the attacker is caught or killed, his life will go back to normal. At this time, he is motivated out of selfish interests, not because he is a bad person, but because he’s handling the situation the only way he knows how - with the outlook and maturity of a …show more content…
I won’t let him. I will be the one to stop him. Her determination terrified me... if my mother went after Lark he’d kill her. I knew this” (Erdrich 248). Now, Joe and his mother have reversed roles. She is vengeful and wants to go after Lark, while Joe doesn’t want her to because he fears for her safety. In order to protect her, he wants to take things into his own hands, by killing Lark before his mother encounters him again. Now, instead of trying to bring back the past through revenge, he’s going after Lark so that his family can have a safer future. This shift in motivation shows how Joe has matured from a naive, frustrated, and nostalgic child into a young man that just wants the best for his family and his future. However, he still fails to take his parents’ feelings into account, and, like a parent, assumes he knows what’s best for them. He also still retains the recklessness of youth, which leads him to take very drastic actions in order to secure

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