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Sounder, William H. Armstrong

This powerful novel provides a picture of the harsh realities of segregation in the rural South of the early 1900s. An African American sharecropper's family faces a daily struggle to survive. Their lives become even more difficult when the father is jailed for stealing food, and the family's hunting dog, Sounder, is shot and maimed while trying to protect his master. The sharecropper's eldest son takes on the responsibility of providing for the family while struggling with his own anger, loneliness, and hunger for education. During his journey to find his father, the boy discovers inner strength and self-reliance and learns that the compassion of one person can bring hope to a life full of despair.

Related Readings

"The Circuit"—short story by Francisco Jiménez

"I'll Walk the Tightrope"—poem by Margaret Danner

"The White Dog"—short story by April J. Miller

"Frisk, the Cat with Many Lives"—nonfiction by James Herriot

"Words Like Freedom," "History," and "Question and Answer"—poems by Langston Hughes

Study Guide (PDF)


McGraw-Hill / Glencoe