Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version
CHAPTER SUMMARIES WITH NOTES
Emil Sinclair is ten years old. He goes to a Latin school. The atmosphere in his home is warm and relaxed. He talks of two different realms, which are two different worlds to him. They are the "world of darkness" and the "world of light". The world of light is the world of his parents wherein hymns are sung and Christmas is celebrated. It is a realm of order, cleanliness, washed hands and politeness. The other realm is a world of crime, prisons, ghost stories, rumors and all that is undesirable. The two realms are often mixed with each other. Lina, the servant girl is polite and sings hymns. She keeps her hands washed. But when she argues with the neighborhood women in the butcher shop she belongs to a different realm altogether. Sinclair certainly wished to belong to the realm of light to which his parents and sisters belong.
One day when Sinclair is roaming with the neighborhood boys, he meets a boy named Franz Kromer who is big and bossy. The boys obey his orders. Sinclair is afraid that he may be disliked by him and he may be disowned and deserted by the other boys too. Finally, he tells a story invented by himself. It is a tale that he had stolen a sack full of apples from a garden near the mill. To convince Kromer, he swears "By god and the grace of my soul" that the story is true.
As Sinclair goes home, Kromer threatens to reveal the theft to the owner of the garden, as he will be given two marks for it. Sinclair pleads him not to do so. He offers him his silver watch, which Kromer scornfully refuses, threatening that he can complain to the police and that he is on good terms with the Sergeant. He, however, offers to keep the secret to himself if Sinclair gives him two marks. Sinclair does not have that much money. He is very upset. Kromer gives him time till next day.
Sinclair is very upset as though his life is wrecked. The beautiful world of his parents is lost to him. He is in an alien world threatened by an enemy. He has shaken hands with the devil. He yearns to reveal his sin to his parents and ask for forgiveness, but is not able to do so. He pretended to be a hero and has to bear the consequences. While he is afraid, his family keeps treating him like a child.
Sinclair tries to reflect on what he will do the next day, but is unable to decide. He is busy reorganizing the living room. He is shackled from within and tied to the world outside. He feels God's grace is no longer with him.
Sinclair is unable to pay the money to Kromer. So Kromer tortures him and also uses him by making him run errands for his father. Sometimes he makes him hop on one leg for ten minutes or pin a scrap of paper on the coat of a passer-by.
On many nights, Sinclair has dreams of these tortures and he sweats profusely. He becomes ill and his mother senses that something is wrong. One night, she brings a chocolate for him, but he says that he does not want anything. He is reminded of the former years when he had been a good boy and received such rewards. He is extremely disturbed. His condition is like madness amidst the organized, peaceful house. He does not participate in the life of others. He is cold to his father who is often irritated and inquires what the matter is.