All Over but the Shoutin’ Chapters 16-22 Summary & Analysis

Rick Bragg

All Over but the Shoutin’

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All Over but the Shoutin’ Chapters 16-22 Summary & Analysis

Part Two: Lies to my mother 

Chapter 16 Summary: In the temple 

Here Bragg jumps forward in time about fifteen years to when he is an established journalist working for the New York Times.  He has had stories printed on the front page.  He has achieved success.  He is, however, haunted by his responsibility to his mother back home.  He only wants to tell her happy news about his life and work.  He never wants her to know that he is, in fact, often in very dangerous situations. 

Chapter 17 Summary: Saturdays in October 

In this chapter Bragg relatesthe story of his career:  “In the beginning.  I almost never wrote about killing, about misery.  I wrote about violence, yes, about huge men trying to pond each other into mush and scattered teeth.  What I wrote was football…” (134).  In Bragg’s part of the world, football was an obsession, exemplified by the legendary coach Bear Bryant and the Alabama Crimson Tide.  For people like him and his family, football is “the grandest of escapes from that life” (137).

The author also continues the tale of his rise in the profession of journalism.  He begins to write more serious stories, the first being about hunters who have killed their friends by accident.

Chapter 18 Summary: White Tuxedos 

This chapter tells the story ofBragg’s brief marriage.  He had a steady job, and his wifewas studying to be a social worker.  During their marriage, Bragg became more and more involved with his work, and his wife did not see a future for them together.  In particular, Bragg was not ready in his twenties to settle down and raise a family.  So they divorced. 

Chapter 19 Summary: The price tag on heaven 

Chapter 19 returns the focus to Bragg’s family.  He recallstrying to “buy my way in with a set of dentures” (148) for his mother.  He talks about his brothers, now grown men.  Sam was married and working hard to build a good life for his family.  His brother Mark was showing signs of the same alcohol addiction that had killed their father.  Bragg himself stayed away from alcohol, knowing…

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