Black Swan Green Chapters 4-5 Summary & Analysis

David Mitchell

Black Swan Green

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Black Swan Green Chapters 4-5 Summary & Analysis

Chapter Four Summary: Bridle Path

Jason enjoys a rare day at home alone by doing the things he is normally forbidden from doing: messing around in his dad’s office, listening to his sister’s records and raiding the kitchen for snacks.

Then, spotting a flock of birds out the window, he decides to have his own adventure and follow the estate’s bridle path down to wherever it ends. He stops to enjoy the beauty of a garden and is nearly attacked by three Dobermans and scolded by their owner. Further on, he comes across some of his classmates, who are waiting for a fight between Grant Burch and Ross Wilcox. Jason sides with Grant Burch and smokes one of Grant’s cigarettes in solidarity. When Ross arrives, the fight is intense – mostly because there are no adults to step in and stop it. Ross wins when Grant’s wrist is injured, and the onlookers must quickly switch allegiance to Ross’s side or become targets for a fight themselves. Moran provides a handy excuse for Jason, saying they are off to visit his grandmother.

Jason and Moran continue down the bridle path, searching for a third tunnel which supposedly leads through the Malverns. They run through fields, then climb bales of straw and lay on top of a barn roof to enjoy the view. Moran confides that his father is abusive when he’s drunk, and there is a moment of awkwardness between them, as each is uncertain where to go with the conversation now that a deep truth has been revealed. Jason falls asleep looking at the sky, and when he wakes, Moran is gone.

Continuing on his quest, Jason spots Dawn Madden sitting in a tractor. Although she is by turns fascinating and terrifying, Jason climbs onto the tractor and talks with her while she whittles an arrow for a bow, shows him her knife, and splits a pastry with him. They talk suggestively – she feeds him the cherry from her Danish off the tip of her arrow – and Jason gets aroused. When she demands payment for the cherry, Jason doesn’t know what…

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