32 pages 1 hour read

John Steinbeck

The Moon Is Down

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1942

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Chapters 7-8Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 7 Summary

While on patrol, a squad of Colonel Lanser’s troops notice that the English nightly air raid is behaving unusually. The planes circle slowly over the town, flying high. Instead of releasing bombs to target the mine and soldiers, the English release small packages of dynamite, explosives, and other weapons on bright blue parachutes. Each package has a piece of chocolate with it and instructions for the townspeople to focus their attacks on the railways.

The blue parachutes are easy to see in the snow, allowing the townspeople to go out in search of the weapons packages. The children of the town find the packages and bury the explosive for their parents to use later. Likewise, the soldiers search for the packages and collect what they find at the mayor’s house.

Colonel Lanser speaks with his staff at the mayor’s house about the packages. All but Tonder is present, who was recently murdered with knitting shears by Molly Morden when he visited her house for a second time. Major Hunter reports that there are multiple breaks in the railway line that transports coal out of the town. Lanser has received word from his superiors that this is the only town in the country to have received these packages: “The capital orders me to stamp this out so ruthlessly that they won’t drop it any place else” (93).