121 pages 4 hours read

Louise Erdrich

The Night Watchman

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2020

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Chapters 30-40Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 30 Summary: “The Average Woman and the Empty Tank”

Louis continues to collect signatures. He is bringing around their only copy of the bill, and it’s growing increasingly tattered. Juggie is trying to type another copy out. She is also working on the tribal newsletter. When Thomas stops by, she asks him for a joke, and, after thinking, he says, “The average man is proof the average woman can take a joke” (161).

That evening, at work, he speaks to Roderick. Roderick explains that he’s here for LaBatte to save him again. In boarding school, Roderick confessed to something that LaBatte had done and was thrown in the cellar. Many thought that’s how Roderick got tuberculosis and why he was sent to the sanatorium, where he died. Roderick, however, says he didn’t die, and that he got into the coffin as a joke. Thomas tells him that LaBatte still feels bad that Roderick took his punishment.

Roderick says he’s here to save LaBatte from himself because he’s been stealing from the Turtle Mountain Jewel Bearing Plant. Thomas tells him that he’s just making things up.

In the morning, he confronts LaBatte, who admits to stealing. He feels like he’s been having a string of bad luck, including the appearance of Thomas’s owl.

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