121 pages 4 hours read

Louise Erdrich

The Night Watchman

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2020

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Chapters 51-63Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 51 Summary: “Old Man Winter”

Biboon thinks that he will walk on his journey to the town of the dead. He longs to see his beloved Julia, but it is hard to leave the living. He sleeps often, but he still wants to feel connected to the earth, sometimes bundling up and sitting outside.

One day, he lays down and spies women dancing in a field, one of whom is Julia. He tells her that he’ll be with her soon but still wakes the next morning. He remembers what his uncle said about the stars taking human shapes to give directions on how to get to the next life. To him, time is a “holy element,” and “[a]ll things happened at once and the little golden spirit flew back and forth, up and down through the holy element” (267).

Chapter 52 Summary: “The Cradle Board”

Wood Mountain trains with Barnes in secret, feeling guilty about lying about his hand. He tells the baby, who he refers to still as “Archille.” He tells Pokey that it’s because of Gringo.

Later, he begins working on the cradle board in the barn, and Grace comes in, asking if his hand is okay now since she saw him using a hand plane. He tries to lie, asking her about the Mormon.

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