Chapter 1* Buford Mason buries Mason Tarwater. * Mason teaches Tarwater, his great-nephew, the ways of prophesying so that the child may carry on his legacy. * Mason has a history of kidnapping and baptizing children. * Tarwater's uncle, Rayber, "the schoolteacher", has been at odds with Mason for years. * Mason always wanted to baptize Rayber's son Bishop. * Tarwater burns down Mason's cabin and leaves Powderhead.
Chapters 2 and 3* Tarwater hitches a ride with a copper flue salesman named Meeks. * Tarwater goes to Rayber's house. * When Tarwater sees Bishop he gets the urge to baptize the boy. * Bishop is developmentally impaired. * Rayber feels he can provide a better life for Tarwater and takes him in.
Chapters 4 and 5* Rayber buys Tarwater food and clothing and Tarwater rejects it. * Tarwater leaves his room one night and goes into town. Rayber follows him. * Tarwater visits a church with a young girl preaching. * Tarwater claims he only...
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