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Earth Abides - Part 2: Chapters 6 and 7 Summary & Analysis

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Part 2: Chapters 6 and 7 Summary

Richard and Robert return with a man named Charlie. Ish takes an instant dislike to the man though he thinks it might be simply because Charlie seems dirty. He later learns that Ezra is also suspicious though most of the group, including the children, likes Charlie. They also soon discover that Charlie is carrying a gun in a vest pocket.

Richard and Robert located some small groups of people, including some who lived in an old Indian pueblo village and a group of religious fanatics. They made it as far as Chicago but found no people there - a fact that Ish put down to the inhospitable climate. They encountered rougher roads and were suddenly afraid of the possibility of snow - which Ish had warned them about. Rather than finding a more southern route on the way home to explore more territory, the boys were fearful of being cut off from their families and returned by the same roads. Ish wished he'd been far-sighted enough to consider that and to have sent the boys farther south where a better climate might have been home to more survivors.

Charlie's presence prompts Ish to lock his doors that night, something he hasn't done in many years. Em seems to defend the man, including his right to carry a gun, though Ish says Charlie shouldn't have a concealed weapon when he came to their community. Ish spends time before he falls asleep considering whether he really has a reason to dislike Charlie or if he fears competition for the leadership role Ish has assumed all these years. The next morning, Ish finds Charlie and many of the community on a nearby hill. Evie is at his feet and stares at him. Evie is typically at the outskirts of any gathering and Ish immediately knows what's happened. Ish asks everyone to leave so that he can talk to Charlie alone. He tells him that the situation with Evie must stop. Charlie doesn't deny it but says that Ish should be happy that he hadn't taken a liking to any of the women who already had a man. Ish says that they don't want Evie to have children and Charlie says that the young men have likely already had her, meaning she probably couldn't have children. Ish then says that they've made Evie taboo among the young men and that none have, though he detests the fact that he's arguing with the man. Charlie doesn't budge and Ish leaves knowing that he's lost the battle of wills.

Back home, Ish calls a meeting. He, Em, Ezra and George are joined by Ish's sons Jack and Roger and Molly's son Ralph. Ish explains the situation and Ezra says that they've had to lock Evie in a room to keep her inside. Though Ish feels that Ezra is wanting to tell him something in private, Ezra doesn't ask and they continue their discussion with everyone present. Then Ezra reveals that Ezra had talked freely the night before and that he'd said he has "Cupid's diseases." The younger boys, having known nothing of sexually transmitted diseases are released from the meeting. They like Charlie and can't see past that. The others discuss what's to be done and realize that Charlie could break down the entire society they'd built up. Ish calls for a vote for either banishment or death. All four vote for death.

Part 2: Chapters 6 and 7 Analysis

The boys talk of finding a group of people who called themselves the People of God and threw stones at the boys, saying they weren't welcome there. Ish notes that his own tribe might have become religious except that there were no religious people to lead.

It's Ezra who urges Charlie to take the best seat in Ish's home, a chair near the fireplace, and Ish berates himself for his lack of thought to the guest - even though he doesn't like Charlie. Before long, Ezra complains of being cold and some of the children build a fire in the fireplace. Ezra continues to complain and Ish is worried that he's coming down sick. The fire is made bigger and the room grows warmer but Charlie refuses to take off his vest. Later, Ezra says that he wasn't cold but had thought to see if Charlie would take off that vest because he was certain the man carried a pistol in his pocket. Ezra is of the opinion that there's something "dirty and ugly and mean" about Charlie. They'll soon discover what that is.

There's no indication of where Charlie sleeps that night but it's obvious that he finds his way to Evie. Charlie's attitude is that he could have taken any of the women and that Ish and the others should be grateful that he selected an unattached one. It's interesting to note that as the four adults discuss Charlie's fate, there are several points made toward helping the man. Ish suggests that sulfa drugs might work on the sexually transmitted diseases. George says that children of Evie's might be normal, that she might have gone insane because of the horrors she likely witnessed before Ezra found her. George also says that the law says a person should not be punished unless he's already done something wrong. Em points out that there is no law and that it's up to the adults to keep their children safe. They all know that banishing Charlie is impossible as he'll simply return and shoot any of them who wanders within his shooting range and that it's impossible for them to imprison someone for the long term. Though the young men don't vote, they later concur with the decision.

This section contains 954 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
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