Study Guide

Handling Sin Summary & Study Guide

Michael Malone
This Study Guide consists of approximately 38 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Handling Sin.
This section contains 526 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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Handling Sin Summary & Study Guide Description

Handling Sin Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on Handling Sin by Michael Malone.

Raleigh Wittier Hayes lives a solid but boring life in a suburban housing development named Starry Haven, a part of Thermopylae, North Carolina. He works as an insurance agent in the Forbes Building downtown, is married to Aura and has twin sixteen-year-old daughters. Mingo Sheffield, an obese clothing store clerk, has been Raleigh's friend since childhood. Vera, Mingo's wife, has lost a great deal of weight by having her mouth wired shut. Life begins to change for these characters once someone replaces the usually trite good wishes in fortune cookies at the Lotus House to bad wishes. Raleigh's fortune is to go completely to pieces by the end of the month. Mingo's warns that his wife is having an affair with his best friend.

Raleigh starts to unhinge when a little stumble turns into a compromising situation with Vera. Her wired mouth snags to Raleigh's crotch, and at the worst possible moment, Mingo comes home to see the apparent sex act in progress. He grabs Vera's handgun and threatens to shoot them both. Raleigh struggles to convince Mingo that Vera is not cheating on him and succeeds, somewhat. Then Raleigh's father, a man with a heart condition, buys a new Cadillac and heads for New Orleans with a young Black woman. On top of this, he has recorded a message for Raleigh requesting that he collect various objects, his half brother Gates and a man named Jubal Rogers. He must take all of this to New Orleans within a month.

Raleigh must hustle to make the deadline, but obstacles stand or jump in his way all along. He must steal a bust from the library; he endures Mingo's mistakes and paranoia; he steals a new Cadillac from his cousin, gets mugged on the highway and ends up stuck in a swamp. Finally he finds Gates at Raleigh's ocean shore rental property. However, Gates is in trouble with a man he had sold a fake Civil War era necklace to for fifteen thousand dollars. To raise the money and pay the man off, Gates traffics in cocaine, which draws the attention of a drug cartel that wants him dead. Raleigh locates Jubal, but he has no desire to go to New Orleans, and Raleigh must give up trying to convince the headstrong man.

Nevertheless, Raleigh collects all the desired items and enough people to form a rudimentary jazz combo. Mingo plays piano, an escaped prisoner named Weeper plays bass, and a man Raleigh met in Charleston plays excellent saxophone. After nearly dying while helping to handle Gates' problems, they arrive in New Orleans. Earley, Raleigh's father, introduces Billie, the young Black girl, who turns out to be Jubal and Raleigh's Aunt Victoria's grandchild. Earley arranges for the jazz combo to be filled out with a drummer, and while performing at a club, Jubal shows up with his clarinet and joins the combo. Earley, who plays trumpet, dies during the performance. Reunited with Jubal, Billie leaves with him, and the rest return home to Thermopylae, all changed for the better due to Earley's last desire to reunite the most interesting parts of his family.

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This section contains 526 words
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