Out in the Open Summary & Study Guide

Carrasco, Jesús
This Study Guide consists of approximately 52 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Out in the Open.
This section contains 821 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
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Out in the Open Summary & Study Guide Description

Out in the Open 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 Quotes and a Free Quiz on Out in the Open by Carrasco, Jesús .

The following version of this book was used to create this study guide: Carrasco, Jesús. Out in the Open. Riverhead Books, 2015.

Hiding in a cramped hole in the ground, the boy hears the sounds of an approaching search party. He has run away from the place where he has spent all his short life, a small poor village that is ruled with an iron fist by its bailiff. The boy knows that any second one of the searching men could stumble on his hiding spot, and that if he is found, he will be harshly punished by his father. Yet the boy narrowly avoids detection, and the next day he sets off across the arid plain with his few possessions, already farther from home than he has ever been before.

The boy knows that if he does not find food he will not survive long, so when he stumbles on a sleeping stranger’s camp, he tries to steal a bag of provisions. The stranger is an old goatherd whose few possessions include ten goats, a dog, and a donkey. He wakes and yells at the boy, but then offers him a meal. The boy sets out again on his own in the morning, but when he falls sick with sunstroke after taking a siesta out of the shade, the goatherd comes to his rescue. He nurses the boy back to relative health, and then tells him to accompany him and his goats on their travels.

As they meander across the drought-stricken plain, the goatherd and the boy set up camp in strange places from dry pond beds to pits filled with dead animal carcasses. Finally, they reach the old ruin of a castle. They are quickly becoming friends, but the boy has trouble trusting authority figures. One evening, when he glimpses the urinating goatherd’s penis, he is reminded of his sexual abuse at the hands of the bailiff. The boy decides to leave the goatherd, but before he can set off on his own, the bailiff and his men appear and raid the goatherd’s camp. They nearly succeed in smoking the boy out of one of the castle towers, and before they leave they try to make the goatherd tell them the boy’s location by brutally beating him.

The boy attempts to help the goatherd recover from this near fatal attack, but they have no water as the bailiff has poisoned the castle well. The goatherd instructs the boy to set out by himself on the donkey to get water from a nearby village. When the boy arrives at the village, he finds that it was abandoned when the well water became polluted with maggots.

The boy is feeling disheartened when a crippled man appears and offers him wonderful food at his inn. When the boy falls asleep after feasting, the cripple manacles him in the storeroom and goes to fetch the bailiff to claim a reward for the boy’s capture. The boy manages to extricate himself and follows the tracks of the cripple, who has taken the donkey. He catches up and throws a stone at the cripple’s head, but it hits the donkey, who kicks and nearly kills the cripple. In order to return in time to help the goatherd, the boy has no choice but to leave the cripple in the road, even though this means the man’s almost certain death.

When the boy returns to the goatherd, the old man has recovered somewhat from the beating. The goatherd holds a deep Christian moral belief in the sanctity of all life, and when he hears the boy’s tale he insists they return to help the cripple. They make the long journey back to the village, but the cripple is nowhere to be found. The goatherd, whose wounds have become infected, decides they should leave for the mountains to the north. They will need supplies, however, so the boy decides to first return for the food at the inn.

All at first seems safe at the inn, but soon the boy discovers the cripple’s strangled corpse behind a curtain, and before he can leave the bailiff enters the storeroom. The bailiff has cornered the boy and begun to rape him when the goatherd barges in. The goatherd has already overpowered the bailiff’s deputy and taken his gun, and he shoots the bailiff pointblank.

The goatherd asks the boy to bury the dead men’s bodies, but the boy instead gathers them into the inn and sets it on fire. The goatherd and the boy then set out, but only a few hours later the goatherd dies of his infections and exhaustion. The boy buries the goatherd and places a cross on the grave. He continues the journey alone, and after some weeks by himself, he sees the first rainfall on the plain in years.

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