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The Pedersen Kid Summary & Study Guide

William Gass
This Study Guide consists of approximately 22 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Pedersen Kid.
This section contains 463 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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The Pedersen Kid Summary & Study Guide Description

The Pedersen Kid 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 The Pedersen Kid by William Gass.

The following version of this story was used to create this study guide: Gass, William. “The Pedersen Kid.” In the Heart of the Heart of the Country. New York: New York Review of Books, 2015. Pages 1 – 78.

The story takes place on rural farmland during a cold and snowy winter. The story opens at the farm of the Segren family. Hans, the hired hand, finds a boy lying unconscious in the snow and brings him inside to revive him. Jorge—the boy of the Segren family—recognizes the unconscious boy as a member of the neighboring Pedersen family. As Hans revives the boy, Jorge wakes his father, Magnus “Pa” Segren. Pa is an alcoholic who is often violent when he is drunk. The Pedersen boy eventually awakes and says that a stranger entered his house and forced the other Pedersens into their cellar at gunpoint. Hans doubts the story, but Jorge’s mother—Hed “Ma” Segren—convinces Hans that he should go investigate the Pedersens’ house. Pa enters the room and refuses to accompany Hans. However, Hans teases Pa, and Pa’s competitive nature compels him to go along on the journey.

Jorge, Hans, and Pa climb aboard Pa’s sled, which is pulled by Pa’s horse Simon. Partway through the journey, the horse stumbles into a hole A trace rope breaks, and Pa drops a bottle of whiskey into the deep snow. While Hans fixes the trace rope, Hans forces Jorge to search in the deep snow for the whiskey bottle. They soon continue on their way and arrive at the Pedersen house. They find an unfamiliar horse lying dead in the snow. Pa and Hans wish to return home, but Jorge points a gun at them in frustration and calls them cowards. The three of them go to the Pedersens’ barn in order to think over their options. Jorge volunteers to be the first person to run across the yard to the house. He does so without incident. Pa crosses next, but his is shot by an unseen assailant.

Jorge enters the Pedersens’ house and hears someone moving on the floor above. He hides, and through a window he thinks he sees the unknown intruder riding away on a horse. Jorge assumes that the Pedersens are dead in the cellar, and he does not go into the cellar to look. Jorge immediately assumes that the stranger will kill Hans and Ma. Jorge thinks that he and the Pedersen boy will survive as a reward for their respective acts of bravery. When thinking of these deaths, Jorge feels a sense of joy. This joy appears to come from a sense that he is now free of the aggravating influences of adults in his life such as Hans and Pa.

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This section contains 463 words
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