Where the Dead Sit Talking Summary & Study Guide

Brandon Hobson
This Study Guide consists of approximately 60 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Where the Dead Sit Talking.
This section contains 602 words
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Where the Dead Sit Talking Summary & Study Guide Description

Where the Dead Sit Talking 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 Where the Dead Sit Talking by Brandon Hobson.

The following version of this book was used to create this study guide: Hobson, Brandon. Where the Dead Sit Talking. Soho Press, Inc. New York, NY. 2018. First edition. The narrative unfolds from the first-person perspective of protagonist Seq as an adult telling the story of an important relationship he had in his youth, and how that relationship ended in death.

Seq begins his story with a description of the context of the story he is about to tell – how it took place “in the winter of 1989, when I was fifteen years old and a certain girl [Rosemary] died in front of me” (1). He comments that his intention in telling the story is not to find meaning or redemption in what happened, but to instead illustrate how those who have been left behind in the aftermath of death simply carry on with their lives.

Seq then describes the early circumstances of his life – being half-Cherokee and half-white, being fatherless and separated from his imprisoned mother, and being sent to a number of care facilities. He also describes another of the defining circumstances of his life – how an accident involving his drunken mother resulted in facial scars about which he is deeply self-conscious. Finally, he describes being assigned to live in the foster home offered by Harold and Agnes Troutt, and how he developed relationships not only with his two foster parents, but also the two other foster children in the home – anxious, intelligent George, and rebellious, artistic Rosemary.

As Seq starts school and begins to feel increasingly comfortable in the Troutt home, he develops a strong infatuation with Rosemary, visiting her in her room, smoking with her, and accompanying her on trips into the woods. At the same time, he also becomes friends with the eccentric George, who sleepwalks and who tells Seq secrets about the Troutts. One of those secrets is the fact that Harold keeps large sums of money in a shed in his back yard, money that Rosemary reveals comes from Harold’s activities as an illegal bet-maker, or bookie.

Over the course of the narrative, Seq also becomes increasingly anxious about what is going to happen to his mother, whose case is coming up for parole consideration. Just as he is finding himself both happy and comfortable at the Troutts, he has a visit with his mother prior to her hearing, and realizes that while they both seem to want to be together, they also both seem to realize how unlikely that is. The latter realization proves correct, as Seq’s mother is denied parole.

Back at the Troutts, Seq isolates himself as he recovers from his disappointment. Meanwhile, Rosemary starts becoming increasingly distant, eventually disappearing completely for a couple of days in the aftermath of an argument with Harold, who thinks she has stolen some of his money from the shed. In spite of George’s assurances that Rosemary has disappeared before and has come back, Seq becomes even more anxious. His relief at her eventual return is short-lived, as Rosemary isolates herself from the rest of the household. Seq convinces her to let him visit her in her room, but her unhappiness and anger overwhelm her, and she shoots herself as he is watching.

Seq experiences something of a breakdown in the aftermath of Rosemary’s death, but manages to pull himself out of his grief, as do the Troutts and George. The novel ends with Seq’s description of how he withdrew into himself for a while, preparing himself for what he believed were the challenges ahead of him in his life.

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This section contains 602 words
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