Watsons go to birmingham chapter summaries

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Kenny, on the other hand, is "just another fourth-grade punk." In his own estimation, Kenny has two things wrong with him that make him the focus of teasing and ridicule at the hands of the other kids. The first thing wrong with him is that he loves to read. in the past, they have exploited his ability to read well by taking him to different classrooms to show off his skill and use him as an example.
Kenny remembers a terrible day two years previous when he, a second-grader, had been taken to read in front of Mr. Alums's fifth-grade class. Kenny was horrified soon to know it was Byron's class; to make things worse, Byron had been looking at his brother with "fire [in his] eyes." Byron had always been a poor student, and when Mr. Alum had told him that he would do well to emulate his little brother, Kenny had known that the whole thing was a very bad idea. After school, Byron and his best friend, Buphead, had caught up with Kenny and a crowd had formed, anticipating that Kenny was about to get beat up. Surprisingly, when Buphead made a characteristically threatening remark, Byron had told him to "leave the little clown alone." He had then punched Kenny softly on the arm and had told him, "At least you oughta make 'em pay you for doin' that mess." Kenny had been shocked to realize that Byron was proud of him. When the other students had seen that Byron wasn't going to do anything to Kenny for being smart, they decided that they had better not do anything either. Although Kenny still had to endure being called names alluding to his studiousness, such as "Egghead" and "Poindexter," things would have been much worse—except for Byron.
Kenny plans to stay as far away as possible from the new boy, Rufus, but things do not work out that way. The principal seats Rufus next to him in the classroom, and Kenny is worried because he thinks the kids, instead of focusing their cruelty on the new boy, will now pick on both of them—and do so twice as much. Even though Kenny does not talk much to him, Rufus keeps "jabbering away at [him] all through class" and follows him out to lunch as well. Rufus has apparently forgotten to bring something to eat, so Kenny gives him one of his peanut butter sandwiches; Rufus gobbles down half of it and folds the other half carefully back in its wrapper. Rufus then asks Kenny about his lazy eye, but his tone is different from that of the other kids, who only bring the subject up torment him. Rufus asks out of simple curiosity and concern. He then sees a squirrel sitting in a tree across the street and marvels at how fat it is. In Arkansas, where he is from, Rufus would have shot the squirrel, which would have provided a delicious meal for his family. Kenny has a hard time believing that Rufus really knows how to shoot a gun, but Rufus's brother, Cody, joins them and confirms that it is true. Kenny notices that Rufus gives the other half of the sandwich to Cody and guesses that Cody forgot his lunch, too. Rufus begins coming over to Kenny's house in the evenings, and their favorite thing to do is play with Kenny's little plastic dinosaurs. Kenny does not mind because Rufus does not cheat or try to steal his toys. The only other boy Kenny used to play dinosaurs with was L.J. Jones, who had pilfered from his collection constantly. One day, L.J. had suggested to Kenny that they have a huge dinosaur war and tricked him into bringing out his entire collection, which was against Momma's rules. Kenny and L.J. had had a great time annihilating the monsters with pretend atomic bombs. When the carnage was complete, L.J. had told Kenny that the dinosaurs would...
Momma, having been born in Alabama, is unused to the frigid weather in Flint; "she (doesn't) really know anything about the cold." As a consequence, she forces Kenny and Joetta (Joey) to wear layers and layers of clothing when they go out in the winter, bundling them up so much that they can hardly move. It is Kenny's job to help Joey out of her outerwear once she gets to school, so Kenny dutifully goes down to the kindergarten every day after he has taken off all his own "junk" to tend to his little sister. Although the children have tried to tell Momma that she is keeping them way too warm, Momma is unmoving, telling them that the cold "is very dangerous, people die in it all the time." Kenny complains to Byron about all the whining and crying Joey does when he tries to help her out of her clothes, and Byron, with uncharacteristic cooperativeness, says he will talk to Joey. Byron tells Joey that there is a good reason why Momma makes her wear "all that stuff" and brings her attention to the garbage trucks with big doors on the back that come through the neighborhood. He says that the streets are indeed "full of dead, froze people" every cold morning and that the garbage people come and take the bodies away in the trucks. Byron tells Kenny and Joey that the victims are generally from the South, where they have thinner blood. Since Momma is from the South, half of her children's blood is afflicted with this condition, and so they are prone to freezing to death very quickly in the bitter climate in Flint. Kenny does not believe all of what Byron says, but Joey believes every word; Kenny notes that Joetta does not cry anymore when she has to get into her winter clothes. Every year, Momma buys the Watson children two pears of leather gloves each to get them through the winter. If they lose the first pair, they have to wear their second pair to school "kindergarten style," with the gloves pinned to a string pulled through their coat sleeves so...
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