Spruce Harbor, Maine, 2011 - Hemingford County, Minnesota, 1930 Summary

By the second week of working for Vivian, Molly has figured out that Vivian is not really able to dispose of anything from her attic. She will allow herself to be talked into tossing out some of the papers and books that are beyond salvaging, but that is it. Mostly she looks at the items and decides she cannot part with them and Molly puts them into boxes she neatly labels and organizes.

Vivian is really more interested in Molly, so she asks her questions about her mother and her personal life. Molly does not appreciate the attention and tells Jack this is not part of the deal. She just wants to complete her hours and get back to her life. He tells her to start asking Vivian questions about her life to distract her from asking about Molly. Vivian does notice Molly's love of reading, and presents her with a copy of Anne of Green Gables. Even though she tries to turn down the present, it does touch Molly on an emotional level.

Molly shows up at the house at 9:45am one morning, but no one answers the door. She had told Vivian she would be at the house early that day, because it was a teacher enrichment day. After standing in the cold and waiting for the door to be answered, she decides to try the doorknob. To her surprise it opens and she walks in, calling out so Vivian or Terry, the housekeeper, would hear her. When Terry does see her, she is not at all happy that Molly just walked into the house. She wastes no time telling Molly she is not happy about the apparent lack of progress in the attic. She explains it is up to Molly to convince Vivian to throw out some of her things.

While waiting for Vivian to come downstairs to start the day, Molly begins to read the book she gave her. Molly likes the book, but would rather be reading Jane Eyre. She and her classmates are studying the book in English class. Her classmates find the book boring and hard to read, while Molly enjoys the book and loves the way Bronte uses language to move the story along. The teacher realizes the book touches Molly, because the character Jane is somewhat like her. Jane, like Molly, is rebellious and determined to pursue her own path in life.

Vivian is remembering the day in 1929, when she was told she would not be allowed to attend school. Mrs. Byrne said it was because they felt Dorothy, as they called her, was not yet ready to attend school. When Dorothy protested, she was told she was insolent and to never bring the subject up again.

Mary, who was put in charge of teaching Dorothy sewing skills, was telling Mrs. Byrne that Dorothy was slow and not progressing as quickly as was expected. This was a lie, Mary was afraid if Mrs. Byrne found out that Dorothy could sew well then Mary would lose her job. Mrs. Byrne threatened Dorothy with being sent back to the Children's Aid Society if she did not start working harder.

One day in October, 1929, Mrs. Byrne came into the sewing room to inform the ladies that the stock market had crashed. She was quite shaken up by the news because Mr. Byrne had invested a lot of their money in stocks. One by one the ladies who worked in the sewing room were let go, until it was only Dorothy and Fanny left to do the sewing. Then in April, Mr. Sorenson, from the Children's Aid Society, came to the Byrne house. He was there to take Dorothy to a new home. Dorothy was stunned by this news, she did not understand why she was being taken away. Mrs. Byrne tried to say it was because Dorothy ate too much, but Fanny stood up for Dorothy.

Mr. Sorenson was a kind man, he told Dorothy he was taking her to a farm to be a mother's helper to a woman who has four children with another on the way. He clearly felt bad about the situation and tried to make Dorothy feel as comfortable as he could on the drive to the new home.

They were both stunned by what they found at the home of Wilma and Gerald Grote, the house was in shambles, the children did not have suitable clothes, it was clear there was very little food, and the mother could care less about the welfare of her children. Mr. Grote finally showed up and told Mr. Sorenson he would take responsibility for Dorothy and see that she had an education. The food was awful as it consisted of whatever animal Mr. Grote could kill and what little he could grow.

Dorothy was sent to school and it is there that she finds some salvation. She was overjoyed just to be out of the house and away from the pervasive depression of the family life. She also liked her teacher, Miss Larsen, who gave her a copy of Anne of Green Gables to read. The other children were nice to her and let her join in with them at recess.

In this section of the book we learn that Molly and Vivian share a love of books. We also see how Molly is constantly feeling under siege by the adults around her. How they are always suspicious of her actions. Dorothy on the other hand is put in a position of responsibility that is for a person much older than her nine years.

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