Sounder (1972) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • The oldest son of a loving and strong family of black sharecroppers comes of age in the Depression-era South after his father is imprisoned for stealing food.

  • The Morgans, a loving and strong family of Black sharecroppers in Louisiana in 1933, face a serious family crisis when the husband and father, Nathan Lee Morgan, is convicted of a petty crime and sent to a prison camp. After some weeks or months, the wife and mother, Rebecca Morgan, sends the oldest son, who is about 11 years old, to visit his father at the camp. The journey becomes something of an odyssey for the boy. During the journey, he stays a little while with a dedicated Black schoolteacher.

  • 1933, Lansdowne Parish, Louisiana. The Morgans - mother and father Rebecca and Nathan Lee, and their three children David Lee, Josie Mae and Earl - are a loving, black, poor sharecropping family, generally well liked in their community. Nathan Lee realizes that especially during the lean non-cropping times, his family relies on him to put food on the table in the form of what, with the help of the family's faithful hound Sounder, he is able to hunt generally in terms of small game. Nathan's ability to provide that food has been difficult of late. When Nathan is caught, charged, convicted and sentenced to one year hard labor for stealing food for his family, David Lee is forced to assume the male head of the family responsibility, including anything having to do with his father, all without Sounder who has gone missing. Through it all, David Lee is torn between his responsibility to the family versus his thirst for a formal education especially when he discovers there is much about black American history he doesn't know. Being pulled in both directions becomes even more pointed with the arrival home of Nathan Lee.



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