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A young Negro boy learns the pain of humiliation and anger when his father is given an unjust jail sentence for stealing a ham from a white man. Learning to read and to discover that things do not die but become part of other things brings the youngster new hope.
The story of a black sharecropper family living in Louisiana during the Depression. The father steals food for his family and is sent to prison. While he is in jail the mother provides love, security and strength at home. The oldest son bravely becomes the man of the house until his father returns home.
This is the story of an 11-year-old black youngster, "Boy." When his sharecropper father is arrested and sentenced to five years at hard labor after stealing food to feed his family, Boy embarks upon a journey to find out where his father has being imprisoned. Accompanied by his dog Sounder, Boy also makes the arduous crossover from boyhood to manhood, with the help and sometimes hindrance of various people along the road.
Angry and humiliated when his sharecropper father is jailed for stealing food for his family, a young black boy grows in courage and understanding by learning to read and with the help of the devoted dog Sounder.