Death of a Hired Man Summary

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A man and woman converse on the porch of their farmhouse. The man is just coming home in the evening; his wife meets him at the door to warn him that Silas, the old "ne'r-do-well hired hand", had returned that day. They were afraid of why he had returned and what he would try to do to them. They had never done anything wrong to him but sometimes he would just get those ideas in his head. She found him a tattered, dilapidated mess, "huddled against the barn door, fast asleep, a miserable sight, and frightening, too"(line 35-36) Silas looked terribly ill, yet he didn't ask for help. Instead, he told her he would cut the upper pasture, and he kept inquiring about the college boy he worked with on the farm a few years back. He and the boy argued all the time; now the old man wants to make things right. Warren refuses to take Silas back. He has too many problems and is not wanted around to start messing things up again. The old man walked away one too many times. He says, "When he begins like that, there's someone at him, Trying to coax him off with pocket-money".(line 27-28). Silas's brother is the president of a bank? He always wonders why Silas doesn't he go to his brother for help? He would always help his brother so why couldn't he give Silas a hand. It takes him a while to cool down but he finally he gets his head around the situation. He goes in to see the old man, who is presumably asleep beside the stove. A few moments later, he returns to the porch. To his wife's query, "'Dead,' was all he answered."(Line 175).
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