Sociology in Serge and Straw (Henry)

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Sociology in Serge and Straw
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A wealthy young man and a poor village boy engaged in a fight, eventually becoming friends and learning about each other's lives, leading to them swapping clothes and roles in a baseball game.

A young millionaire named Haywood Van Plushvelt strolled out of his family's summer residence and walked down into the village. He encountered a boy named "Smoky" Dodson, who was dressed in ragged clothes and carrying a baseball bat.

Haywood Van Plushvelt — wealthy young man; heir to a fortune; well-dressed, polite, and inexperienced in common activities.
Smoky Dodson — poor village boy; rough, dirty, and skilled in baseball; sarcastic, street-smart.

Haywood asked Smoky if he was going to play ball, to which Smoky replied sarcastically. The two boys exchanged insults, with Haywood calling Smoky a ragamuffin and Smoky mocking Haywood's wealth and fancy clothes.

The argument escalated into a physical fight that lasted for over an hour. The boys used various tactics, such as throwing sand and soil at each other and pounding each other's heads against the ground. Eventually, they both grew tired and stopped fighting. Haywood asked Smoky again if he was going to play ball, and Smoky admitted that he was the captain of a local team.

I guess I didn’t mean to say you were ragged. But you are dirty, you know.

Haywood expressed his desire to learn how to play baseball, and Smoky invited him to join their practice game.

I’d like it bully. I’ve always wanted to play baseball.

The news of Haywood Van Plushvelt playing baseball with the village youths created a sensation among the upper class. Reporters and photographers flocked to the island, and the event was hailed as a sign of the universal brotherhood of man. One day, a sociologist pointed out Haywood on the baseball field, dressed in ragged clothes similar to Smoky's. Meanwhile, Smoky sat on a bench, dressed in a neat suit and looking like a young gentleman. The sociologist's friend laughed at the irony of the situation, suggesting that things were not progressing as they should be, but rather running in circles.