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Headscratchers / O Brother, Where Art Thou?

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  • Did Everett and Penny ever get back together again? Or did Penny do her stupid "count-to-three" act and refuse to marry him without the original ring?
    • Ungrateful? What does she have to be grateful for? It seems like Everett, while good-hearted, was a lot of talk with not a lot of acting on any of his promises, and then he got himself thrown in jail for practicing law without a license, and when he saw her again he was planning to do the exact same thing again with a dentist's practice. It's perfectly understandable that she would want to trade him in for someone more trustworthy. ... But to answer your question, I assume she must have eventually, because Penelope in the original myth believed Odysseus' return and accepted him.
      • Grateful that he'd have her. And the other guy's trustworthiness is clearly less attractive to her than his money.
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    • She seems kind of materialistic to me. She only started to really consider taking Everett back when it was revealed that he was the lead singer of the mega-popular Soggy Bottom Boys. Or maybe she was just starting to realize that taking him back is probably not the best plan and was looking for an easy way out.
      • Materialistic is a bit of a harsh read on her character. She's a single woman during the Great Depression trying to raise several daughters. Everett is, at best, a conman and a huckster. That's not a very stable home life for her family. Him being part of a genuine musical sensation, though, makes him a much better provider.
      • Related to the above, being a member of the Soggy Bottom Boys is probably the only honest job he's ever had; the rest have been a series of grifts. Maybe seeing that he'd finally found decent, lucrative work based on something he could actually do, rather than one based on criminal deception, made Penny believe that things could be different.
  • Why was it so unbelievable to Everett that Pete was working on a chain gang ("Heat must be getting to me!")? Did he view is it extremely unlikely that he'd see Pete in that circumstance? Or did he, like Delmar, accept that Pete was indeed turned into a toad and crushed by Big Dan?
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    • He believed Pete was dead, or at least had run off.
      • Even if he had guessed that Pete had been recaptured, he wouldn't expect to just happen to spot him while passing by like that.
  • How did Homer Stokes know that Tommy had sold his soul to the devil? If I remember right, Vernon T. Waldrip whispered something right before the announcement, as if Vernon somehow knew it. The question is, how did ANYONE (aside from the three heroes) know about that? Is this a reference to the actual musician on which Tommy was based? As in, perhaps Tommy was sufficiently well-known and talked-about that his deal with the devil was a common rumor? If so, that rumor spread awfully quickly.
    • Stokes was a Klansman who was in the middle of running for Governor (and was in the process of kicking or paddling Pappy O'Daniel's butt, depending on who you ask). It's entirely possible that Stokes made his own deal with the devil, and offering up Tommy was a way for the Devil to "pay."
    • When they're recording the song at WEZY, Everett says "Hot damn, son, I believe you did sell your soul to the devil", right after they finish the song. One assumes it's still being recorded, and was later broadcast, or at least someone may have heard it at some point.
    • Because the Sheriff told Homer Stokes. The Sheriff that is tailing them is strongly hinted at to be the Devil himself, or at least the very same individual that Tommy sold his soul to (a "white" man with "a mean old hound"). When the boys escaped from the Sheriff the second time, they left Tommy behind. The Sheriff likely ran into Tommy, had him arrested, handed him off to the Klan, and told Stokes that he sold his soul to the Devil. That's why Homer Stokes has it on "high authority" that Tommy sold his soul to the Devil - because the Sheriff, an authority figure, told him. It also explains why Tommy says that "the Devil's come to collect his due".
      • Tommy also said that well within earshot of at least two Klansmen; they could have told Homer if nobody else had.
  • How did no one in the Klan rally hear Everett and company talking to Tommy? Surely the two escorting Tommy to the gallows would've at least heard it?
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    • I dunno, with the loud singing and the hoods over their ears.
    • Also given that Tommy was crying and pleading, they might have thought the guys were telling him how he was going to die horrible instead of reassurances.
  • So did those singing gravediggers just drown? That never sat right with me.
    • I take the metaphorical/supernatural view of that. Seeing as the Sheriff was Satan, it's fair to say that the gravediggers were demons of some sort, underlings of the devil.
      • Considering how they were still singing after the flood, that seems to be likely.
    • They honestly had a better chance of surviving than the Soggy Bottom Boys, what with not being tied up at the time. Of course, that means the Sheriff might have survived as well...
      • Unless the flood was really a godlike intervention, as prayed for by the protagonists, in which case things were stacked against the Sheriff/Devil.
  • What ever did happen to Pete and Delmar in the ending? At the end we see Ulysses arguing with his wife to get back together while walking with his daughters, but it's never mentioned or implied what happened to Pete and Delmar.
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