Who Is Scupper in Where the Crawdads Sing? Tate’s Father

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform summary of "Where the Crawdads Sing" by Delia Owens. Shortform has the world's best summaries of books you should be reading.

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Who is Scupper in Where the Crawdads Sing? Does he have an important role in the book?

Scupper is Tate’s father. But why is the question “who is Scupper in where the Crawdads Sing” important? For Kya, Scupper was a stable presence, and offered her kindness.

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Who Is Scupper in Where the Crawdads Sing?

Tate lived in town with his father, Scupper, who operated The Cherry Pie, a red shrimping boat. Tate’s mother and sister had died in a car accident in a nearby town a few years back, and since then, father and son lived mostly the same routine.

Who is Scupper in Where the Crawdads Sing? Scupper was someone with a love of opera, and each evening after docking his boat in Barkley Cove’s marina, he and Tate would listen to opera records while cleaning it.  

The night after Tate saw Kya, he and Scupper finished cleaning the boat and went home for dinner. Tate told his father about school, saying he didn’t much care for the poetry section they were studying in English. His father told Tate not to dismiss poetry. It made you feel something, and there was nothing wrong with a man feeling things. Scupper told Tate real men weren’t afraid to show emotion, could find beauty in poetry and opera, and would always stand up for a woman in need. 

Who is Scupper in Where the Crawdads Sing and how does he impact Tate and Kya? Scupper recited a poem Tate’s mother had loved. It was about a young man meeting his love on a lake and hiding her from death in the trees. Tate thought of Kya and how scared and alone she seemed out in the marsh. His dad was right. The poem had made him feel something.

Lost and Found

Tate stood over the grave of his father, guilt and remorse coursing through him. He’d spent so much time wrapped up with Kya’s case and trial, he’d neglected to spend time with Scupper. If he had, he may have noticed his father’s heart was failing. 

Everyone from Barkley Cove attended the funeral, everyone but Kya. Fisherman and others who’d known Scupper patted Tate on the back and gave their condolences. After the service, Tate asked for his father’s forgiveness. He felt in his heart that Scupper would forgive him anything. Scupper’s appearance at Kya’s trial was his way of saying he understood Tate’s heart. Tate looked over the water and hoped Scupper was on a red fishing boat wherever he was. He set a record player next to the fresh grave and put on Scupper’s favorite opera record. 

When Tate got back to the dock, he climbed in his laboratory vessel and saw a feather on his seat. It was the breast feather of a night heron, a bird not normally seen this close to the sea. He knew who had left it. 

Tate motored to Kya’s lagoon and waited on the beach as she exited the shack. When she was close enough, he grabbed her and pulled her in. He told her he loved her and always had. She told him the same. Tate said there couldn’t be any more running. If she was going to love him, it had to be completely. Kya grabbed his hand and led him into the woods. 

That night, they slept on the beach, and Tate became a resident of the shack a day later. As they walked along the shore, Tate asked Kya to marry him. She told him they were already married according to nature, and he accepted that as enough

So, who is Scupper in Where the Crawdads Sing, and why is he important? In many ways, Tate’s presence in the book can help answer the question “who is Scupper in Where the Crawdads Sing?” Tate wants to make his father proud, and live his life in the same kindness Scupper showed to Kya.

Who Is Scupper in Where the Crawdads Sing? Tate’s Father

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best summary of Delia Owens's "Where the Crawdads Sing" at Shortform.

Here's what you'll find in our full Where the Crawdads Sing summary:

  • How Kya Clark's abandonment as a child affected her through her entire life
  • How Kya discovered love despite steep obstacles
  • The murder trial that embroiled Kya's town, and the ultimate truth behind the murder

Carrie Cabral

Carrie has been reading and writing for as long as she can remember, and has always been open to reading anything put in front of her. She wrote her first short story at the age of six, about a lost dog who meets animal friends on his journey home. Surprisingly, it was never picked up by any major publishers, but did spark her passion for books. Carrie worked in book publishing for several years before getting an MFA in Creative Writing. She especially loves literary fiction, historical fiction, and social, cultural, and historical nonfiction that gets into the weeds of daily life.

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