The second chapter is an analysis of a printer's journal where he relates a story from his youth where he and other workers beat to death neighborhood cats. Darnton first puts this story in a context of general cruelty to animals, especially cats. However he then gives it a particular interpretation of social protest by young worker men against the rich employers, many of whom owned cats. He documents well the deterioration of the old guild system and the effect this had on the lowest level workers. Whereas I found his analysis of the killing of the cats to be somewhat of an economic statement during class-warfare, I wish Darnton had commented more on the sadistic cruelty of human beings, particularly males between 13-19.
The third chapter was one of my favorites, though far less dramatic than the first and second chapters. Darnton analyzes a description of a town procession written by an upper-middle class middle-ages male observer who put social annotations throughout the description. The desire of the middle class to emulate the upper class and find many social distinctions between themselves and the the lower classes is perfectly displayed here in this interesting case study.
The fourth chapter also analyzes the work of a single man, however this time it is the extensive files of a spy who maintained records on the intelligensia during the Enlightenment. One reason this chapter is interesting is that writters we now