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Animal Dreams

Barbara Kingsolver

Chapters 27–28

Chapters 24–26

Important Quotations Explained

Summary

Chapter 27: Human Remains

When Codi asks Doc Homer if he'd like to help her bury the afghan, he thinks she is asking him to help her bury her stillborn child, twenty years earlier. He follows her not to the riverbed where she buried the baby, but to the backyard, where Codi and Hallie used to have a garden. He is not as confused as Codi thinks, however, for as she begins to dig he warns her that she should be careful because maybe when day when she inherits the house she'll want to have a garden there. As she continues to dig, Codi informs her father that the day before she told Loyd about the baby. She also remembers the pills he gave her and realizes that he was trying to help her.

Codi tells her father she is staying in Grace and that she and Loyd may try to have another baby and that she is a good science teacher. When he doesn't respond, she accuses him of not approving of her choice to stay in Grace. Instead of contradicting her, he simply repeats that she might want a garden there some day. Codi agrees but continues burying the bundle because what is in it won't hurt a garden. They dig together, as Doc Homer goes in and out of confusing Codi with her mother.

Chapter 28: Day of All Souls

On the Day of All Souls in 1989, Codi spends the morning in the cemetery cleaning and decorating the Nolina plots, where her father is now buried. In the afternoon, Codi asks Viola to take her up to the field where she had watched her mother's death. Codi is pregnant with Loyd's child. Brush is starting to grow back in areas that had been barren for twenty years. She remembers the scene of her mother's death again, this time certain that it is a true memory.

Analysis

Doc Homer's confusion about whom Codi buries confirms the symbolic connection between the two graves that Codi digs in her lifetime. Whereas the losses of her mother and of her child left Codi with a sense of infertility and a refusal to love, she is able to reintegrate the third loss, that of her sister, into a cycle of life that connects birth and death. In this way, she has fully understood the significance of the Day of All Souls and the Day of the Dead. The Day of the Dead is a celebration of the lives of those who have passed on and a recognition that, although they may no longer be physically present in the world, they are still part of the family. By placing flowers on the graves at the Day of the Dead, the idea that those who have died can still help to create life is underlined. Similarly, Codi buries Hallie's package in the garden plot. Symbolically, Hallie, in her death, will still contribute to the life of Codi's family. Codi becomes fully integrated into the community. Obtaining a sense of belonging in a family and a community, Codi is also able to find a job she will keep. The long and eclectic resume she refers to repeatedly throughout the novel will have as its only addition more years as a teacher at Grace High School. Not only has Codi become symbolically fertile, as she plants and helps to raise all of the children of the community in her classroom, but together with Loyd she is shown to be literally fertile through her pregnancy. Codi's fertility is connected with the renewed fertility of the land, as her child and the brush grow simultaneously. Whereas the first chapter in the novel was narrated by the third person aligned with Doc Homer's perspective, Codi narrates the last chapter. The perspective shifted back and forth for the duration of the novel, but the first and last places are especially significant. Doc Homer represents the past, the beginning of the story, while Codi will now carry the family into the future.

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