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Animal Dreams

Barbara Kingsolver

Chapters 13–14

Chapters 10–12

Chapters 13–14, page 2

page 1 of 2
Summary

Chapter 13: Crybabies

In his darkroom, Doc Homer thinks back to twenty years earlier when he changed his last name and his realization that Codi was no longer pregnant. Although he thinks explicitly about memory and tries to keep his straight, Doc wanders back and forth between past and present. He remembers as if it just happened the night of Codi's miscarriage.

Codi is about six months pregnant. She locks herself in the bathroom. Doc Homer asks her if she needs help but does not confront her. She asks for Hallie, whom she convinces to go find a particular black sweater that belonged to their mother. Hallie gives it to her, not realizing what is going on. Doc Homer listens as Codi cleans the bathroom, then waits in the dark and watches her sneak out of the house carrying a bundle wrapped up in the black sweater. He follows her out of the house and down to the arroyo, where he watches her bury the baby. Back in the house together, he wants desperately to tell her that he knows what has happened, but he can't figure out how. When she asks for aspirin, he instead gives her medication that will be better for her situation. She takes it without comment.

Chapter 14: Day of the Dead

On the last Monday of October, one of Codi's students, Rita Cardenal, announces that she is quitting school. Rita is pregnant with twins and says that she is too tired to do her homework. The next day, Codi decides to add an unscheduled section on birth control for her class. When some of the students snicker and suggest that the school board might not approve, Codi replies that she doesn't much care what the school board thinks because she doesn't plan on teaching there for more than a year. Codi includes the unit that day in all of her classes, realizing that as much as it is intended to instruct the students, it is also intended to insure that she will not be asked to teach there again. At the end of the day, she thinks about how she does not like to ever become rooted in any one place and also about Hallie's letters, which encouraged her not to give up the fight against Black Mountain just because of the news about the dam.

Rita Cardenal calls Codi to tell her about her last visit to Doc Homer's. While performing her checkup, Doc Homer apparently had a memory lapse and began talking to her as if she were his own daughter. When Codi explains that Doc Homer is losing his mind, Rita says she knows and that rumor has it that Codi has come to take his place as the town doctor. Vehemently denying any such thing, Codi talks to Rita about the difficulties of living in such a small town, where everyone knows each other's business.

Codi goes straight to the hospital to find Doc Homer. His assistant, Mrs. Quintana, says he just left to run a few errands, so Codi tries to follow him on his mixed-up path of forgetting and remembering where he was headed. She catches up with him back at his house at suppertime. They finally talk about Doc Homer's illness, disagreeing about how capable he still is to perform his duties and finally coming around to the fact that Codi never actually became a doctor. Doc Homer asks her point blank what happened. When she faced an incredibly difficult and potentially fatal delivery, Codi explains, she freaked out, blanked out, and left in the middle of the procedure. To her surprise, Doc Homer's only reaction is to tell her she need not ever practice obstetrics and to reassure her that losing one's nerve is a common occurrence, even for doctors. The deep understanding of Doc Homer's reaction allows Codi to cry and then tell him that she never wanted to be a doctor.

A letter from Hallie informs Codi that there has been some Contra activity in her area but that she is fine and very happy.

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