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Pigs in Heaven

Barbara Kingsolver

Chapters 28–30

Chapters 26–27

Chapters 31–33

Summary

Chapter 28: Surrender Dorothy

Taylor and Turtle are talking in the car, waiting for the rain to let up so Taylor can use the pay phone. Turtle feels bad that the other girls at school make fun of her for wearing the same clothes, and Turtle's stomach still hurts much of the time. Later, on the phone, Taylor tells Alice that Penney's no longer lets Turtle hang around while Taylor works; Turtle has to sit in the car for a couple of hours till Taylor gets off. Alice has even more bad news for Taylor. Since Annawake found out that there are relatives looking for Turtle, she is going to send Taylor a subpoena.

Taylor takes Turtle to a medical clinic to see about her stomachaches, and the doctor tells her Turtle is most likely lactose intolerant. It is a condition often found in minority populations. Outside, Turtle sees a white trail in the sky, left behind by a jet. Mother and daughter remember a scene in the Wizard of Oz in which the wicked witch wrote "Surrender Dorothy." Turtle, thinking about Dorothy being turned over to the witch, asks if Taylor is going to let the Indians have her.

Chapter 29: The Secret of Creation

Alice and Cash are in his one-room cabin, where he is cooking kunutche, a dish made from ground nuts. Cash cooks and talks—two qualities Alice never knew that men possessed. He has sent her beaded earrings, and she is growing fond of him. Later, Alice is lying naked in Cash's bed, which is outside on his porch, surrounded by woods. He tells her a funny story about the ostrich farmer breaking into Boma's house to steal back his feather, and ending up with numerous bee stings. They sleep together, finding great comfort in each other.

Chapter 30: Six Pigs and One Mother

Alice wakes up the next morning, with Cash cooking, and the T.V. on in the kitchen. Cash makes her breakfast-in-bed, and Alice tells him why she came to Oklahoma. Cash ends up telling her, too, about his own suffering. He lost his mother, wife, and daughter all in one season four years before. Before she died, his daughter had a girl who his other daughter gave away in a bar one night. Alice immediately recognizes the story, and knows Cash's granddaughter is Turtle. They understand that this issue will pit them against each other. They figure out that Annawake has instigated their love affair.

Enraged, Alice goes to see Annawake. Alice reprimands her for using Alice and Cash to help her legal case, as if Alice would care about Cash too much to be able to take his granddaughter away from him. Annawake says she did not really think about what she was trying to do. Alice cools off, and both women look up at the Seven Sisters, or Pigs in Heaven. Annawake tells Alice the story, and Alice says she still thinks there are seven stars. Annawake says maybe there are six pigs, and "one mother who wouldn't let go."

Analysis

Chapter 28 marks an important turning point in the plot in which Taylor can no longer escape Annawake and the Cherokee Nation. Many details in this chapter and before lead up to this point. First of all, Taylor is feeling desperate enough in her financial situation that she already plans on going home. Her job situation keeps getting worse, now at a point that Turtle has to sit in the car while she works. In general, she can hardly match her income with her expenses—she has to go somewhere, or make some change. Second, Turtle has a couple of mishaps that make Taylor feel like an inadequate mother. Of course, Annawake made her snide comment about milk many chapters back, and now Taylor finds out that Turtle, as a Native American child, is likely lactose intolerant. Also, the reader can connect Turtle's feelings of inadequacy among her school friends with Annawake's conversation with Alice. Annawake has said that children on the Nation do not feel ashamed of poverty. At her school in Seattle, Turtle gets made fun of for not having enough pairs of pants. Third, Taylor makes a few comments in this chapter while on the phone with Alice that suggest she recognizes she lacks familial support. She says that just she and Turtle together are not a family, and that they have no one else to fall back on. Although in Taylor's mind, going to the Nation feels horrific, it symbolically opens a space for the possibility of a larger family.

The conversation over the constellations metaphorically represents the two points of view concerning Turtle's custody that are about to go to battle. The white world and the Cherokee world see the same constellation differently, while the constellation symbolizes the way in which one life phenomenon can be represented by such different stories. At one point in the book, Jax has said that Annawake and Taylor will never be able to come to a consensus—they will always see the situation from opposite points of view. Indeed, the Cherokee world and the white American world will perhaps never come to a consensus over this constellation. The Cherokees will always see six stars called the Six Pigs in Heaven, and the white world will see seven, called the Seven Sisters. Still, both parties see the same stars in the sky and both parties wish for what they think is the best outcome in Turtle's situation.

The Six Pigs story, Annawake reports, is told to remind parents to love their kids no matter what. When Annawake suggests that the seventh is a mother, who cannot let go of her child, she of course refers to Taylor. Taylor is in this way, symbolically added into the myth of the six pigs, foreshadowing the conclusion of the novel. Through this comment, Annawake also connects the white world and the Native American world. The constellation story seems to suggest that Turtle's custody battle is of the best kind: it is fought by two parties who want her so much, they cannot let go.

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