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Pigs in Heaven

Barbara Kingsolver

Chapters 31–33

Chapters 28–30

Chapters 31–33, page 2

page 1 of 3
Summary

Chapter 31: Hen Apples

Alice, Taylor, and Turtle are driving to Annawake's office. Taylor and Turtle just arrived to the Cherokee Nation. Taylor drops off Alice and Turtle at a fast food restaurant, so that she can talk to Annawake alone for a few minutes. When Taylor finds the office, Cash is there with Annawake, who explains that Turtle's adoption was conducted illegally and that the fate of her custody must be decided by tribal jurisdiction.

Cash and Taylor begin to talk about Turtle. He tells a story about a day when he was playing with her and she said "hen apple" referring to an egg. He has a picture of his daughter Alma as a little girl and it looks just like Turtle. Taylor then tells the other two that Turtle was badly abused when she found her, and Cash admits that he thinks it was his other daughter's boyfriend who was abusing her. Taylor responds by saying that she has let Turtle down, too. To Annawake's disbelief, she lists all the ways she believes she has not been a good mother. Turtle and Alice arrive then, and when Turtle sees Cash, she reaches out her arms to him, recognizing him immediately.

Chapter 32: The Snake Uk'ten

Taylor and Turtle meet with Andy Rainbelt, the social worker in the Child Welfare office. When questioned about her family, Turtle tells him she does not have one. Many more of Taylor and Turtle's struggles come out in the interview. Taylor feels awful, but Andy reassures her that he can tell by Turtle's mannerisms that they love each other deeply.

Later that day, Alice and Taylor go for a walk. Alice has told Taylor that she broke up with Cash. Taylor guiltily tells her that she and Jax have talked and that she feels ready to be committed to him for the long-term. Naming people as "family" is important, since otherwise people are free to walk away whenever they want.

In just a half hour, Annawake has to give her recommendation regarding Turtle's case to the tribal council. Her Uncle Ledger, when asked for advice, tells the story of King Solomon from the Bible, with Native American characters: A child long ago was claimed by mothers from two different tribes. When the spirits above suggested that they send the snake Uk'ten to cut the child in two, they knew that the mother who gives up the child before seeing it split in half, loves the child most. Annawake throws her shoe at Ledger when she realizes he told her a story from the white man's Bible. He tells her that she has a good heart, and will do the right thing.

Chapter 33: The Gambling Agenda

The tribe and the Greers are meeting to decide Turtle's case. In the front of the room, the agenda from the last meeting, which concerned gambling on tribal lands, is still on the blackboard. The tribe, on one side of the room, is full of gossip and chitchat. When Annawake speaks, she tells everyone that Turtle's adoption was illegal, and that Turtle has been recognized as Cash's granddaughter. She talks about how Cherokee people have to think of the interest of their community in addition to the interest of an individual. She and Andy are recommending that Cash be Turtle's legal guardian, but the Taylor maintains joint custody of the child. Turtle would have to visit the Nation at least three months out of the year.

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