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The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

Ann Brashares

Chapters 5 and 6

Chapters 3 and 4

Chapters 7 and 8

Summary: Chapter 5

“Love is like war: easy to begin, hard to end.”

—Proverb

Lena doesn’t want to meet Kostos, but Effie tells her he’s attractive. Lena agrees, but she’s suspicious of him. In her experience, boys never care about anything but appearances. Grandma introduces Lena and Kostos and brags that Kostos is going to college in London and plays soccer. She says he’s staying in Greece this summer to help his grandfather at the forge. Kostos is evasive when Effie asks if he has siblings. Lena leaves Effie with Kostos. Later, Kostos tries to engage her in conversation. He points out his house and asks if she’d like to take a walk. Lena says no, disappointed that he asked her out since she was getting to like him.

Bridget has a crush on a coach named Eric, a sophomore at Columbia University, but the camp forbids campers and coaches to date. Connie, a coach, puts the girls into the teams they’ll play on for the summer. Bridget is on team three. She sees Eric notice her long blond hair. Bridget writes to Carmen and tells her she’s in love with Eric.

Summary: Chapter 6

“Rule #1: The customer is always right. Rule #2: If the customer is wrong, please refer to rule #1.”

—Duncan Howe

Tibby, miserable at Wallman’s, imagines herself dying. Then she hears a crash and watches a girl collapse. She runs over and yells for someone to call 911. The girl seems to be around ten years old. Tibby looks inside her wallet, but there’s no identification. The EMS arrives and asks Tibby what happened. Tibby offers the wallet, and the EMS man thinks she stole it, but Tibby explains she was just trying to find contact information. Tibby doesn’t like the thought of the girl alone in the ambulance, so she rides along.

At dinner, Carmen is startled when the family holds hands to say grace, remembering how Albert refused to become Catholic to please her mother’s family. Krista says Carmen looks different from how she imagined, and Carmen asks snippily if she’s surprised that Carmen is Puerto Rican. Carmen hates everyone. She leaves the table and calls her mother, Christina, sobbing. Carmen says she doesn’t like the new family and that they don’t like her, but she denies that she’s angry with Albert. She knows she should be happy for Albert, but she’s still upset.

Bridget joins Eric’s run and engages Eric in conversation. He says his mother is Mexican, so he knows Baja well. Bridget tells him her father is Dutch. He asks about her mother, and she says she died, even though she usually tries to avoid revealing this personal detail. Bridget tells Eric she’s sixteen, even though she isn’t yet. Eric is nineteen. After the run, Bridget sprints into the water, and Eric follows.

Analysis

Although Tibby, artsy and pierced, and Bridget, all-American athlete, seem to be very different, they move through the world in similarly open, extroverted ways. They are both in the thick of things and always eager to get involved. At Wallman’s, Tibby doesn’t hesitate to yell out for help and accompany the young girl in the ambulance, even though the girl is a stranger and Tibby is on the clock at work. She assesses the situation and quickly acts. Similarly, Bridget doesn’t hesitate to pursue what she wants. She eagerly makes friends and is forthright about the boy she likes, joining a run with him just so she can engage him in conversation. Bold and impulsive, Bridget values feelings more than rules. Unlike Tibby, who knows the rules and considers whether she should break them, Bridget seems to think that rules are made to be broken. Tibby and Bridget are both viewed with suspicion because of their openness. The young girl, for example, can’t figure out what Tibby is doing beside her in the ambulance, while Eric warily asks Bridget how old she is. Both girls care little for what others think once they decide for themselves to take action. Similarly, both girls are resourceful and quick to figure out ways to get what they want: Tibby tapes up the deodorant display, while Bridget joins Eric’s run, then seductively lures him into the water afterward.

The quotations that open each chapter of the novel serve as clues to what the chapter has in store and help us understand how important these experiences are to the girls. For example, chapter 5 begins with a proverb that says “Love is war: easy to begin, hard to end.” In that chapter, Lena meets Kostos and is disappointed by him as she is by every boy, and Bridget falls hard for Eric. Both girls get their first taste of romantic love. Although these tentative beginnings are hardly warlike, they are important to the girls. Lena feels disappointed by Kostos and discouraged by love in general, while Bridget pursues Eric with her characteristic enthusiasm. Love isn’t war—not yet, at least—but the quotation adds a layer of significance to the girls’ encounters. The fact that some quotations are by the girls themselves—or, in the case of Duncan Howe’s quotation in chapter 6, by people in the girls’ lives—suggests that ordinary people are just as capable of wisdom as writers, actors, and philosophers. Duncan’s silly rules about customers hint at a lesson Tibby will learn from her Wallman’s work this summer, even though, at this point, his words seem like more evidence that he is as ridiculous that Tibby believes him to be.

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