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The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

Ann Brashares

Chapters 15 and 16

Chapters 13 and 14

Chapters 17 and 18

Summary: Chapter 15

“Of the thirty-six ways of avoiding disaster, running away is best.”

—Anonymous

Carmen walks angrily to the woods, wondering if Albert will try to find her. Worried that her father might call the police, she heads home. But when she gets home, she sees through the window that the whole family is sitting around the kitchen table, saying grace and eating dinner. Carmen knows she’ll never belong. Enraged, she hurls a rock through the window. Albert sees her before she runs away.

Bridget writes to Tibby about how much she loves being outdoors.

Lena tries to find Kostos at the forge. She waits for him outside and calls out to him when he sees her, but, other than a brief nod, he ignores her.

Carmen runs back to the woods. She wants to go home to Maryland. In the middle of the night, she sneaks back to Lydia’s and gets her belongings, then finds a bus station and takes the first bus home. Once there, she sends the Pants to Bridget, along with a letter saying that she can’t yet talk about what happened and that she hopes the Pants bring Bridget “good sense.”

Summary: Chapter 16

“Life is so . . . whatever.”

—Kelly Marquette, aka Skeletor

Bridget thinks about having sex with Eric. She and her friends are virgins, but she feels differently about Eric. She tells her friends she’s sure she and Eric are going to hook up that night. Bridget plays in a soccer match, keeping herself from dominating the game.

Carmen shows up in Tibby’s bedroom. Sobbing, she tells Tibby how unhappy she was in South Carolina and that she broke the kitchen window. Tibby doesn’t really understand why Carmen hates everyone so much. Carmen thinks Tibby looks exhausted. She tells Tibby more about what she feels, but she gets angry when Tibby suggests she’s mad at Albert. Tibby then suggests that Carmen put her problems in perspective, and Carmen storms out.

Tibby writes to Lena about how her documentary is, surprisingly, not funny.

Bridget’s team, Los Tacos, plays another match, but Molly makes Bridget play defense. But, in the last part of the game, Bridget scores a spectacular goal.

Analysis

The domestic family scene Carmen sees through Lydia’s window is vastly different from the kind of family life she knows, and her violent reaction is rooted in both anger and jealousy. Carmen is angry, because her father doesn’t seem to care enough about her to notice that she’s missing. When she stormed out of the house, she expected him to look for her, assuming that his concern would trump her petulance and rudeness. Instead, he’s gone about his day, and worry over Carmen doesn’t seem to have stopped him from enjoying his dinner. But Carmen is also jealous, since her father is happy now in a way he never was with Carmen and her mother. At home in Bethesda, Carmen and her mother have lived for years as a happy twosome, and Carmen has not lacked for love. However, seeing her father’s new family—with two parents—makes her realize how much she’s missed having a father. Rather than play that role for her, her father has chosen to be father to a new set of children.

Carmen and Tibby are the first friends to reunite after time apart, and their awkward encounter suggests that the girls have changed in ways the others won’t easily understand. Carmen thinks she can count on Tibby for quick sarcasm and easy anger on her behalf. However, Tibby now has a different perspective on life. She sees the bigger picture, and she knows that some things aren’t worth getting upset about. As she’s gotten to know Bailey and met people for her documentary, she’s realized that she and her friends have a lot to be thankful for. They are healthy, and they have many people in their lives to stop them from being lonely. Whereas Tibby would once have taken Carmen’s side no matter what, she now finds it hard to accept Carmen’s childish jealousy and her reluctance to admit she’s angry with her father. For her part, Carmen can’t accept that Tibby is judging her. She believes the role of Tibby is simply to listen, understand, and tell Carmen she’s right. Although Tibby is the one who’s stayed home this summer, she’s also the one who has become more mature and worldly. Carmen doesn’t know how to handle the new Tibby, and she leaves in anger.

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