• Study Guide

Part One, Chapters 11–12

Summary Part One, Chapters 11–12

The lull in Bridgeport also marks the complete dissolution of their dream that Momma will come back for them. This is the dream that compelled them to keep moving during the early part of the summer. Momma represented and sustained their determination to stay together and to remain a family. The hope of her return is shattered, so the family experiences unsteadiness and uncertainty about its ability and determination to stay together. However, Dicey's mantra at the close of the ninth chapter, in which she recites her grandmother's name and address, hints that wind is gathering to push the boat forward again, and that Dicey, at least, will not relinquish her dream of holding on to her family members. Her siblings confirm this resolve when they deduce her plans, catch her on her way out the door, and insist on traveling with her. Once again, the children are bound by their quest.

Their time in Bridgeport does not hold only negative developments. Dicey uses the period to gather resources and plan her next moves. During their trip to Bridgeport, Dicey had been plagued by their constantly diminishing supply of money. In Bridgeport, she gains power and confidence from her accumulating fiscal assets. Her first stash arrives indirectly from Momma, from the sale of the family car. This represents the entirety of Momma's monetary legacy to her children, but to Dicey, it represents a way out of the suffocating and increasingly distressing circumstances in which the children have found themselves. The money gives Dicey the determination to save her family by setting out into the world in search of a relative who will understand them and protect them. Money, a resource they lacked almost completely during the first leg of their journey, will allow them to more safely navigate the adult world.