Analysis

Chapter 24 develops Taylor's character further. Taylor shows that she finds humor in life even in her dire situation. When the city parks manager comes to collect the rent, she engages him to distract from the date on the check, but also to enjoy his funny personality. When he leaves, she even makes pretend with Turtle that they are fat geese, waddling to school. The idea of obese geese, eating too much in Seattle, is ironic given the fact that Taylor and Turtle have hardly enough money for peanut butter. Taylor's commitment as a mother is also further affirmed in this chapter. She has been asked out by two different men and both times she insists that Turtle will come on the date as well.

Taylor's phone call to Jax is a plot device that dramatizes Taylor's desperate situation and also develops the subplot, Jax and Taylor's romantic relationship. The reader understands that Taylor still harbors strong feelings for Jax when she jokes about Gundi, and reaffirms that she does not love Steven Kant. Jax, too, now having broken off with Gundi, would give anything to have Taylor back. Although there is no explicit commitment, the relationship will have a chance again. The conversation is a forum during which we understand Taylor's desperation more comprehensively. The terrible way in which she misses Jax suggests not only that her feelings for him are strong, but also that she is nearing her breaking point.

The scene of salmon at the Seattle locks is another metaphor that compares natural ecosystems to human experience. The salmon's upstream climb parallels Taylor's desperate attempt to make ends meet while she waits out the situation with Annawake. We could consider this scene in comparison with Jax watching the coyote eat the dove eggs. In each case, the natural world appears cruel and unfeeling. The coyote plays the same role as the sea lions and the water current play in the second scene. Still, these are natural systems that persist without questioning why or how. The title of Chapter 24 "Wildlife Management" becomes ironic when we consider the salmon: when the authorities tried to reroute the salmon by making a more narrow ladder, only more salmon tried to ascend it. The novel seems to be saying that "wildlife management" does not really exist. The jungle will always follow its own laws of survival.

We should also know that Cash Stillwater is Turtle's grandfather. Annawake is orchestrating the romance between Alice and Cash because she believes this to be true. Cash is a way for Alice to warm up to the Cherokee culture and community. She has already heard of the imperialistic boarding schools where Annawake's mother's generation went to school, but now she hears about the schools first hand from Cash. She also is invited to the stomp dance, where she will feel even more a part of the community. Cash is also a way for Alice to fulfill her own life's desires. The reader should always keep in mind the first chapter, in which Alice felt so alone, taking second-stage to the television.