CHAPTER EIGHT: Leavings and Partings
Bod’s ability to communicate with the dead slowly starts to dwindle by the time he is fifteen. One day Bod goes to visit the worldly explorer Alonso Jones, but he does not appear when Bod calls him out. Bod attempts to slide through Alonso’s grave, but bumps his head on the ground instead. The first ghost Bod sees that night is Mother Slaughter, who asks him to place flowers on her tombstone. Bod visits his mother and father, and Mr. Owens tells Bod that he’s the best son they could’ve hoped for. Mr. Owens tells Bod that Silas is looking for him. On his way to the chapel, Bod stumbles upon Liza who kisses him and expresses her hope that Bod will miss her. Bod doesn’t know what she means.
When Bod sees Silas, Silas informs Bod that they will be leaving the graveyard and going their separate ways; it’s time for Bod to join the living and see the world. Though Bod relents at first, he knows it is the right thing to do. On his way out the graveyard, Bod sees his mother who tells him to go out there and see the world, singing a song from Bod’s youth as a final goodbye. Bod acknowledges that he has spent most of his life in the world of the dead, but now it is time to be a part of the living.
The final chapter provides the resolution to the novel as Bod comes of age and leaves the graveyard for good. The fact that Bod is starting to be unable to see and interact with the dead anymore and that living creatures such as foxes now notice him approaching shows he is taking his final steps in entering the world of the living. His inability to visit the explorer Alonso Jones foreshadows that Bod must now go on to make his own adventures amongst the living. As the residents of the graveyard bid farewell to Bod one by one, he turns away from death and begins life as a young adult. Silas’s parting words to Bod remind him that it is his choices that will inform his character, and that he can continue to change and grow through those choices. Although his departure is bittersweet, the narrative indicates Bod’s childhood is complete, and he has all the tools necessary to embark on a full life among the living.