Summary: Blue

Edwin gets shot in the stomach, and Blue helps him to her car. She knows that she can get to the hospital faster than the ambulances that have yet to arrive at the coliseum. She tries to keep Edwin awake as she drives. At the hospital, Harvey and Jacquie are already taking Orvil inside. After Orvil is placed on a stretcher, Harvey helps Blue get Edwin onto a gurney. Blue looks around at Jacquie, Harvey, Opal, Loother, and Lony. She wants to talk to Jacquie, but isn’t sure what to say. For a brief second, Blue wonders if Harvey must be her father since he appears to be with Jacquie.

Summary: Opal Viola Victoria Bear Shield

Opal tells herself that Orvil will survive. She searches for a voice from inside herself, coming from the same place where her teddy bear Two Shoes once spoke to her. She realizes this voice was always hers. Opal prays for Orvil to stay alive. A doctor comes out to talk to them, but Opal is too overwhelmed to listen. She listens and counts the number of times that the double doors swing. The doors stop at eight, one of her lucky numbers. She takes a deep breath and looks up to hear what the doctor has to say.

Summary: Tony Loneman

Tony hears gunfire and turns to see Octavio, Carlos, and Charles firing at one another. He shoots Carlos several times but drops his gun when it gets too hot to hold. Charles starts shooting at Tony, hitting him in the leg. Tony realizes that other innocent people at the powwow are getting shot. Tony runs at Charles and is hit several more times before tackling him. While they are struggling, Tony manages to get Charles’s gun and shoot Charles in the head. Tony rolls over onto the grass, and his vision begins to fade.

Tony’s mind is transported back to when he was four years old, playing with the bubbles in the sink while his grandmother, Maxine, washed the dishes. Still in his mind, he also remembers playing with his Transformers toys.

Tony’s mind returns to the present, on the field. He remembers his grandmother teaching him how to dance. She told him that he has to dance like birds sing in the morning. As Tony lies on the field, unable to move, he feels that birds are singing inside of him.


The final chapters of the novel conclude Tony’s story but leave Edwin’s and Orvil’s in a state of suspense. As the extended family waits in the hospital, reunited but not yet reconstructed, for news of Edwin and Orvil, the scene underscores one of the novel’s most important messages. These characters all hail from a community that has suffered unbearable losses and, as individuals, they might be on the cusp of having to do so yet again. Even as they have found one another, their joy will always be mixed with sorrow. By leaving these two stories unfinished, Orange shifts the burden onto the reader to imagine what the future will hold. When this is coupled with the novel’s insistence that even things like silence and absence that seem not to be actions have an influence on the world, There There suggests that the reader’s actions after reading the book affect how it ends.

Tony has the final word in the novel, and despite his tragic plans made in the early chapters, his story ends in heroism and sacrifice. His thoughts as he dies combine Native songs that his grandmother would sing to him with the lessons he learns from American culture. In becoming a hero, which the details of the shoot-out establish, he can finally accept who and what he is, a good guy. Guided by the clear moral imperative that dying to save others is always the right choice, Tony defies gravity and the limits of his body. In death, he embraces life like a bird singing in the morning light. If the scene in the hospital stresses the more pessimistic elements of There There, the narrative of Tony’s death presents its more optimistic alternative.