Zombie boy is not dead. Zombie boy should be dead, but he's not. Which is why he's a zombie.
The chapter begins with Cole laying in pain, thinking about the baby birds. And then he's in so much pain that he can't think straight at all. He also really, really, really has to go to the bathroom, but he doesn't want to, because then he'd be lying in his own shit. But eventually nature takes over and he does shit. For once he's not angry, he wants to be, but he's not because he doesn't have the energy to be angry. He's attacked by bugs. And he stares at the broken tree.
He eventually spots the tree and sees that the baby birds are all dead. And then he gets existential on us. I warn you, if you thought the epiphany was heavy handed, that was a feather compared to this. I highly recommend for my dear readers to place pillows on their desks before reading on.
"As Cole stared at the tiny bodies, sadness flooded through him. The sparrows were so frail, helpless, and innocent. They hadn't deserved to die. Then again, what right did they have to live? This haunted Cole. Did the birds' insignificant little existences have meaning at all? Or did his?"
And it goes on.
"Cole's eyes grew moist. He couldn't stop thinking about the tiny birds strewn in the grass. Had they suffered before they died? Or did their fragile existence just suddenly stop? And what had happened to their energy when their hearts quit beating? It didn't seem right that now maggots would eat their bodies. Or maybe they would just rot into the ground to help the grass grow. Maybe that was the circle Edwin spoke of. You live, die and rot, then something else lives, dies and rots.
Cole understood this cycle. Besides him a tree had died. Already, ants and bugs crawled among the cracked bark and splintered wood. For them life went on. In a few weeks they would make new homes from the wood. With time the tree would rot and dirt. Then a new seed would fall and grow, and another tree would push upward. Years later, that tree would fall back to earth and begin the cycle all over again.
Yes, death was part of living. Cole knew his own body would eventually die and decay and be reduced to dirt. That was okay. That was how the world worked. But how had the world benefited from his living? Was he no better than a tree or some weed? Was his life just fertilizer for the soil?"
So, let us look at this section. If we remember our earlier characterization of Cole, he hates everyone and anything. He cares about nothing except for his own self. He didn't care one whit for nearly killing another human being. In fact he thought the poor boy deserved it. Now in the space of... perhaps hours, with no intervening thought or time between he suddenly worries for the birds. These random birds that he wished that they would die those few hours before hand. And then he suddenly understands the whole circle of life deal, from where we don't know. He just does. Also he was okay with this whole circle of life thing, when before he never even thought about it. Or mentioned it. Or even gave any knowledge of knowing it existed.
But the only way that Cole can become a "good person" is for him to realize these sort of things. However instead of letting him slowly learn about it, while living on the island and thinking about his life, we just get hit on the head with this in about four paragraphs.
The rest of the chapter is Cole wasting away in misery and not dying. Mosquitoes eat at him. He tries to eat grass, but it doesn't stay down, so he eats worms. He looks at his arms covered in mosquitoes and wishes he had the blankets. "How could he have ever tried to burn it? It would have protected him from the cold, the rain, the wind and the insects. It might even have protected him from himself." If we all remember correctly, he tired to burn the blanket because he didn't think he needed it and because he hated everyone. But now he's a different person and understands the circle of life and ... stuff.
And finally, he captures a mouse to eat.
|Touching Spirit Bear|
|Previous ~*~ Home ~*~ Next|