Summary and Analysis
Chapter 12 - Ronnie
After spending the night camped outside, Ronnie wakes up sore and remembers the events of the previous day. On her way to the house, she remembers that she left her book on the beach. As she returns to get it, she notices someone in a Blakelee Brakes uniform. That someone is the volleyball player from two days ago. Ronnie finds out that he volunteers for the aquarium and works at his father's brake shop. He introduces himself as Will, but Ronnie does not tell him her name.
Will explains that he is only taping the area and that someone will be over with a cage in a couple of days. This is not good enough for Ronnie, who saw a raccoon hovering around the nest last night, and Will agrees to call the aquarium about it. Steve calls Ronnie to breakfast, revealing where she lives but also giving her a reason to leave. As she walks toward the house, Ronnie glances back, and Will raises an eyebrow in acknowledgment.
Steve makes a vegetarian breakfast burrito and offers Ronnie a Starbucks coffee, while telling her that he is going to hold off on contacting her mother regarding the arrest. Ronnie asks why Steve is being so nice to her. Steve answers her question with his own: "Why shouldn't I be nice to you?" Ronnie knows the answer to that question but does not say it. As Ronnie and Steve eat breakfast, Jonah stumbles in and comments on how the morning is not typical; he is used to people being mad in the morning.
After Ronnie takes a long nap, she searches for Blaze and eventually finds her. Blaze tells Ronnie that she didn't have anything to do with the shoplifting — which is exactly what she told the police. As Ronnie is walking home, she runs into Marcus near the diner. He offers to help clear up her misunderstanding with Blaze in exchange for her getting involved with him. Upset, Ronnie runs home.
When she arrives, she takes a few moments alone on the porch to compose herself before going inside and pretending that everything is fine. She tries to act normal for the rest of the evening, eating a vegetarian dinner and reading after. She notices that Steve is reading the Bible. When she goes to her room for the night, Jonah encourages her to cry, but as Ronnie looks out of the window, she sees a raccoon on its way toward the nest. The chapter closes with the anguished cry, "They didn't put up the cage."
As Ronnie recalls the events of the previous day, she refers to the phone call to her father as "awful." This private admission contrasts with her outward attitude and is an important illustration of the difference between Ronnie's internal self and the self that she presents to the world. It doesn't matter how tough, independent, and callous Ronnie wants to appear to be, she actually does care what her father thinks; otherwise, the phone call from the police station would be no big deal.
Seeing Steve read the Bible enables readers to deduce that his faith may be part of the source of his strength — because of it, he can maintain a calm presence and loving self.
Two important questions are raised about the plot in this chapter: Why is Blaze lying? And what control does Marcus have over her?
Twilight Zone a television series that was a mixture of science fiction and fantasy that usually had an unexpected ending
Placated appeased through concessions
Primordial existing from the very beginning
Empathy intellectually identifying the feelings or thoughts of others; not feeling what others feel but being able to understand their feelings
Psychopathic those having antisocial behavior who were most likely born with temperamental differences such as impulsivity and fearlessness that leads to risk-seeking behavior and an inability to internalize social norms
Sociopathic those having an anti-social personality disorder yet have a relatively normal temperament with erratic criminal behavior
Steve seems to encompass elements of a three-person God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Clearly you intended this, but how do you answer critics who suggest that this distracts from his humanity and thus weakens his character development?
I would argue that the critics are missing the point entirely. While I agree that this might have been an issue in a different novel, in The Last Song, Steve is a character who knows that he's dying and has a certain amount of time to earn his daughter's forgiveness or bond with his son. For Steve, there is no tomorrow. Not only that, but Steve is questioning the meaning of life and wondering if there is . . . more. He's questioning whether there's a God. He wants to believe, he wants to think that his time on earth is simply a journey . . . but he doesn't know for sure and it frightens him. Would it have been more realistic to be concerned with the stock market or job prospects? Of course not. He's worried about his kids, he wants to know that they'll be okay. He wants to believe that there is a God. This is entirely normal. I think most people would be exactly the same way.