Summary and Analysis
Chapter 24 - Ronnie
Ronnie discovers that her dad has been taking naps and going over to the church to play the new piano. Jonah and Steve are planning to camp out and protect the eggs. Ronnie makes Jonah dinner and then heads down the beach toward the church. Ronnie finds her father playing a new piano in the church, which is undergoing renovations. Listening to her father play, Ronnie reconsiders her father's motives for playing the piano and realizes that her demand six weeks ago was childish.
Steve is having a coughing fit and says it is because the church is so dusty and then explains that the project has stalled due to lack of funding and that Pastor Harris is looking for someone to house the piano.
Steve realizes that he lost track of time and needs to get home to feed Jonah and prepare to camp out with him. Ronnie tells him that Jonah ate, and as they leave, she notices how tired and frail her father looks.
This chapter chronicles Ronnie's development, and she is attentive to Jonah. After taking care of Jonah, Ronnie turns her attention to her father. As she goes to the church to bring him home, Ronnie begins to understand the importance of music in her father's life, recognizes her own mistakes in the past, and for the first times notices the outward signs of how sick he is. Ronnie begins to consider how "childish" her demands regarding the piano were and realizes more fully the extent of Steve's sacrifice for her. As she listens to him compose, she also is proud of his continued ability to interpret music and consider variations.
Although Jonah at times sounds wise beyond his years, this chapter illustrates that he is indeed just a child, one with physical and emotional needs that need to be attended to. It is Jonah who reveals to Ronnie that Steve has been taking naps in the afternoon. This demonstrates how caught up in her own life Ronnie has been during the past six weeks and illustrates how Steve's health is deteriorating. Jonah's concern is that Steve remains in a good mood for their trip tomorrow.