Summary and Analysis Chapter 29



The next week is stressful for both Will and Ronnie; Ronnie is uncomfortable with Will's actions, while he is concerned that Marcus might contact the authorities. In addition, Susan is particularly cold toward Ronnie the two times they see each other. Ronnie is also concerned about the end of summer: Will and Kayla are going off to college, and Ronnie is left with uncertainty. Before falling asleep one night, Ronnie has an ominous sense of foreboding.

Soon, Will asks Ronnie what she most wants for her birthday. Although it does not occur on her birthday, the eggs do hatch two nights later. Will and Ronnie manage the crowd that shows up to watch the event.

Ronnie also bonds more with her father. They talk about church, the stained-glass window, his song writing, and Jonah. Ronnie admits that she had a good summer and not just because of Will. As the eggs hatch, Ronnie has numerous feelings. Immediately after Jonah expresses how cool it was to watch the hatching, Steve has a coughing fit, worse than the one he had at the church. Ronnie watches in horror as she hears her father's cough and breathing become heavier and then she and everyone else notices that Steve's face is covered with blood.


Chapter 29 opens a week after the fight. Ronnie is torn between her increased feeling of security with her distaste for violence.

This is the first of a series of juxtapositions between joy and pain that exist throughout the chapter.

Steve recognizes Ronnie's conflicting feelings about the hatching: as much as she is looking forward to it, she resents — if only for a little bit — having to share the event with strangers who have had no part in the care of the nest. Steve's observation demonstrates how in tune he is with his daughter and also serves as a validation of Ronnie's feelings, for she needs to learn that being an adult includes balancing competing emotions and feelings.

It is important to recognize that Ronnie is the one who initiates the conversation about Steve's song and the completion of the stained-glass window — she is finally taking an interest in things that are important in her father's life.

Ronnie's asking about both the song and the window foreshadow the concern that she will have for the completion of both of these things after her father's death.

The conversation that Ronnie shares with her father enables them to get closer than they have been not only this summer but also probably in their entire lives, although her father suffers an attack a little over an hour later.

The mention of the circle of life, which refers to the life cycle of all living things (and is also the title of the opening song to the movie The Lion King), serves as foreshadowing to Steve's impending death. In the movie The Lion King, the young cub has to replace his father as ruler, just as Ronnie is going to have to replace her father as the composer of his final musical creation.

The chapter ends by building suspense as it closes with an image of Steve's face covered in blood.


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