Chapter 23-25 Summary & Analysis
The start of chapter 23 began with Alma talking to her sister, Evangeline, about how Clay has been acting since he shot and murdered Denzel. Alma describes Clay’s personality being completely dull ever since the incident, “all he does is come straight home from work and sits down in that chair and stays there the rest of the evening.” p. 253. Evangeline tries convincing Alma to talk Clay into leaving the area for a while to get Clay’s mind off the subject of Denzel’s death. Evangeline expresses that “time and distance is the only thing that can heal a wound.” P. 253. Finally Alma strikes up enough confidence to approach Clay and talk to him about leaving the area for a while just to clear his conscious. After Alma talks to Clay, he finally realizes that leaving the town for a couple days would be a good decision and agrees to leave with Alma.
I think that this chapter plays a significant role in the book even though it is one of the shortest of the chapters. Throughout the chapter it is shown how much of an impact that the burden of Denzel’s murder plays on Clay. Alma, the person that Clay loves and cares for the most cannot even put a smile on Clay’s face with anything that she tries to do. Even Easter could not liven up Clay at all. Leaving Free Creek was a great idea that Evangeline gave to Alma, them leaving would hopefully get Clay’s mind off the subject of the murder and hopefully bring some life back into his personality. Even though Clay get extremely home sick when away from Free Creek for a little, Alma knows that this would be the best for both of them to leave and not worry about anything for a couple days.
This chapter opens up with Alma riding with Clay to the beach for a little break away from Free Creek like Alma suggested they do. Alma sees three crosses, one solid white and two others yellow, planted into a hillside of a mountain that grabbed her attention. These crosses served as a landmark of leaving Free Creek. In the second half of this chapter Clay is reminiscing about the memories he pieced together of his mothers murder. “Little flashes came to his eyes: the car fishtailing over icy roads, his mother’s gloved hands folded over his, the woman’s face turning into that of an old woman, sparks flying out of the end of a pistol, blood on the snow” p. 260 expresses the flashbacks he is having about his mothers murder when he was 4 years old.
This was also an important chapter in this novel. This chapter shows how Clay is still feeling about murdering Denzel. He is driving to the beach to escape from Free Creek, and to also escape the anxiety coming from the murder, but all along the way to the beach Clay seems to be completely blinded by everything along the ride, still haunted by the fact that he killed a man. The sentence “All that he could think about was the movie that played out in his mind the day he shot Denzel” p. 259 expresses that nothing could grab his attention, not even Alma, on the long ride to the beach. Anything he passed, anything Alma had said to him just did not trigger in his brain. The second half of the chapter brings back his memories of the day his mother was murdered and this is putting a bigger stress on himself because he feels he has done just as wrong Glenn did. He simply cannot forgive himself for the sin that he had done. Clay says on p. 255 “ That’s the one thing I never wanted to do, kill somebody. The one thing I though I’d never have to do.” This let’s me to believe that he is in utter shock that he actually took somebodies life away just as his mothers was taken. If his mother was not killed by murder I don’t believe that him killing Denzel would have taken such a beating on him as it is doing now.
This chapter starts off with Clay and Alma arriving at the beach...