The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963
by Christopher Paul Curtis
Analysis: What's Up With the Ending?
The last chapter brings us back to Flint a few weeks after the bombing. The Watsons' physical journey has ended, but the emotional journey is far from over—especially for Kenny.
Kenny withdraws from the family; he hides behind the couch and won't talk to anyone about what he saw in the church or how he's feeling. That is, until his heart-to-heart with Byron in the bathroom. In this short scene, we see how much Byron really has changed. He's finally the loving big brother that Kenny has been wanting all this time. Plus, we learn what's been going on with Kenny. Now, this conversation doesn't magically make everything all better (if only it were that simple), but it is Kenny's first step toward accepting what happened.
And the final moments of the novel give us a few clues that the Weird Watsons are going to be okay after all. Most importantly, Kenny decides to get his dinosaurs back from Rufus. When he gave the dinosaurs away, Kenny was essentially giving up on his childhood. He felt like he was too mature to play with toys after what he saw in the church. But when he decides he wants the dinosaurs back, he's giving his childhood a second chance. And you know what? Kenny's decision to keep living and to keep being who he is in spite of the terrible things he saw is a pretty grown-up choice.