Study Guide

A Hologram for the King Chapter 21

By Dave Eggers

Chapter 21

  • Back in the tent at KAEC, the young people are doing a whole lotta nothing. And now, the AC has died.
  • They also still don't have a reliable wi-fi signal.
  • Alan goes down to the waterline to dip his tootsies in the Red Sea. He marvels over how little development there is on the coastline.
  • His businessman brain kicks in: wouldn't it be a great investment to own property here? How could he lose?
  • Of course, he's momentarily forgotten how broke he is. And that he has terrible investment instincts.
  • He thinks about his boyhood, when he loved collecting seashells. Alan reminisces about taking Kit to the seashore and how he misses her being little.
  • Alan tries to compose that letter to Kit again, this time, in his mind. He's trying to defend her mother, but he's falling flat.
  • He recalls how he met Ruby on a riverboat in Brazil.
  • Basically, she was the only unattached female on board. They just started to hang out together.
  • Alan learned that she wants to save the world, but not in a touchy-feely idealistic way. She's utterly practical. Alan's out of his depth with her.
  • Alan and Ruby married pretty soon after that trip. It wasn't too long before Alan realized that Ruby regretted her choice. She wanted someone to make her world-saving dreams come true.
  • Alan remembers how he'd accidentally swum in the Rio N**** with crocodiles during that riverboat trip. He feels that his young staff would be impressed by this, if they only knew.
  • But it turns out that the crocodile story isn't really heroic. Alan had taken a leaky boat into the croc-infested waters and had to be saved by the riverboat's crew.
  • So much for manliness and good judgment.

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