Study Guide

A Northern Light Chapter 27

By Jennifer Donnelly

Chapter 27

hispidulous

  • Later in May, as Beth and Mattie walk to the Hubbards, Beth asks Mattie for the word of the day—hispidulous, meaning covered in bristly short hairs—and then says that their father's face is like that. Beth says that she's glad Mattie's not going to college, and Mattie tries to think of her future, the real one, not in college.
  • When they arrive at the Hubbards, Mattie and Beth find the kids outside in the rain.
  • Tommy says that his ma and Mr. Loomis are fixing the stove, but when Mattie checks the window before walking in the house, she finds Mr. Loomis having sex with Emma Hubbard against the stove.
  • Mattie yanks Beth off the porch and tells Tommy that she'll be by later, when the stove is fixed. As Mattie and Beth walk home, Mattie thinks that what she saw wasn't making love—it was too animalistic. And she knows that Tommy's aware of the situation, though his brothers and sisters aren't.

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