Study Guide

Animal Dreams Chapter 16

By Barbara Kingsolver

Chapter 16

Cosima: Bleeding Hearts

  • It's winter in Grace, and the trees are dropping fruits and leaves like crazy.
  • Codi asks around for information about her mother, and Viola tells her that Hallie's birth killed their mother.
  • Viola also tells Codi that their mom looked just like Codi, and that her real name was not Alice, but Althea.
  • Codi asks as a joke if she was "an honorary member of the Doña Althea family" and Viola is all, Yo, I didn't say it (16.17).
  • The "Stitch and B**** Club" invites Codi to speak about the death of the river. The women are frustrated because the men aren't doing anything.
  • The men seem to think that the law will take care of it, but by the time a lawsuit gets through the courts, the town will already be dead.
  • While she's talking, some of the women joke around in Spanish, and Codi responds in English, much to the surprise of everyone there, since even though they've known Codi all her life, they never realized she could understand their Spanish.
  • Codi says that as long as the mountain source of the river is not contaminated, which it's not, the river could recover over time. It just means that the mine has to stop polluting.
  • The women discuss their options for how to get the mines to stop polluting, and to Codi's surprise, their first thought is sabotage.
  • The women are pretty set on dynamiting all the bulldozers, but then they realize that they'd need the men's help for that, and the men won't do it. They decide to start with mass demonstrations.
  • Codi opens up Hallie's most recent letter.
  • Things are getting more and more dangerous in Hallie's part of Nicaragua. Hallie describes the death of three thirteen-year-old girls who were strafed by American helicopters. Basically, the U.S. National Guard cut the girls in half from above.
  • Apparently, the helicopter was shot down, and one of the guardsmen was captured alive.
  • Hallie asks Codi to tell her what she hears about it in the U.S. She's afraid that it will be big news in the U.S. for a day and then forgotten.
  • Instead, it's no news at all. The only thing Codi can find is a brief report about the American who was taken prisoner.
  • The news report is a straight-up lie, saying that this guy was a drug runner rather than an on-duty Guardsman, and it mentions nothing at all about the little girls the U.S. soldiers killed.
  • Codi is weirdly comforted by the lie. It's more evidence that she's more like Doc than heroic Hallie.
  • Meanwhile, Codi is sleeping with Loyd, both literally and euphemistically.
  • Codi and Loyd are fighting because Codi keeps saying kind of racist stuff about him being a Native American. He also worries that she thinks he's dumb, and that she's just using him for sex.
  • Codi tells Loyd that he's not the problem, Grace is. She wants to live somewhere that feels like it wants to take her in, but he thinks her excuses are a crock of bullpucky.
  • Codi's like, I don't know what to do with my life, and no one will tell me!
  • So Loyd is like, I know, we should go cockfighting—and they do.
  • Loyd is super good at cockfighting, but it's brutally violent, and Codi is bummed out by the whole experience.
  • Codi and Loyd talk about it afterwards, and Loyd is all like, Dude, everything dies, and Codi suddenly starts crying because her mom is dead and her sister lives in a place where people gun down thirteen-year-olds for no reason at all.
  • All of a sudden, Codi remembers trying to save the coyote pups and asking her father if they went to heaven when she was a little girl.
  • Codi tells Loyd that basically, people should be better than cockfighting.
  • Loyd thinks about it for a half hour and says that his brother Leander got killed nearby by a drunk guy.
  • Then Loyd thinks for another half hour and tells Codi he's quitting cockfighting. Because Loyd is a man of action, not of words.

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