Study Guide

Animal Dreams Chapter 17

By Barbara Kingsolver

Chapter 17

Peacock Ladies at the Café Gertrude Stein

  • Emelina and Codi are driving Loyd's truck to Tucson for a fundraiser. They're selling dozens of peacock piñatas made by the ladies of "Stitch and B****" in order to finance their campaign against Black Mountain's dastardly plan to dam up the river.
  • Codi was surprised when they invited her along to help, and she asked Emelina to come and take a few days of kid-free vacation with her for the first time in thirteen years.
  • The "Stitch and B****" ladies are awesome. They make friends with everyone in Tucson, from a bag lady named Jessie to a cop named Officer Metz.
  • The trip is super successful. The ladies decide to come back in ten days with five hundred more piñatas, except now each one is to come with a written history of Grace.
  • To Codi's surprise, the women elect her in absentia to write this history.
  • Emelina and Codi are staying with Carlo in the apartment Codi and Hallie used to share with him.
  • Carlo looks kind of pale and frail to Codi after all this time, and distinctly not well as well muscled as Loyd.
  • Carlo says he misses Codi, and he asks how her blindness nightmares are.
  • Codi hasn't been having them.
  • Then Carlo asks Codi if she wants to go with him to Colorado to sew people's faces back on when she's done in Grace. Such romance.
  • While Carlo and Codi are talking, a news segment comes on TV—the Peacock Ladies and their piñatas are on the news, but Codi still feels bummed, because she doesn't have a direction in life.
  • Codi writes a letter to Hallie and says that Hallie is like God because she's so brave.
  • In the morning, Codi goes off alone to mail her letter and ends up at a café having coffee. While she's there, this sleazy guy hits on her by being like, Hey, I bet you're almost as smart as me. This makes Codi realize that she's been trying to please everyone around her since she was a little girl.
  • In an effort to move things in the right direction, Codi tells the guy to get out of her face.
  • Emelina and Codi head back to Grace from Tucson.
  • In the car, Emelina reveals to Codi that Loyd was married once for a couple of years to a woman named Cissie, who didn't deserve him.
  • Emelina and Codi stop on their way at a bunch of caves. While they're inside, the guide turns out the lights for a moment so that they're standing in pitch black, and Codi realizes that her reoccurring dream isn't actually about blindness, but about the fear of having no identity—which would make sense, you know, if she were maybe paying attention to theme.

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