Study Guide

Animal Dreams Chapter 2

By Barbara Kingsolver

Chapter 2

Cosima: Hallie's Bones

  • Hallie leaves the house she shared with her sister in Tucson, Arizona, and heads down to Chinendega, Nicaragua with a pickup truck and a pile of books on crop diseases to work in the cotton fields.
  • For the first time in their lives, Hallie is leaving Codi, instead of the other way around, and Codi's pretty devastated. She decides to leave Carlo, her skinny, emergency-room doctor boyfriend of ten years, whose best qualities seem to be workaholism and amaaaaazing eyebrows.
  • Codi's going to Grace, Arizona, the small desert town where she and Hallie grew up.
  • Codi and Carlo met in medical school—turns out Codi has most of a medical degree. She's just shy of doctor. That's a pretty versatile résumé line, apparently, since Codi's been everything from a convenience store clerk to a medical researcher. This time, she's leaving a sweet gig at 7-Eleven in order to teach high-school biology in Grace.
  • In the meantime, Codi's plan is to stay with her best friend from high-school, Emelina Domingos, because even if she plans to care for her father until his eventual death from dementia, she has no intention of living with that emotionally stunted old jerk.
  • Codi arrives in Grace, a town of peacocks and orchards.
  • Wait, peacocks? Yeah, the peacocks are pretty important. According to the local legend of Grace, the town was founded by "the nine blue-eyed Gracela sisters" who came from Spain to marry a bunch of miners in the nineteenth-century. The sisters brought their pet peacocks with them from Spain, and as Codi tells us, "their legacy in Gracela Canyon was a population of blue-eyed descendants and a thousand wild peacocks" (2.24).
  • Once Codi starts tromping through the orchards, things start to get grim: she sees a group of boys attacking a peacock with sticks. On the one hand, she's disgusted by their violence, while on the other hand, she's no hero (that's Hallie's job), so it takes a lot for Codi to tell the kids to stop it with the bird massacre.
  • Turns out it wasn't a bird at all: it was a piñata just like the ones that Codi herself had demolished as a child.
  • Wait, how come Codi can't remember stuff from her childhood?
  • Feel pretty stupid, Codi, don't-cha?

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