Study Guide

Animal Dreams Chapter 9

By Barbara Kingsolver

Chapter 9

The Bones in God's Backyard

  • Codi goes back to high school—this time as a biology teacher instead of as an outcast in orthopedic shoes.
  • Codi teaches her first class, during which she immediately gains the attention of her students by bringing out a skeleton.
  • Back at Emelina's house, the whole family hangs out in the kitchen while Grandma Viola has her meeting with the "Stitch and B****" club out in the living room. They're talking about the fruit trees.
  • Emelina asks Codi to look at her son Mason's hand—even though she's not a licensed doctor—and it turns out that she knows what to do.
  • The women talk about high school and about how Doc Homer used to make both Codi and Hallie wear orthopedic shoes because he was obsessed with the bones of the foot, like a total weirdo.
  • Codi blames the shoes for her lack of dates in high school, but Emelina says that the real reason no one asked her out is that they were intimidated by her brains.
  • Emelina gives Codi a letter from Hallie. It tells the story of her trip down to Nicaragua.
  • On her way south, Hallie saw a man selling shrimp on the beach who had a weighted set of buckets slung over his back. One was full of shrimp, and one was full of water. Every time he sold some shrimp from one bucket, he drank the same amount of water from the other, so his load stayed balanced.
  • Hallie thinks this is the coolest thing she's ever seen.
  • Hallie tells Codi about all the refugees she's seeing from Central America, and Codi thinks about how Hallie is way more empathetic and sensitive than she is, and about how Hallie always wants to fix problems, while Codi wants to run away from them.
  • Later in the week, that awesome dog from the party shows up at Codi's house. Turns out it's Loyd's dog.
  • Loyd shows up, too, with that beer he promised Codi.
  • Loyd's waiting to head out on a train, and he tells Codi about being a train engineer and about his dog, Jack.
  • Jack is half coyote, and he's basically the best dog ever.
  • Loyd tells Codi about his mom, who lives up in Pueblo country, where he spent time as a kid with his brother Leander.
  • Codi never knew Loyd had a brother.
  • Turns out Leander was Loyd's twin, and he's been dead for years.
  • Codi remembers another dog she once knew. It belonged to a refugee woman who had stayed with her and Hallie in Tucson. The woman had been tortured, and she was eventually arrested and sent back to San Salvador.
  • Fun.
  • Loyd asks Codi to go to "see about some game birds" with him in a week (9.135).
  • This is how super hot macho dudes in Arizona ask women on dates, so Codi says yes, and then Loyd walks off with his dog to go drive trains.

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