Study Guide

The Graveyard Book Chapter 8

By Neil Gaiman

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Chapter 8

Leavings and Partings

  • A couple of months ago, in the spring, Bod slowly began losing his ability to see the dead.
  • Now he can see them less and less.
  • Things in the graveyard are becoming different for Bod. Animals that he’s known since he was a baby seem not to know him anymore.
  • Today, Bod goes to visit his friend Alonso Tomás Garcia Jones, to hear more about the many adventures Alonso had before he died.
  • He calls and knocks, but Alonso doesn’t appear. Finally, Bod goes to stick his head through the coffin, but his head just hits stone instead. Ouch.
  • Next, Bod picks some flowers for Mother Slaughter.
  • She says, “You’re a good lad. I don’t know what we’ll do without you” (8.11).
  • He tells her she’s the first person he’s seen today, and wants to know how come. She quickly changes the subject and asks why his forehead is bleeding.
  • He tells her about his run-in with the coffin, and he tries to tell her about losing some of his Freedom of the Graveyard activities, but she changes the subject once again.
  • She wants to know how old Bod is, and he says he thinks he’s around fifteen now. She starts talking about the night he first came to the graveyard.
  • After wiping the blood from his forehead, she sends him on his way.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Owens are both waiting for him on the tomb. He wonders why they look so formal.
  • Mr. Owens says, “Mistress Owens and I spent our lives wishing that we had a child. I do not believe we would ever have had a better young man than you, Bod” (8.22).
  • Bod thanks him for the compliment, but is really confused now. He looks over at his mother, sure he can get her to explain all the weirdness. But – she’s vanished.
  • Before Bod can question him, Mr. Owens sends Bod on to see Silas.
  • On his way over to the chapel, Liza’s voice appears in Bod’s ear. She’s telling him good-bye. She wants him to say he’ll miss her too.
  • He says he will – and wants to know where she’s going.
  • Liza says he’s “too stupid to live” (8.36). (Of course, this is Liza’s way of telling Bod she likes him.)
  • It’s pitch-dark in the chapel. Bod’s lost his ability to see in the dark, and Silas has to light candles for him.
  • Silas has his bags packed, one of which is a large Silas-sized trunk with white lining. Yep, it’s Silas’s bed.
  • Bod learns that Silas is going back to his hometown, where there are lots of problems.
  • OK, now Bod is freaking out. Silas explains that Bod doesn’t need a guardian anymore. Silas has to move on and guard some other stuff now.
  • Silas breaks the news: Bod’s bags are packed too, and Bod is leaving the graveyard, but he can’t go with Silas.
  • Quickly, Bod asks Silas to give him some information about the Honor Guard.
  • Silas says that the Honor Guard’s main activity is to “guard the borderlands.” He says, “We protect the borders of things” (8.60).
  • (Thanks, Silas. That clears up everything.)
  • It’s impossible to squeeze more information out of Silas, but Silas does reveal that he used to be a nastier villain than the Jacks, “worse than any monster” (8.66), but now he’s a changed man.
  • Finally, he gives Bod a wallet with enough money in it to last him long time.
  • Nobody Owens now has a passport in his own name for identification.
  • Bod tells Silas he’s excited to see the world and all it has to offer. He makes Silas promise to call on him if he ever gets into trouble.
  • With his bags in his hand, Bod walks to the graveyard’s main entrance (or exit, in this case) and finds the little gate open. He feels the graveyard telling him good-bye.
  • His mother, Mrs. Owens, is waiting for him. She looks to be crying.
  • For a few moments, he shares his dreams of life in the world with her.
  • In reply, she sings him a song from back when he was a baby.
  • The last line of the song is, “leave no path untaken” (8.97).
  • Bod says he will really try to follow her song.
  • When he tries to hug his mom, all he feels is air.
  • He thinks he might hear his father’s voice say, “I am so proud of you, my son” (8.100).
  • It’s almost light as Bod walks down the hill in the early morning in the middle of summer.
  • He knows he has a whole lot of living to do before he returns to the graveyard.
  • And here’s the last line of the novel: “But between now and then, there was Life; and Bod walked into it with his eyes and his heart wide open” (8.103).

The Graveyard Book Chapter 8 Study Group

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