Study Guide

Homecoming Part 2, Chapter 9

By Cynthia Voigt

Part 2, Chapter 9

  • The next morning Dicey wakes up and thinks. She can tell their grandma doesn't want them to stay, but at the same time, it also doesn't seem like she wants them to go. Otherwise, she wouldn't have talked to Dicey or invited them for the night, right?
  • So Dicey decides on a plan. She lets the other kids know that they'll do odd jobs around the house—as long as they keep looking useful, their grandmother will let them hang around.
  • That day, the kids work on pulling down the honeysuckle vines that are growing all over the outside of the house (and making it look pretty rundown), starting out really early so they don't wake up their grandma.
  • When they head in to see what there is to eat for breakfast, their grandma is up. She makes them pancakes and tells them that she liked the honeysuckle where it was.
  • But James points out that you can't just let honeysuckle grow all over the place since it's a parasite and wrecks things.
  • Well, pulling it down will take all day, their grandma tells them. Dicey sure hopes so.
  • Once they've finished, they haul the vines down to the marsh and go for a nice long swim; James suggests that they trim the honeysuckle around the barn.
  • Dicey heads into the barn to hunt down some clippers and tries not to look at the sailboat just sitting there, all lovely and beautiful.
  • That night, their grandmother makes them a special dinner… and mentions that they'll probably be moving on tomorrow.
  • Well, there's still a lot of work to do done, Dicey says, what with all that honeysuckle on the barn still.
  • That night, the Tillermans tell their grandmother about some of their adventures and misadventures on the road. The old lady is impressed—these kids are scrappy.
  • The next day, the kids pull more honeysuckle and patch the screens on the porch and help with dinner.
  • Of course, tomorrow, they'll be leaving, right? Abigail wants to know.
  • Well, there's still a whole bunch of screens that need patching.
  • On the third day, they straighten up inside the house. James finds a whole library and Abigail tells the kids that her husband loved to read, though all that knowledge just made him feel arrogant and superior to other folks. Not good.
  • That night, it rains and Dicey wakes up to find Maybeth is awake, too. Seems the little sister has hurt her arm while they were working; Dicey hopes it'll mend on its own. Fingers crossed.
  • It's raining the next day, so Abigail tells the kids that they can help her can fruits and vegetables.
  • But at breakfast, Maybeth spills milk, and Abigail is annoyed and suspects that something really is wrong with Maybeth.
  • Dicey defends her sister—her arm is just hurt—at which point Abigail hurries to get some bandages and patch up her little granddaughter. She assesses the injury as a stuained tendon, and assures them that it will be okay.
  • As the Tillermans help their grandma can, she tells them about the town. It used to be a fancy seaside town where rich people lived, but it went downhill over the years. Oh, well.
  • That night, Sammy sort of wanders off; Dicey can't find him and starts to get a little frantic looking around.
  • Their grandmother is upset. Sammy is a real troublemaker, isn't he? That's what Cousin Eunice said in her letter.
  • Dicey defends her siblings—they're not at all like what Cousin Eunice thought. Even though she said it was her duty to take them in, she clearly didn't like the kids.
  • Abigail says that she never answered Eunice's letter, but she will now; she'll have to tell her that the kids are there in Crisfield.
  • Just then, Sammy bursts in. Dicey is furious—she was worried about him, and he needs to tell her next time he just wanders off. Sammy agrees.
  • Abigail asks if Dicey's going to punish him, saying he needs it or else he'll be bad his whole life.
  • But Dicey doesn't agree—she thinks he made a mistake and he'll be fine. Sammy's a fighter and Dicey's glad of it; he's going to need the chutzpah to make it in this crazy world.

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