Study Guide

Lucy: A Novel Chapter 3: The Tongue

By Jamaica Kincaid

Chapter 3: The Tongue

  • Steamy alert: Lucy recalls her first experiments with French kissing when she was fourteen. Actually, the anecdote is a lot more humorous than steamy.
  • Lucy feeds Miriam, the youngest of the kids. Miriam is less than thrilled with the menu of stewed plums and yogurt, but Lucy tries her best to entice her to eat by telling her that eating the slop will give her magical powers.
  • It's the beginning of the summer, Lucy tells us, and she, Mariah, and the kids are still hanging out at the lake house where Mariah grew up. Lewis has decided to grace them with his presence.
  • As Lucy continues to feed Miriam, she watches Mariah at the kitchen sink. She notices how old Mariah looks.
  • Lewis comes into the room and starts making out with Mariah. Lucy thinks that neither of them really seems that into it and that they're just putting on a big show.
  • Lucy lets us in on some of her impressions of Lewis as she continues to watch Mariah and Lewis.
  • Ring-ring. It's Mariah's friend Dinah on the phone calling to remind her about a picnic benefit thing for the endangered marshland.
  • The sight of Mariah and Lewis making out has reminded Lucy of the French kissing recollections that opened the chapter. That, in turn, leads her to think about some more of her early sexual experiences.
  • We get a glimpse of Lucy's average day at the lake house as she makes lunch for the kids and then walks them through the woods to get to the lake. The thought of walking through the woods reminds Lucy of home and she shares a few memories of her mother.
  • Lucy tells us that one day after she'd gotten to the lake with the kids, they saw Mariah's friend Dinah. Lucy is not a fan of Dinah.
  • Dinah is happy to see the kids, but she pretty much ignores Lucy.
  • Lucy thinks about how Mariah reminds her of her mother.
  • Before she went away to the lake house, Lucy tells us, she had made a friend named Peggy. Mariah originally thought Peggy was a bad influence, but she notices that Lucy misses her. So Mariah decides to throw a party in the hopes that Lucy can make some new friends.
  • Party time! Dinah brings her brother Hugh to the party. Right off the bat, Lucy is totally into this guy.
  • Lucy and Hugh go outside to a secluded area to "talk." No, seriously, they do talk. . .for a few minutes before they start making out. And we're talking serious making out: before we know it, they're both naked.
  • Okay, so it's not completely spelled out what these two actually do out there on the lawn. But Lucy almost immediately starts worrying that she may be pregnant so ... well, you figure it out.
  • Lucy decides to chill out and not to stress too much about the possibility that she might become a teen mom.
  • Mariah is really into saving the marshland from developers who want to build on it, Lucy tells us.
  • Lucy also reports that Lewis is pretty annoyed that some animals are eating up the vegetable garden he set up. He thinks that the culprits are a family of rabbits that Mariah and the kids have been inviting up to the house.
  • One night at dinner, Mariah and Lewis get into an argument about the bunnies and Lewis totally flips out.
  • Miriam starts to bawl and Lucy tries to comfort the poor kid. Then she takes the all of the kids up to her room to play cards.
  • A few days later, Mariah and Lewis leave to go to the marshlands. Shortly after they pull out of the driveway, Lewis runs over a rabbit.
  • Way to go, Dad. The kids are super upset.
  • They bury the rabbit in a ceremony. A ceremony for a rabbit? Seriously? Lucy thinks that's pretty lame and doesn't attend.
  • Mariah is miffed at Lewis because she, of course, thinks that he intentionally killed the rabbit despite his adamant denials.
  • One day, Dinah stops by. Lucy notices that Lewis seems to light up at the sight of her. Hmm, Lucy's suspicions are aroused.
  • After a while, Mariah and Lucy leave the room together, but Lucy goes back in to get something she forgot.
  • Suspicions confirmed: Lucy walks in to see Lewis and Dinah making out.
  • Lewis's indiscretions remind Lucy of her own father's very colorful sexual history.
  • Lucy tells us that a month before she left the lake, she "said goodbye to everything." Will she miss the lake? Not a bit, she tells us. What about Hugh? Nope, she won't miss him either.
  • During her final make-out session with Hugh, Lucy thinks about some of her other kissing experiences.

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