Study Guide

M.C. Higgins, the Great Chapter 12

By Virginia Hamilton

Chapter 12

  • They're up in the big net, which is kind of like a massive spider web made out of rope and vines.
  • From there, they can see everything: the kids climbing on and off the web; the adults going in and out of Ben's house, where his mother serves everyone drinks and dessert.
  • Ben explains how things work on the compound: They grow what they eat (veggies) and buy basic things like milk, flour, clothes, and such.
  • Everyone on the compound is kind of like family, and they're all mostly related, although some aren't. They've also been on the Mound for a really long time, as far back as Ben's grandmother's childhood.
  • Lurhetta totally fits in with everyone on the Mound, especially the kids.
  • M.C. doesn't like it, though, and he decides to get off the web.
  • The other two follow and they go to Mrs. Killburn's house.
  • Mrs. Killburn feeds them sweet potato pie so yummy that M.C. can't resist.
  • The whole place is peaceful, and Mrs. Killburn is super-nice; plus, there's this cute baby who totally charms M.C.
  • Then Mr. Killburn comes home, which makes M.C. tense up.
  • But not Lurhetta.
  • She totally opens up to Mr. Killburn and Mr. Killburn cheerfully explains their philosophy toward the land and vegetables: They don't believe in ownership and they're not into killing for meat (a.k.a. they're the opposite of M.C.).
  • Lurhetta's in awe.
  • Then they go to a barn, where they meet Ben's grandmother (whom M.C. thinks looks "ugly" and "witchy").
  • She's just sitting in the barn, rolling cabbage leaves.
  • M.C.'s uncomfortable and tells them that he needs to go skin the rabbit, which starts the Killburns in on how they don't kill animals.
  • M.C. challenges them about their pro-animal rights stance, but they just kind of laugh at him.
  • Instead, they charm Lurhetta into holding a green grass snake.
  • M.C. decides to go skin his rabbit, while Lurhetta stays behind with Ben and the Killburns.
  • On his way out, Grandma Killburn gives him a whole cabbage, but M.C.'s so bothered by his visit that he tosses the thing once he's away from the Mound.
  • When he gets to the rabbit, he notices that the rabbit looks different from when he left it.
  • The feet have all been cut off.
  • M.C. is totally disgusted that anyone (he thinks it's the Killburns) would cut off the rabbit's feet.
  • He goes home alone, holding the rabbit like a baby and thinking that he'll make the best rabbit stew Lurhetta's ever tasted.

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