Study Guide

Nation Chapter 2

By Terry Pratchett

Chapter 2

The New World

  • The next morning, Mau begins burying everyone killed during the tidal wave.
  • He has to carry all their bodies to the sea and release them.
  • Somewhere in there are his relatives, but he retreats deep down inside of himself and behaves almost like a tribal mortician automaton, three words you will probably never see in that order ever again.
  • After everyone is taken care of, Mau sleeps. He wakes hearing voices in his head, thinking the Grandfathers, his proud warrior ancestors, are speaking to him.
  • When the Grandfathers leave him alone, he notices a flat round metal thing (which we would call a plate), half a coconut, and a mango on a stump next to him. Leading to and away are small, toeless footprints.
  • Hear that? It's the sound of our Shmoopy hearts going pitter-pat at the sight of a literary allusion.
  • Could it be the fabled Toeless Mango Fairy visiting him in the night? No, unbeknownst to Mau, it's just a girl wearing shoes.
  • If Mau could read English, he would understand the letters on the plate, which read Sweet Judy.
  • Mau snoops around the forest a bit, looking for answers. Instead, he finds two dead trousermen, i.e., white people in pants (and not $80 yoga pants).
  • The next day, Mau reminisces about his Granddad Nawi, who taught Mau the Shark Word, something that can be shouted underwater to scare off sharks.
  • Hmm, we're thinking that's going to come in handy.
  • Later that afternoon, Mau follows some singing to its source: a ghost girl.
  • The ghost girl shoots at Mau, but the waterlogged gun isn't really up to the task. The bullet just kind of rolls off the table and plunks onto the sand.
  • Elmer Fudd can sympathize.
  • Mau hilariously misinterprets this whole incident. "Thank you for the gift of fire" (2.166), he says, and trots off back to his camp with the gun, using the sparks of the cocking mechanism to start a fire.