Study Guide

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing: Traitor to the Nation, Volume I: The Pox Party Part 2, Chapter 32

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Part 2, Chapter 32

  • Refugees from Boston are everywhere; everyone up and down the coastline is preparing for the war.
  • In the Virginia Colony, the Governor took over the local militia's gunpowder supply during the night—he said he was trying to prevent slaves from having access to the militia's munitions, but the local rebels don't trust him, and think he was trying to disarm them so that they'd be helpless against a slave uprising.
  • In the Gitney house though, there's this weird, muted kind of joy.
  • People are starting to regain their health—except for Cassiopeia, that is, who's starting to smell because of all her open, infected sores.
  • Mr. Gitney has finally taken an interest in finding a cure for her, but it's too late—Cassiopeia can't talk or swallow anymore because of all the sores in her throat.
  • This—by the way—is the beginning of the cross-outs. Throughout the rest of the book, huge chunks of the book are crossed out with angry, heavy, black scrawls—enough so that, most of the time, you can't read what's underneath.
  • This time, the scrawls cover a couple of unfinished sentences; they show that Octavian knows death isn't far off, so he's hoping for a final "interview" with his mother, that the living are responsible for some type of burden (but Octavian doesn't finish that thought).
  • The next paragraph, though, is clear.
  • Octavian writes that the disease is so bad that you can't tell anymore that it's Cassiopeia because her face is so messed up.
  • There's no decency to this type of ending; in fact, the whole thing just seems like some descent into a demonic world of the body, in which the body overtakes anything that used to be graceful and human.
  • From here to the end of the chapter—which is three and a half more pages—the paragraphs are all heavily crossed out.
  • A few words can be read though: "When they moved her from her bed so that they might"; and "but it was to no avail."

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