Study Guide

Serena Chapter 21

By Ron Rash

Chapter 21

  • As the months pass, more and more men come to the camp looking for work. The Great Depression is in full swing.
  • Many of the men who don't land jobs sit around just waiting for someone to lose a limb or get in an accident.
  • Serena's belly is getting bigger and crewmembers start bringing her remedies or fruit to help her along, though no one is certain that she actually uses them.
  • She's eight months pregnant when she feels pains in her abdomen one day. Serena's not one to stay home for no reason, though, so Pemberton calls the doc.
  • He comes to the house and examines Serena, telling them it's nothing to worry about—probably just gas.
  • But Serena doesn't feel better. She's still in pain and looks pale, so she goes to bed early.
  • The next morning, she wakes up with blood between her legs.
  • Pemberton rushes her to the hospital, where they are worried about how much blood she's lost.
  • They deliver a baby boy and need to get more blood into Serena—stat. She's already unconscious and will only get worse.
  • Pemberton offers his own blood and the nurse sets up a transfusion kit.
  • He watches as his blood streams from him into the tube and on into Serena, willing her to live. Pretty soon, he's woozy and drifts off.
  • When he finally wakes up, he asks the doctor what's happening.
  • He learns that the baby is dead and it was a close call for Serena, but she will recover. When he asks the doc if the baby would have survived if they'd gotten to the hospital sooner, he says yes.
  • There's one more thing, too: Because they waited so long to come to the hospital (since Dr. Cheney told them there was no need to worry), Serena won't be able to have any more children.
  • Pemberton is devastated and waits by Serena's bed until she wakes up to deliver the news.
  • Before she wakes up, though, he asks where Dr. Cheney is and is told the guy came by see Serena and left to get flowers over two hours ago.
  • Learning the news of what happened to Serena, Galloway disappeared for a while, too. Interesting…
  • When Pemberton tells Serena the news, she says her body knew all along. Pemberton's not sure what that means, but he doesn't ask.
  • She points out that their blood is now combined—just like they always wanted.