Study Guide

The Forest of Hands and Teeth Gabrielle

By Carrie Ryan

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Poor Gabrielle. Want to read her whole sad story? Take a trip to the "Characters" section and then come back and join us again here.

But what's so special about this girl? Let's break her down (as a symbol… not Sister Tabitha style):

  • Gabrielle's wearing red… a.k.a. the color of blood. And let's face it—Gabrielle both saw a lot of blood in her own village and caused a lot of bloodshed in Mary's village, so the blood connection is pretty appropriate. Red is also a color of rebellion, though. How? It's different, and the Sisters don't do different in their precious village. Waving that red in front of Mary's face turns her into a bull in a Spanish bullring, making her hungry and desperate to escape the village and discover the truth about both her world and the ocean.
  • Gabrielle's an Outsider, too. Not in the Greaser vs. Soc sense of the word, but literally. She comes from outside of the village. No biggie, right? Wrong. According to the Sisters, there is no outside of the village, so her appearance is a threat to their power and control… and a twinkling lighthouse of hope for Mary. 
  • Gabrielle causes the demise of the entire village. In order to protect the village (or at least their power over it), Sister Creepy feeds poor little Gabrielle to the zombies. Turns out Gabby ain't your everyday flesh-eater though, so she comes back badder than ever. After transforming into a super-zombie with mad attack skills, the entire village collapses to the zombie army. Epic fail for Sister Tabitha.

In short, Gabrielle isn't just a scared girl who tromps into a snow-filled village late at night. She's both a beacon of hope and a harbinger of disaster, depending on who you ask.

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