Study Guide

The Forest of Hands and Teeth Chapter 12

By Carrie Ryan

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Chapter 12

  • It's a teeny-tiny room with a bed, tapestry, prayer pillow, desk with a book of Scripture on it, and a rug.
  • Mary heads to the Scripture and flips through a few pages, but she's mostly spaced out.
  • She snaps to and realizes there's itty-bitty, cramped handwriting scrawled on each page. She can't read most of it, but she finds the last words written.
  • They say that "extreme and complete isolation" created a super-zombie, and they had to let her out into the woods to learn more (12.8).
  • Mary starts to panic again, and she cries and trips backward, slamming into the door, which bangs shut.
  • She thinks the Scripture on the door might make a good chill pill, so she touches it. It's not worn and smooth, but jagged, and she snaps back into non-panic mode.
  • The writing on the door isn't Scripture, though—nope, it's names. And the list ends with Gabrielle's.
  • Mary wants to read more, but suddenly fears getting caught, so she heads back to her room and stares out at the Forest. She feels like her whole life is one big smudged watercolor.
  • She goes to the hill and checks out the village, looking at all the fences and thinking about how they keep them safe but also keep them locked away from their dreams. She thinks that Travis can help her turn it all around.
  • Later on, Mary hangs out in her wedding cottage waiting for Harry; she's bummed because she realizes the Travster probably won't come after all.
  • There's a knock on the door, and Mary feels scared and crazy hopeful at the same time.
  • But it's just Sister Creepy, ready to get her dolled up for the Binding Ceremony.
  • Mary wants to curl up and die, but she doesn't show Sister Tabitha.
  • Mary thinks about her imaginary kids with Travis and Sister T unpacks her bag of goodies onto the bed while talking to Mary.
  • She tells Mary that sometimes you just have to accept things if you're going to survive, and talks about how their ancestors respected the power and need for marriage to survive.
  • Then she drops a big one on Mary: Mary's mother "lost children" (12.39).

The Forest of Hands and Teeth Chapter 12 Study Group

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