Study Guide

The Forest of Hands and Teeth Chapter 23

By Carrie Ryan

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Chapter 23

  • Turns out Gabby's little village has a mighty good system for avoiding zombies (though it obviously didn't work forever): The tree house village has plenty of supplies, and so does the big house Travis and Mary are holed up in.
  • There's a large kitchen, a massive dining room, a collection of samurai-worthy weapons, a back room stocked with enough food for years, and even a little walled-in courtyard where Argos can work on his doggy tan.
  • There are a few bedrooms and besides the zombie baby nursery, as well as a built-in ladder that leads up to an attic.
  • In the attic, Mary finds even more food, weapons, some trunks, and a little white door at the end.
  • She opens it to find a little porch with two railings and an open front. As she peeks out, she instinctively rubs the scripture carved into the doorway.
  • But it's not there. In fact, she realizes there are no signs of religion in the whole house. Does that mean the village's Sisterhood was less restrictive? Non-existent? Mary is baffled.
  • She looks out over the village and can't see anything godly or Sisterhoodly, and she wonders if God can exist without the Sisterhood.
  • She plops herself down with her legs hanging off the porch and has some think-time.
  • Then she realizes she can see Harry at the end of a tree platform a little ways away. It looks like there used to be a rope bridge from the house to the tree house village. Cool.
  • She wonders if they could rebuild the bridge, though doing so would mean less time alone with the Travster, which wouldn't be so great.
  • Harry tries to tell her something, but she can't hear him and she heads back inside.
  • As days go by, Mary feels like she's living in a little private paradise with her lover boy.
  • She almost asks him once about why he didn't come for her back in the day, but then he takes her hand and she doesn't care anymore.
  • All is hunky-dory until Mary secretly decides to crack open one of those trunks in the attic.
  • It's full of gorgeous dresses, and when Mary tries one on, it feels so comfy and glamorous.
  • She starts to think about what the woman who the dress belonged to must have been like… taller than her, bigger arms… you get the picture.
  • Suddenly, Mary has to know everything she can about this woman, so she runs over to the platform and checks out the zombies below, trying to find the dress-owner in the crowd.
  • Not gonna happen—the zombie mosh pit is pretty much impossible to sort through.
  • Mary doesn't care, though, because she's totally obsessed. She runs downstairs and grabs a spear, then heads back to the second floor. She tries to pick apart the zombies with the spear.
  • She's totally freaked out, searching through the bodies outside and shouting at them.
  • Travis pulls her away from the window, and Mary wonders if maybe the woman escaped like Gabrielle. She wonders if maybe she's still out there on the paths, and if perhaps she is supposed to find her.
  • Travis grabs Mary's shoulders, begging her to make some sense.
  • Mary starts going off about how someone could have found their village, could be wearing her clothes and not even know that she's still alive.
  • She starts pacing around, freaking out about who will remember everyone's stories.
  • Travis tries to talk some sense into her, and asks her why this is suddenly so ridiculously important to her.
  • Mary says it's because no one will know what the woman who lived in the house was really like, and if that's true, then no one will know anything about Mary, either.
  • The Travster reminds her that he knows her.
  • Mary closes her eyes out of pure bliss—just kidding. She closes her eyes because she's scared that Travis will read her thoughts. What are those thoughts, you ask? That he and his love ain't enough for her.
  • Travis hugs Mary and asks her if he's enough for her. She nods, but she can tell that he knows the truth.
  • She still hopes her realization won't last forever.

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