Study Guide

The Forest of Hands and Teeth Chapter 3

By Carrie Ryan

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Chapter 3

  • After Jed marches Mary to the Cathedral, the Sisters douse her in holy water and she wonders if she'll fry for her newfound atheism. She doesn't—phew.
  • The Sisters tell her she ain't going nowhere, which Mary thinks is stupid. Where would she even go?
  • They bring her to her room, and she thinks it's ironic that her window faces the Forest.
  • She has a staring contest with the outside world until it's dark, and then she cries for her mama. Can't say we blame her.
  • Sister Tabitha checks on her to make sure she's holding herself together.
  • Mary has a love/hate relationship with her life stuck up in her room. On the one hand she likes it because it's pretty nice to have alone time, but she also hates it because, well, she's locked in a small room.
  • She tells herself her mom's stories about oceans and tall buildings in hopes of burning them into her brain.
  • After a week locked away, Sister Tabitha gives Mary the all clear to head back to her home sweet home.
  • When she gets there, she instinctively puts her hand on the Scripture carved into the wood of the door and waits for a magic wand of peace to tap her, but nothing happens. She figures it's because she's an atheist now.
  • Jed opens the door and stares her down. He gives Mary the heebie-jeebies.
  • He gives her the third degree about letting their mom choose to take up residence in Zombieville, and Mary realizes he's mostly mad because—as a Guardian—he will have to kill her if he sees her. She knows that he wishes Mary had made that decision instead.
  • Mary apologizes but then she gets all tongue-tied, and when she tries to hug it out with Jed, he won't let her close.
  • Jed tells Mary she's got a one-way ticket to the Sisterhood.
  • Mary mentions Harry, but Jed says he didn't ask for her.
  • Time for a village rule moment: An unmarried girl can (1) live with family, (2) get spoken for and marry, or (3) join the Sisterhood. The whole last-village-in-the-world thing makes it pretty important for people to marry and raise kiddos.
  • Mary tries her best to stop his decision—she says there's still time, but Jed disagrees. She asks about Jed's wife, Beth, and Jed says she lost the baby. Then he shuts the door in Mary's face, leaving her totally alone.
  • She takes a little walk down history lane to kill time for awhile: When the whole Unconsecrated (zombie) thing started, people built tons of fences throughout the woods, and this is how their village of non-zombies came to exist in the middle of the Forest of Hands and Teeth. The rest—like who lived there first—remains a big mystery.
  • Mary climbs the rundown lookout tower on the tallest hill in the village to look out over everything: fields, houses, Cathedral, and fenced paths through the Forest. That's right—no one knows where the paths go, because they're all gated shut.

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