Study Guide

The Forest of Hands and Teeth Chapter 31

By Carrie Ryan

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Chapter 31

  • Mary wakes with a start and can't remember what it is that woke her up. Then she hears the word again: "Fire!" (31.2). Not a good thing when you're living in a tree house.
  • Jed comes to the door with Jacob over his shoulder to urge Mary out.
  • She pulls her shirt over her face and starts to stumble out, and somebody tugs her out into the fresh air.
  • Everyone is huddled on the platform Cass and Mary chatted on that afternoon. They can see the flames gobbling up the tree house village. Not good.
  • Cass is trying to comfort Jacob, who is sobbing and saying he's sorry.
  • There's nowhere to go—the fire is jumping from tree to tree and torching zombies on the ground.
  • Travis says the dreaded truth: One of them has to take their rope and make a run for it to the path. It's a suicide mission, but once it's tied off, the rest can zip line to safety.
  • Travis can't go because of his messed-up leg.
  • Mary offers to go, but hopes they won't let her. She's in luck.
  • Travis hobbles off to get the rope while Jed and Harry discuss who will go.
  • Mary feels like a schmuck because she's not selfless enough to save everyone.
  • Travis and Mary tie the knots at the end of the platform, and Travis tells Mary that living with Mary in the house was his heaven: "'That is my truth,' he says. 'That is my ocean'" (31.27).
  • Then he's off to take the rope to Harry and Jed.
  • Before Mary has time to think, someone leaps from the platform and tucks and rolls when he hits the ground. He's armed with knives.
  • He runs toward the gate with the rope blowing out behind him.
  • The zombies realize he's there and start to move in.
  • Mary grips the edge of the platform and screams. She wants to cry but sucks it back in and tries to pray by saying, "Please, please, please, please… " (31.34).
  • The running dude falls and gets back up, but he's slow and lopsided because "his body is too broken" (31.35). It's Travis.
  • As Travis runs, the zombies catch up to him and start to dogpile him.
  • Harry and Jed start shooting off crossbows so the Travster can escape the zombie-pile, and for a second Mary feels like everything is peaches and cream, that Travis will be safe and they will live happily ever after at the ocean.
  • Travis hits the ground again, and Mary's dream shatters. She crumples to the ground.
  • But the Travster gets to the gate and scoots inside. He's covered in blood.
  • He ties the rope over a tree branch.
  • Mary can't help herself. She loops her legs around the rope and starts shimmying across.
  • Harry tells her she's crazy—no safety rope, no weapon if Travis becomes zombie-boy before she gets to him.
  • She doesn't care… That is, until she's ready to drop down into Travis's arms, and he looks like he's about to gobble her up.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth Chapter 31 Study Group

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