Study Guide

The Forest of Hands and Teeth Chapter 8

By Carrie Ryan

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Chapter 8

  • After three days of zipped lips, Mary can't take it anymore. She tries to see Travis, but Sister Creepy stops her and gives her a nice little lecture.
  • She says Travis's fever is back so he's off-limits and has been moved; she also says that Mary is a curious little thing, which can cause serious problems.
  • Mary wonders what the Sisters know and don't tell the rest of the village folks.
  • Sister Tabitha pulls Mary into a room and tells her that the reason the Unconsecrated even exist is because people tried to cheat God by cheating death, which is a major no-no. So God now punishes them with zombies.
  • She starts to get a little wild-eyed, and grabs Mary by the shoulders as she goes off about how they are survivors and they have to do anything to survive.
  • Even if that means tossing her to the Forest, Mary realizes. Rats.
  • Mary keeps her trap shut and realizes that she might as well be an Outsider herself—she just doesn't fit in in their village.
  • And then Mary realizes that since Sister Creepy doesn't trust her, she's doomed to a life of Cathedral grunt work. Oh joy.
  • Sister Tabitha tells Mary that she needs to figure out a way to fit in, 'cuz she ain't gonna find any answers to her questions. Oh yeah—and by the way—if Mary keeps on keeping on with her curiosity, she'll cause the destruction of everything and everyone. No pressure or anything.
  • Sister Creepy explains that the only reason they've survived so far is by following God and maintaining order.
  • She warns Mary to leave the Travster alone—she knows Mary's got the hots for him, but she can't break tradition.
  • Mary feels like she's about to spontaneously combust. Travis is the only thing she's got left, and now Sister Tabitha is taking him from her.
  • Apparently the Sisters carry the load of memories so the villagers don't have to (can anyone say The Giver? Let's give Jonas a little shout-out… ). Mary questions Sister Tabitha about why the villagers aren't trusted to know the truth about the past.
  • Sister Tabitha tells her about the people of the past who killed and stole and made life pretty darn hellish, and explains that the village only survived because the original Sisterhood took that hell and transformed it into a heaven.
  • Time to pull out the big guns: Sister Tabitha tells Mary that it's people like her that cause destruction, and accuses her of being willing to love Travis even if it hurts everyone else. She warns Mary that love can lead to pain and horror, and even plays the look-what-it-did-to-your-parents card (8.37).
  • She tells Mary that the village is all about commitment, not love. Mary's completely shocked—she had no idea Sister Tabitha knew her actions and thoughts.
  • Sister Tabitha tells Mary that she better repent, or else, and Mary just about has a fear meltdown.
  • Finally, Sister Creepy tells the Marymeister that she can leave the Cathedral, but that she'll always be watching her (Big Brother style).
  • Sister T leaves the room, and Mary heads to the bed like she did when Travis was there; she smells the pillow to see if she can let go of him.
  • Nope—Mary knows she's a goner, and that she'll never give him up, no matter what.
  • Mary starts to freak out and attack the room, but stops when she hears a knock on the wall… it's
  • the Outsider.
  • The Outsider and Mary have a conversation, and Mary finds out that her name is Gabrielle and that she's not Infected.
  • Mary's about to ask more, but starts crying instead, and then there's someone in the hallway so Mary grabs the sheets and skedaddles out of there.
  • She heads out to the graveyard and sees Gabrielle in the upstairs window. Gabby looks just like Mary, except she's a little taller and wears a crazy bright red vest.
  • Gabby leaves the window and Mary takes a walk out to the hill and watchtower. She tries to see beyond the Forest, but to no avail. She feels like she's just a speck in the middle of a never-ending zombie Forest. Yuck.
  • She thinks about the ocean, and she realizes now that she's seen Gabby that their village folks aren't the only people left in the world, which makes her feel pretty excited.

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