Study Guide

The Forest of Hands and Teeth Chapter 9

By Carrie Ryan

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Chapter 9

  • Mary is going ca-razy with curiosity about Gabrielle.
  • She hasn't seen her in the window again, but the Sisters are all whisper-happy, so she knows Gabby is still in the building.
  • A Sister fetches Mary and brings her to Sister Tabitha's office. Gulp.
  • When she arrives, Harry is standing with Sister Creepy and looking glum. Mary thinks Travis must be dead.
  • Nope—Sister Tabitha tells Mary that Harry has spoken for her. Instead of being happy, though, Mary jumps on the anger train, headed straight for Harry, because now she's in love with Travis, so this is a stupid time to ask for her hand.
  • Sister Tabitha tells her she's approved their union, and that they will marry in the spring Brethlaw celebration. Mary tries to sputter something about her duty to God, but Sister Tabitha tells her it's more important for her to serve him by having babies.
  • This thought makes Mary feel sick to her stomach.
  • She almost rejects the courtship, but she realizes it's either Harry… or the Sisterhood, complete with Sister Creepy, for the rest of her life. Gag.
  • Sister Tabitha offers them time alone, but Mary practically snarls at Harry with her eyes, so he declines.
  • Mary returns to her room and has a rage tantrum by herself, thinking about how everything has changed in the past few months.
  • She stomps upstairs to see Gabrielle but runs into Cass instead, leaving Travis's room.
  • After a girl hug, Cass reminds Mary that Travis is hers and Harry is Mary's.
  • Cass tells her that she fell in love with Harry, and she thought for sure he would ask for her… but then he asked for Mary. It's a love triangle, folks.
  • Mary doesn't understand, so Cass explains that Sister T gave her the option to opt out of her arrangement with Travis, but then Harry asked for Mary, so Cass abandoned that idea.
  • Cass knows Mary loves Travis, and Mary tries to make things right somehow—she figures there must be a way.
  • There isn't, though, and Cass respects good ol' Harry's decision, so if he wants her with the Travster, she'll do it.
  • Mary insists that she can do something to turn things around, but Cass isn't having it. She refuses to do anything to hurt Harry, and reminds Mary that Travis won't betray his brother either. Things seem to be going from bad to worse.
  • Mary tells Cass that these arrangements aren't fair since they don't love the men they're getting hitched to.
  • Cass seems to be better versed in the ways of village life though, and reminds Mary that "marriage is not about love… it is about commitment and compromise and caring" (9.60). Talk about romantic.
  • Mary wants to argue some more, but Cass has a Medusa look about her. Shiver—Mary can't help but be scared of her.
  • Mary realizes that though this whole deal basically locks her into a rotten life, Cass has a point—there's nothing Mary can do.
  • Cass tells Mary to let Travis go. Now.
  • Mary feels suddenly afraid of losing Cass and asks her to be her BFF forever. Cass says yes.
  • Mary runs down the hall to Gabby's room, but she's gone; all that's left of the Outsider is her name and the markings XIV on the window. Mary rubs them away.
  • Mary still has to live in the Cathedral until she gets married, which she thinks is because Sister Tabitha's got her eye on her. Whatever—Mary still looks through the whole Cathedral for Gabby… but she's gone.

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