Study Guide

The White Darkness Chapter 10

By Geraldine McCaughrean

Chapter 10

A Slight Change of Plan

  • Sym's writing postcards to Nikki and her mother, using special Antarctic stamps and everything.
  • Sym hears a sound—Mimi Dormiere-St.Pierre is crying in the bathroom. She and Sym bond over her loneliness. Poor Mimi lost her fancy phone, so she can't even call home.
  • Sym suggests Mimi go home on the next plane; so many people have been ill that Sym thinks she'll have company.
  • Mimi, who's a writer, says that Manfred is going to film one of her books. What a coincidence…
  • Mimi tries to gossip a bit about Sigurd. When she tells Sym that he's cute, Sym's enormously embarrassed.
  • When they hug it out, Sym tucks her postcards in Mimi's back pocket. Why is she being sneaky about it? Unclear.
  • After a chat with Titus, Sym is back in the tent. Everyone's asleep, and she's reflecting back on the days before her father died. He was drunk and mean.
  • Sym's been thinking about it, and she's pretty sure that Sigurd only likes her because of Victor. She's maybe overestimating Victor's appeal.
  • Sigurd has been hanging around a lot lately, which makes Sym think of a practical joke Maxine played on her once.
  • The joke was that Maxine told some boy that Sym would sleep with him. Great joke, Maxine.
  • Sym wonders if there's something wrong with her. Why isn't she more into boys? She finds them vaguely disgusting.
  • Anyway, Sym's glad to have Sigurd around. She talks to him about Symmes's Hole, and while he doesn't have a lot of answers, he is a good confidante.
  • Sigurd is still convinced that Sym shouldn't call her mother. (Why does he care?) Oh, and they're making out all the time now.
  • Everyone in camp is still ill. Everyone, that is, except Victor, Sym, Manfred, and Sigurd.
  • People are lining up to take the next plane back—they're ready to get home—while Manfred and Victor are there, ready to meet the film crew.
  • Except the film crew isn't there. Hmm… Seems a bit fishy. Manfred says he'll just go fetch them and come back on the next plane.
  • Victor seems pretty indifferent about the whole thing; he says Manfred will just have to catch up.
  • There's a meeting for all the explorers. Sym goes to fetch Sigurd, but he doesn't feel like coming.
  • Sym notes with some surprise that he's packing up. Evidently he's going back with his father for the film crew.
  • In the men's tent, Sym finds one of Uncle Victor's notebooks. It has tiny crazy person calculations and writings in it.
  • Oh, here's Manfred. And guess what? Everyone's going back to civilization. The trip has been cut short because everyone's so ill. Sym seems ambivalent; she's relieved and disappointed at the same time.
  • Sym sets off to find Victor. He seems to be in good spirits.
  • As they walk back to camp, they hear an explosion. It's the plane. Oh dear.
  • One of the passengers, a journalist, was killed in the explosion. We were never even told his name, so R.I.P. nameless guy.
  • No one knows exactly what happened. Understandably, people are upset; one woman even faints twice. The only person who seems okay is Victor. He decides to make everyone some tea.
  • A few hours later, everyone's asleep. Sym decides they're exhausted from all the fear, though she also notes all the empty teacups by each sleeping traveler. Interesting.
  • Sym feels afraid, but she's not sure why. She confident they'll be rescued. She's just afraid.
  • As she tries to get some sleep, she has a quick conversation with Titus: Sym wants to know if he ever worried he would die. He doesn't answer.
  • Sym is interrupted by a masked man. It's Victor, in a special facemask designed for blizzards. He says it's time to leave for Symmes's Hole.

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