Study Guide

Where'd You Go, Bernadette Part Seven: The Runaway Bunny

By Maria Semple

Part Seven: The Runaway Bunny

  • When Bee returns to Galer Street for the first time on Monday, February 21, she finds Bernadette's letter waiting for her in her locker.

  • She also shows her book to a teacher named Mr. Levy, who suggests that she finish it as her "spring research project" (7.3).

  • We're now finally able to read Bernadette's letter to Bee, which is dated Friday, January 7.

  • Bernie tells the story about how Audrey rescued her, thereby transforming from her personal "devil" to her "angel" in the process (7.7).

  • Bernadette assumed that Bee and Elgin were still going to Antarctica, so she tried to meet them at the airport the next day, ultimately boarding the flight as a last-ditch effort.

  • Still unsure, Bernadette goes ahead and boards the cruise ship. In this solitude, she starts feeling better, with "no racing heart, no flying thoughts" (7.24).

  • She befriends a scientist named Becky who's heading to the Palmer Station. Over copious Pink Penguins, Becky reveals that they're building a new research station there.

  • Bernadette is inspired. Her experience building with minimal materials is a perfect background for constructing a geodesic dome in the harshest place on the planet.

  • So she decides to stay. Like Elgin and Bee, Bernadette sneaks onto a Zodiac and heads to Palmer Station in the dead of night, claiming to the residents that she too is a scientist.

  • It doesn't take long for that ruse to crumble. Ever tricky, Bernadette talks the scientists into letting her stay in exchange for helping them design their new research station.

  • But there's a catch: "'nobody with wisdom teeth is allowed at the South Pole'" (7.79). Looks like Bernadette is getting that dental surgery after all.

  • She tells Bee that they're moving out of Straight Gate when she gets back. They'll be donating it to Galer Street School for their new campus, which is much needed after the mudslide debacle.

  • Bernadette also says that she forgives Elgin, even with the whole Soo-Lin thing.

  • She also tells Bee that she shouldn't go to boarding school, which we already know turns out to be the case away.

  • Finally, Bernadette says that Seattle isn't that bad after all. That must've been hard for her to say.

  • Despite everything that has happened, Bernadette writes, she's excited to return home and rebuild her life with Bee and Elgin. It'll be a whole new beginning.

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