Exams are over for everyone now and most of the girls have gone on vacation too.
Boq is still working at the library with two other guys: Crope and Tibbett, who are most likely gay, though the book never quite says so. They are both high-spirited and fun and enjoy watching the men's rowing team practice in the afternoon. Boq finds them amusing.
The boys run into Galinda and her friends one day, and a very awkward conversation ensues.
It gets so awkward that Boq finally suggests, "Shall we organize a duel and kill each other instead?" (220.127.116.11). Galinda doesn't laugh at this.
The group briefly discusses Dillamond, and Boq says he wishes he taught at the boys' school.
Finally the girls leave, gossiping loudly about Boq.
A week later Boq is hanging out at the local Starbucks equivalent and reading the paper.
Munchkinland is still in a drought and there's talk of building a giant canal from the Vinkus region. People think the Wizard is nuts for proposing this.
There's also a lot of political and religious repression going on in Oz now. Boq thinks of secession, and Elphaba fittingly appears, as if the word summoned her.
Boq invites her to sit down.
The two have a lengthy conversation.
Elphaba gives Boq a rundown on her family: Melena is dead; she has a younger brother; and her sister, who is crippled, is coming to Shiz in a few years.
Boq insists he'll keep fighting for Galinda's affections.
Elphaba admits that she likes Galinda but implies that Boq can do better – Galinda is too shallow.
The two then have a long discussion about Doctor Dillamond and his work. Elphaba is working as his assistant over the summer.
Dillamond is studying the differences between Animals and humans. He wants to find the origin of Animals and see if they share things with humans on a genetic level.
Some of Dillamond's science is reminiscent of that of two famous real scientists: Charles Darwin and Gregor Mendel, who is known as the "father of genetics." Both of these scientists studied how species developed over time, which is basically what Dillamond is doing with the Animals. You can read more about Darwin here, and you can read more about Mendel here.
Elphaba hopes that if Dillamond can demonstrate commonalities between Animals and humans, the Wizard will stop oppressing the Animals:
"If he can isolate some bit of the biological architecture to prove that there isn't any difference, deep down in the invisible pockets of human and Animal flesh – that there's no difference between us – or even among us, if you take in animal flesh too – well, you see the implications." (18.104.22.168)
Boq offers to help Elphaba get materials for Dillamond from the library where he works. (Women aren't allowed to use that library.)
Elphaba excitedly thanks him and rushes off.
Boq notices that there aren't any Animals out on the street.