Beka Lamb

by Zee Edgell

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What is the summary of Chapter Three in Beka Lamb?

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In chapter three of Beka Lamb, Beka sits in her room and looks out her window, meditating on the landscape outside. She recalls memories of seaside walks with her late friend Toycie, as well as a conversation she once had with her grandmother, who bemoaned the ephemerality of things.

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Beka Lamb, a novel by Zee Edgell, tells the life story of its eponymous protagonist. Beka deals with racial prejudice, social insecurity, and religion. The events of the novel take place when she is fourteen years old but are mostly told through flashbacks.

Chapter three begins with Beka alone in her room. She is sitting on her bed, looking out the window. She feels thankful that her house is high enough so she could see off in the distance. Severe storms have shaped the landscape and appearance of the town, but those who live there loved it. We learn about the different types of people who live in the town, and Beka moves closer to the window to get a better look. She sees a nurse struggling on her bicycle due to the wind and recognizes her as Nurse Palacio, who tried to save Beka's friend Toycie.

Beka and Toycie used to go for weekly walks with Beka’s brothers down to the seaside. Not wanting to get in trouble, they would stay in areas where they were allowed to go, and when they returned home, they longed to one day live in a seafront house.

In another flashback, Beka remembers a conversation she had with her grandmother, who told Beka that nothing ever lasts in this town. Her grandmother told her about a time when she was a young girl and a circus came to town. A polar bear from the circus died after only being in town for two days, which greatly upset her grandmother.

As the rain outside grows heavier, Beka closes her shutters and goes to her grandmother’s room to check her shutters, too. She sits in her grandmother’s rocking chair and tries to remember everything that has happened since April. It is her way of grieving over Toycie and continuing to keep her wake.

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Beka sits on her bed, stirring her coffee and looking out the window. She thinks about the town she lives in and is grateful that her house is high up enough that she's able to see over the other houses; many of the houses in town are built too low and boxed in to do so. The entire place looks a bit temporary and ramshackle due to the damage inflicted by frequent storms.

She sees Nurse Palacio outside, and it takes her back to when her friend was still alive. She remembers Toycie and the walks they used to take together. They'd bring her younger brothers and obediently stay in the safe areas. They didn't want to get in trouble, only to take in the scenery and watch things like boats, sailors, and the ocean. Both Beka and Toycie dreamed of one day living by the sea.

She thinks that coming home from the houses by the sea always made their part of town seem dirtier than before. They would dream about being able to stay in one of the nice houses by the ocean, though few actual Belizian people lived there.

She remembers a conversation with Granny Ivy where her grandmother explained that a doctor who had lived there returned to England. Granny Ivy says nothing lasts there and tells her about a polar bear who died when it came with the circus. She sits in her chair remembering, and decides to try to remember everything that happened since April as a way to hold on to Toycie.

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Summary of Chapter Three:

In this chapter, Beka Lamb enjoys the surrounding view from her room up in the attic. A storm has just started, and as she looks across the town, she is thankful to be given such a birds-eye view of the streets, hawker stalls, and wooden houses. Because her town is prone to hurricanes and thunderstorms, it often takes on the appearance of a temporary camp. The town's inhabitants are made up of six races and various descendants from multi-racial unions.

Beka muses that when Toycie was alive, both enjoyed taking Chuku and Zandy (Beka's brothers) for walks every Sunday evening. Admonished to walk only in safe areas, Beka and Toycie often visited Fort George, a wealthy enclave. There, they sometimes waited for Toycie's boyfriend, Emilio Villanueva, who worked as a substitute waiter at the Fort George Hotel on sporadic Sundays.

Beka's favorite spot was the Southern Foreshore on Southside. There, the girls and Beka's brothers often caught glimpses of fishermen coming in with their catch in the mornings. While the boys enjoyed playing on the beach, Beka loved looking out at the boats around Custom House Wharf. On Sundays, when Beka could choose the itinerary, they often went to the Bliss Institute, where the boys could marvel at the artifacts, and Beka could catch glimpses of the books behind the locked, glass doors of the library. Another favorite destination was invariably Government House, with its imposing mansion, gorgeous flora, and secured grounds.

There were two clubs on Barracks Street, one for the creoles and the other for white citizens and expatriates. If Beka's father was on the veranda of the creole club, he often admonished the girls to stay on the side of the Southern Foreshore, which was safer. The girls always returned from their beachfront excursions longing for the day when they would be able to live by the ocean.

Back to the present, the rain has increased in strength, and Beka has to shut the glass windows. She sits back down and resolves to remember every single event that has happened to her since the previous April. In keeping alive her memories, she hopes to keep alive her own memory of her beloved friend, Toycie.



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