Last Updated on April 28, 2021, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1305
The kitchens were short-handed and inmates underfed because so much effort was being put into brewing fuel for the plane. Makepeace felt this was a mistake.
A place was laid for her in the guards' mess. Eben Callard was at the head of the table. Another guard said that Boathwaite had been "too soft" and that all the prisoners needed to be marched into the Zone at once.
Callard asked Makepeace to describe what she had seen in the Zone. When she finished, Callard said there was one thing she had missed—his guards had found the blue flask she had buried, which he now showed to her.
Makepeace was thrown into a cell and repeatedly questioned as to what else the prisoners had found. She insisted that it had only been the flask. After a day and a night, Callard came in.
Makepeace was roped to a chair, and Callard made it clear that he did in fact remember her. She asked what happened to his eyes, and he explained that after Evangeline was overrun, he was run out of town for having raped Makepeace. He went to Magadan on foot and then traveled with a Jewish trader who had come from Polyn. The trader helped Callard and his crowd reach Providence.
Callard, his mother, and his father were attacked in an abandoned apartment by robbers. A gun cartridge blew up and took out one of Callard's eyes. His father was killed. They stayed there for some time, Callard's mother teaching in a school. Then the Jewish trader, Eli, returned and gave them some money to help them get to Barrow, where they had family.
That winter, Eli went back and forth bringing news to the Callards. He married Callard’s mother, and Callard began to work for Eli’s gun-running business. Callard began to send men into the Zone to find things to sell.
Callard’s other eye had a cataract but was not blind, and he could make out Makepeace's face.
Boathwaite, Callard says, had become "soft" and begun to regret sending people into the Zone. Callard, however, felt he had to do this work for his children. He still lived a simple life, despite the planes.
Callard then said that it hadn't been he who had raped Makepeace. A few years earlier, Rudi Velazquez from Evangeline had turned up in Callard's office and confessed that he needed Callard's forgiveness. One night, he had broken into Makepeace's house with a gang of men, and they had raped Makepeace. Callard had taken the blame.
Callard told Rudi that it was Makepeace's forgiveness that he needed, not Callard's. But he also felt that it would not have been Rudi's own decision to break into that house that night. Rudi confessed that someone had sent him—James Hatfield, Makepeace's father. Unable to change his mind about the militia, he paid the men to break into the house and rough the place up so that he could run the men out of town. When Makepeace's father realized he had caused such damage to his daughter, he killed himself.
Callard said that he was not Makepeace's enemy and left her an orange. Makepeace had always wanted to see an orange, but she could not bring herself to eat it.
Later that night, Makepeace told a guard that she had a message for Callard.
The next day, Makepeace was up at dawn. The plane was being refueled, and she was helped into it. After Callard had entered the plane, it took off. Makepeace had offered to show the guards where in Polyn the flasks had come from.
The plane landed in Polyn, and the group set up camp. Apofagato told Makepeace to shave off her hair so that no dust would collect in it and be brought out of the Zone. She also threw away the piece of the previous plane's wing which she had been carrying.
Makepeace crossed back into the Zone, and by the afternoon, she found the place Shamsudin had described, the storeroom where the flasks were kept. She followed Shamsudin's footprints until she found the jars, put four in her bag, and left.
When she got back to the camp, Callard emerged to ask how things had gone. Makepeace explained that there were many more flasks, but it would take some time to get them. She then had to strip naked and be hosed down before stepping into a change of clothes. Her horse had to be killed, too, to prevent contamination.
The shot startled Callard's horse, and Callard reacted in fury, beginning to thrash the horse and call it a "Jezebel". The action and the use of the name were so familiar that Makepeace suddenly became certain that he was lying and that he had been the rapist. She turned her gun on Callard and then killed another guard, leaving the others in shock.
The next morning, Makepeace was sick. At first she thought it was the poison from the Zone, but it was, in fact, an "illness" she had caught from Shamsudin—she was pregnant. She journeyed north slowly, able to admire the beautiful animals and plants all the way back to Evangeline.
Back in Evangeline, she worked quickly to plant food and ready a spare room. She was in the stables when she went into labor, and her baby was born.
It is the narrative’s present day, and Makepeace has now saved 2,075 books in her armory and 177 in her house. She has also stashed multiple candles for reading.
She and her child are not yet quite the last people in the city. A couple with a child arrived recently and are living in the old Velazquez house. Makepeace and the couple leave each other food and nod in passing.
Makepeace wonders whether she should leave the city and head south or back to the States. But she doesn't know what she will find there or what there is left to her. She still rides around town every day to patrol the city.
She used to think she was writing down her memoirs for her child, whom she has called Ping. She knows she will be dying soon. But now she thinks her book should stay with the others in her collection, and she should leave Ping a blank page of her own. One day, when Ping is ready, she should take the Winchester and a pair of fast horses and go into the north, and Makepeace will know that she is going home.
In this final part of the novel, Makepeace comes full circle and returns the reader to the present day. She also explains what has been unclear since the opening chapter: who she is addressing and for whom she has written her memoirs. The birth of Shamsudin's child comes unexpectedly, not least because Makepeace's moment of intimacy with the dying Shamsudin is so briefly described in an earlier chapter. However, it is clear that this birth is a symbolic one, coming as it does alongside Makepeace's homecoming.
Throughout the story, Makepeace has thought of Ping in order to derive comfort and sustenance from her memories of that brief and loving relationship. Now, she christens her child Ping in memory of her friend. At the same time, the easy birth of this second child, fathered by a man for whom Makepeace felt great fondness, is a welcome foil to the first, difficult birth of a rapist's child. Then, Makepeace had been young, and the child, born dead, signified the loss of her hopes of a normal life. Now, she is much older, but this child is born alive and "fierce" at the end of Makepeace's long struggle. She represents the fact that there is, despite the disappointments of Makepeace's life, hope after all.
Unlock This Study Guide Now
Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.
- 30,000+ book summaries
- 20% study tools discount
- Ad-free content
- PDF downloads
- 300,000+ answers
- 5-star customer support