Chapters 43 Summary

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 584

The next morning, Stanley and Zero pick onions and fill their jars with water. By the time they are prepared for their trip, it is late enough in the day that they do not want to start. They decide to wait until the next morning. While they wait, Zero tries to remember his childhood so he can tell Stanley about it. He describes his mother singing a song—much like the song Stanley sang about the woodpecker and the wolf—in a yellow room when he was still very young. He also remembers being homeless.

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Stanley thinks about his own family and wonders whether they know he has run away from camp. He hopes they do not think he is dead. He worries about them because his mother said they might get evicted from their apartment. The smell of burning sneakers has been bothering the neighbors.

In the morning, the boys set out to walk to Camp Green Lake. They plan to get there just before dark and find the hole where Stanley uncovered the lipstick tube. They will spend the night digging and, if it is safe, steal some water and food from the camp. Whether or not they find the treasure, they will move on in the morning and run away.

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Latest answer posted December 13, 2020, 2:20 pm (UTC)

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The boys work their way down the mountain. Halfway down, Stanley falls, losing some of the onions. However, he is lucky and does not break any of the water jars. The boys get to the lake bed and climb into it. As they walk, they start a competition to see who can go the longest without drinking any water. Eventually they decide to drink together. When they do, each boy insists he is not thirsty but that he wants the other to drink.

They reach the boat before noon, and they stop for a lunch of onions. Zero goes back to talking about his mother, explaining that he is not sure what happened to her. He says his mother sometimes went off to do things without him. She would make him wait for her, and eventually she would come back. But one day she left him in Laney Park and never returned. Zero says he waited in the park for a whole month until he was driven away during a child’s birthday party.

Zero is so absorbed in his memories that he does not notice at first when they go the wrong direction. He draws a diagram to explain where they are to Stanley, but Stanley does not really understand. However, Zero seems sure, so Stanley agrees to follow him.

In the afternoon, a cloud covers the sun. This is unusual, and it makes Stanley think that luck is with them. Sure enough, they come to Camp Green Lake much sooner than they expected. When they can hear Mr. Sir shouting, they decide to hide out until the boys are all finished digging for the day. They each check a hole to make sure nothing is living in it and then climb in, marveling at how quickly they got to their destination.

When they no longer hear voices coming from the lake, Stanley and Zero climb out of their holes and sneak toward the camp. When Stanley sees the tents and buildings, he is momentarily overcome with fear. Then he gathers his wits and leads Zero to the hole where he found the lipstick tube. Again they hide, this time to wait for everyone at camp to go to sleep.

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