Chapters 11-12 Summary

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In Chapter 11, a first-person chapter, Frank reflects that Cee is the only family he has left. When he was a child, she was always beside him, like “a shadow” whose presence reminded him that he existed. He asks, “Who am I without her—that underfed girl with the sad, waiting eyes?”

Frank worries that he might not be able to save Cee, just as he was unable to save Mike and Stuff in the war. He did all he could for his friends, but they died anyway. He does not want any more people to die while he sits by, unable to save them.

Frank tells himself that Cee’s safety is his responsibility. Even as a child, he always took care of her. On that day in the field when they saw the horses and then the dead body, he knew that he would kill anyone who tried to hurt her.

In Chapter 12, a third-person chapter, Frank wanders through Atlanta searching for a cab driver willing to work for a black man. In spite of the difficulty of this, he likes Atlanta’s southern pace and charm. He lets down his guard, and he gets jumped by a group of men who beat him and steal the last of his money. Afterward, a stranger helps him and gives him a couple of dollars.

That evening, Frank orders some eggs at a diner and thinks about Lily. She seemed relieved when he left, and he wonders if he will ever go back. He does not really miss her, and he asks himself whether he really loved her after all. Maybe he just wanted to be with her because she made him feel sane.

Frank has arranged for a cab to take him to Cee, but it never arrives. He takes a bus instead. He notices that all of the other passengers are black maids, nannies, and laborers going to work in the white part of town.

At Dr. Beaurigard Scott’s home, Frank confronts the terrified doctor, who assumes Frank wants to hurt him. The doctor tries to shoot Frank, but his gun is unloaded. When Frank realizes this, he simply brushes past the man and finds Cee lying unconscious on an examining table. He picks her up and carries her out, grabbing her money on his way.

When the doctor sees Cee in Frank’s arms, he relaxes, realizing that the only thing the intruder wants to steal is an employee who is easy to replace. As it turns out, the doctor has been feeding Cee drugs and performing mysterious surgical research on her. Whatever he has done has caused a great deal of blood loss, not to mention a wound in the genital area that Frank does not try to examine himself.

Frank takes Cee to his hometown, Lotus, and carries her to the home of Miss Ethel Fordham. Miss Ethel looks under Cee’s skirt and finds “fire” between her legs. She orders Frank out of the room and calls the other women of the town to help nurse the girl back to health.

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