Chapters 14-15 Summary
In Chapter 14, a first-person chapter, Frank admits that he has lied to himself and to everyone else. He has been hiding from the truth because he is ashamed of it. "I shot the Korean girl in her face,” he says. Retelling the story he first told in Chapter 9, he explains that there was no other guard by the garbage pit that day. There was only Frank. The little girl approached Frank and touched his crotch, and he was horrified to find himself aroused. He did not think; he just shot her. In hindsight, he thinks he killed the girl because he feared he would act on his desire.
In Chapter 15, a third-person chapter, Frank and Cee continue their life in Lotus. Cee is adjusting fine, but Frank, having faced up to what he really did in Korea, is wracked with guilt. Over breakfast one day, he asks her what ever happened to that place they sneaked into as children, the fields where they saw the horses and the dead body. Cee says she is not sure, but she thinks people used to hold dogfights there. She tells Frank to ask their grandfather, Salem. He has been around a long time, so he knows about that kind of thing.
Salem spends most evenings on a friend’s porch, playing games, so that night Frank makes his way there. When there is a pause in the game of chess, he asks about the place where he saw the horses, where he has heard there used to be dogfights. Salem laughs at this and says the fights there were not real dogfights. Rather, there were “men-treated-like-dog fights.”
Frank listens, feeling sick, as the old men explain that black men used to be forced to fight each other to the death for the entertainment of whites. They tell a story about a boy, Jerome, from Alabama, who was forced to kill his own father. The father, unable to face the idea of killing his son, demanded that Jerome kill him instead. Jerome did so but, as one of the old men says, “All he won was his life, which I doubt was worth much to him after that.”
Frank asks when this happened, and the old men tell him it was ten or fifteen years ago—just the time when Frank and Cee saw that body in the field. As for the beautiful horses, they were slaughtered for meat during the war.