The Indian in the Cupboard

by Lynne Reid Banks

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Chapters 10–12 Summary and Analysis

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Chapter 10

Omri heads downstairs to make breakfast but fumbles while cooking the eggs and beans. He brings the meal to Little Bear and Boone, and issues a temporary truce between the two so that they may eat together. At Omri’s direction, Little Bear waits for Boone to finish eating before starting a fight. Boone tries to delay the duel by eating slowly, but he eventually finishes his meal. As Little Bear readies his knife, Boone throws his empty gun to the ground and challenges Little Bear to hand-to-hand combat in the interest of a fair fight. This leads Little Bear to also throw away his weapon. The two scuffle on the ground until they are both pinned down by Omri, who says that it is time for them to get ready for school.

Chapter 11

Omri brings Boone and Little Bear a cup of hot water and soap. Little Bear bathes enthusiastically, while Boone hesitates and tries to see how little bathing he can get away with. This prompts Omri to scold Boone and tell him to wash himself more thoroughly. When Omri brings up washing Boone’s clothes sometime, Boone draws the line, saying that dirt and sweat make clothes warmer.

Emotions run high at the breakfast table, as is usual with Omri’s family. Adiel, who is having trouble finding his football shorts, catches Omri smiling to himself and accuses him of taking them—which Omri denies. Outside, Omri finds that it is hailing. He stops underneath a tree to show Boone and Little Bear a hailstone, then reminds them that there is grave risk to them being discovered by other people. To prevent them from quarreling, he puts them in separate pockets before heading to school.

Omri finds Patrick waiting for him at the school gate. Patrick asks for Boone, and Omri hands the cowboy to him before they are interrupted by a nosy classmate. The scene draws other onlookers, and Omri and Patrick are quickly surrounded. They run inside, where they are questioned by a teacher about their labored breathing.

Neither Omri nor Patrick can focus on their schoolwork due to being intensely aware of the people in their pockets. During class, Little Bear becomes sick with boredom and starts stabbing Omri’s hip with his small knife. This causes Omri to cry out and interrupt the class. The teacher assumes that Patrick is involved and asks both boys to leave. Outside, Omri brings out Little Bear and scolds him for acting out. Little Bear retorts that he wants to see the school, but Omri reminds him that it is dangerous. As a compromise, Little Bear asks for Boone to keep him company. Boone rejects Little Bear’s friendship, but Patrick notes that Boone is likely lonely, too, as he’s been crying again. They are called back inside by the teacher. Omri takes Little Bear’s knife and asks Patrick for Boone, promising to let Patrick borrow both of them at lunchtime.

Chapter 12

Omri finds that Boone and Little Bear are getting along amicably. At lunchtime, Patrick asks for both Boone and Little Bear, then makes a scene when Omri tries to withhold Little Bear. Omri relents angrily but, as he watches Patrick from afar, regrets not giving Patrick clearer instructions. Patrick is forced by the lunch lady to eat in the middle of the cafeteria. He wriggles in his chair, trying to stick bread inside his jeans pocket. The girl beside Patrick complains of his squirming and eventually pushes him. When he pushes her back, the girl retaliates by pushing Patrick with all her might, causing him to fall...

(This entire section contains 992 words.)

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on the floor. Omri rushes to see if Patrick’s jeans are stained with blood but finds them clean. He asks Patrick if the two figures are okay, and after checking his pocket, Patrick replies that they are.

After lunch, Omri finds no sign of Patrick. Patrick later slips back into his seat during the middle of class, and Omri asks him where he’s been. They catch the attention of their teacher, who questions Patrick about his lateness. Patrick fails to come up with a convincing lie, and the teacher sends them to the headmaster’s office.

At the office, the headmaster asks Patrick why he was late. Patrick, cracking under the pressure of authority, starts divulging the existence of Little Bear. Omri jumps at Patrick to stop him but is dragged away by the secretary. Later, the headmaster leaves the room with a pale expression, and Omri quickly understands that Patrick has shown him Little Bear and Boone.


These chapters further explore the complex hostility between Boone and Little Bear. Both of them dislike each other due to nasty prejudices, especially on the part of Boone. However, the novel also shows that these prejudices can often be unfounded. For example, in chapter 8, Omri observes that though Boone likes to call Little Bear dirty, Boone is much more averse to cleanliness than Little Bear is. Little Bear is also much more willing to look past his ideas about Boone. When lonely and bored, he admits that he would prefer the company of Boone, while Boone rejects the proposition outright. However, they get along fairly well when they give each other a chance.

In chapter 12, Patrick further loses sight of the reality that Boone and Little Bear are people. He is reckless with the way he handles them, such as trying to feed them in the middle of a public space or trading shoves with someone when the two are on his person. He demands them from Omri and threatens to reveal their secret when he doesn’t get his way. He is also quick to reveal their secret under pressure from the headmaster, confirming Omri’s worst fears about what could happen. Luckily, the headmaster chooses to believe that he is merely unwell and hallucinating rather than accept the incredible magic that is before him.


Chapters 7–9 Summary and Analysis


Chapters 13–16 Summary and Analysis