Shell Shaker Chapters 7–8 Summary
by LeAnne Howe

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Chapters 7–8 Summary

Chapter 7: Penance

Durant, September 24, 1991: Standing outside the house, Susan declares that she knows Auda will be proven innocent. Auda, thinking of her confession, winces. Nobody dares to tell Susan. Still, Auda is aware that the feud between her mother and herself has passed.

In the house, Gore asks to see the evidence Auda has collected of McAlester’s financial misconduct. On the way upstairs, he spots a photo of Delores and Dovie and is excited, having read articles about them before. He elaborates further on where he and Auda met, and Auda is embarrassed at the memory of her drunkenness. She asks whether he and Adair have been in touch since then, but he assures her that they haven’t. Returning to Delories and Dovie, he tells Auda what he knows of their history and suggests that he thinks they indicate that Indians can still be “tribal people” while also making it in the white world. Auda disagrees, arguing that someone has to stay home and look after the tribe; individual Indians can do what they want, but if everybody does so, tribalism will die. She references McAlester, who was loyal to and accountable to a corporation, rather than to his people.

Auda says that she and McAlester didn’t always differ on tribal politics, but had lately. She then suddenly remembers his dogs and is grief-stricken at the thought that they haven’t been fed. Gore assures her that they will send someone to attend to them.

Gently, Gore asks again about Auda’s evidence. Auda says that she made copies of the money transfers and mailed duplicates to Tema’s agent. Gore considers this. He says that Auda is not as guilty as McAlester; she had tried to stop him doing the wrong thing and should tell the story to advocate for her people.

Later, Auda announces that she is going to the dental clinic to get her teeth capped. She notices Gore taking notes on her family and insists there is nothing unusual about them. Gore notes that all of them hear voices. He also tells her about the visit paid by Hoppy and Isaac to Divine Sarah, the porcupine spirit, who claims to be fighting Red Shoes. Auda notes that she has dreamed about Red Shoes lately. Gore declares that the whole family is “quirky.”

The Love sisters, Delores and Dovie, arrive. They have a difficult past: their father and mother were both killed accidentally, and their brother was murdered. Their sister drank herself to death. But Auda feels that neither sister is maudlin. She has always sensed something between Delores and Isaac.

In their eighties, the sisters are still beautiful. Susan asks Gore to take their suitcases into the downstairs bedroom. Delores hugs Susan and tells her that everything will be all right. They have taken a long time to arrive because their car broke down. Dovie has read McAlester’s chart and tells Auda that he was destined to die badly and was born on Hitler’s birthday.

Gore introduces himself to the two women. He asks what Dovie knows about McAlester and the Mafia. Dovie says that the Mafia and McAlester were blood brothers, and that he was giving money to the Irish Republican Army.

Before Auda leaves for the clinic, she decides to search the yard again for her rabbit, Jean Baptiste, who has now been missing for two days. She named him after the founder of New Orleans, who had been adopted by one of the Choctaw warrior societies. She discovered he had an arm tattoo, which symbolized that he’d been a member of one of the Choctaw societies, and fondly imagined the tattoo was a rabbit.

Auda, Susan, Hoppy, and Isaac all go to the clinic together. Nick Carney accompanies them in the Peanutmobile. Outside the clinic, two policemen get out of a car, drag Isaac into the street, and arrest him for reckless driving. Auda doesn’t understand why anyone knows she was going to the clinic. A white man rushes them with a handgun, and Hoppy charges at him. Then the clinic opens, and Buster Jones, a cousin of the Billys, hustles them all inside.

Hoppy needs stitches,...

(The entire section is 1,322 words.)