Ten Thousand Saints Chapter 17 Summary

Eleanor Henderson

Chapter 17 Summary

When they arrive at the hotel in Philadelphia, Kram and Delph confess that they have been straying from the straight-edge path recently by drinking beers, smoking cigarettes, and going to strip clubs. Jude is furious at their duplicity but Johnny advises patience, that they shouldn’t be trying to force people into lifestyles that they’re not comfortable with.

That night Jude performs with anger, throwing his energy into the performance, but after the show the other people on tour avoid him. Unable to sleep, Jude runs into Eliza outside the hotel room she shares with Johnny. Eliza doesn’t know what to make of Johnny’s aloofness. For a while she has feared he is seeing another woman, but that doesn’t make sense. She thinks that perhaps he’ll be attracted to her once she has the baby. Jude tells Eliza about the doctor who told Harriet he has fetal alcohol syndrome. He explains that you can detect the disease by facial features, but Eliza tells him that she thinks his face is attractive and handsome.

Eliza asks Jude if he ever wants to find his parents, but he demurs, saying only that if they don’t want to find him, then he doesn’t want to find them either. Jude does say, however, that he would rather find Teddy’s parents. He wishes he could find out whether Teddy’s father is a good person. He doesn’t even know if Queen Bea realizes Teddy is dead. During the discussion of adoptive parents, Eliza comes to a startling conclusion she cannot believe she hasn’t considered until now: no one will believe Johnny is the father of her child since Teddy is of Indian heritage, and Johnny has blonde hair and blue eyes. Eliza realizes that the secret she and Johnny have worked so hard to keep is going to come out inevitably.

Over the next month the Green Mountain Boys and their entourage tour all over the east coast, playing concerts and earning barely enough money to survive. They sleep with friends wherever possible, and sometimes they have to sleep outside or in their cars. The life is tough on them but they embrace the road culture with open arms. The intensity of the performances, with the audience going crazy in a mixture of violence and dancing, makes it all worth it.

One night Jude stumbles into a shocking sight at a house where the band is staying: four men sexually stimulating each other in a bathroom. He has heard for years that homosexuality is a big part of the straight-edge culture, but until now he had had no proof.