The View from Saturday

by E. L. Konigsburg

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Chapters 11-12 Summary

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On the ride home, Julian quickly falls asleep. Mrs. Olinski and Mr. Singh are quiet too. As she drives, Mrs. Olinski is surprised to find that she feels "a strange sense of loss." She expresses her feelings of inexplicable sadness to her passenger, and Mr. Singh affirms calmly that, in actuality, something really has been lost. He identifies it as the opportunity for "future victories." For months, Mrs. Olinski has been in a state of "perpetual preparation and excitement," with "each victory...a preparation for the next." Mr. Singh asks Mrs. Olinski if she has enjoyed the journey, and she realizes that she has. Now, she must appreciate the respite and prepare for what life will bring to her next.

After many long miles of companionable silence, Mrs. Olinski asks Mr. Singh how he believes she chose The Souls. Mr. Singh replies that each of The Souls have returned from a journey. Noah's journey, which had included the wedding of Izzy and Margaret Diamondstein, was to Century Village. Nadia's, which had involved turtles, was from their natural habitat, the Sargasso Sea. Ethan's journey, which had taken "a little longer than the other two," was actually the shortest in distance; it was his ride on the school bus, when he had resolved for himself how he would respond to his association with Julian Singh. Julian's journey had been the longest, beginning with his travels with his parents on the cruise ship, and ending with his discovery of The Souls. Each of the children have been able to find something on their journeys. Through their experiences, Noah, Nadia, Ethan, and Julian have "found kindness in others and learned how to look for it in themselves."

Mr. Singh explains to Mrs. Olinski that in order for one to be able to notice the absence of something, one must first know of its existence. Using his son's situation as an example, he points out that Julian and his family had "found much kindness when [they had] journeyed on the ship." An embodiment of that kindness is in Julian's memories of his mentor, Gopal. When Julian started school in Epiphany, he had encountered much malice, but the lessons of Gopal coupled with his own personal knowledge of kindness had enabled him to know how to respond. Because of their journeys, each of The Souls knows what it means to be kind, and they have extended that kindness to include Mrs. Olinski. Because the children have given her "a lift," Mrs. Olinski finds that she has indeed been made whole again.

Mrs. Olinski finally knows now how she chose The Souls. By witnessing the meanness exhibited by Hamilton Knapp, she had been able to recognize the absence of kindness. Coincidentally, the day Ham pulled his rude stunt at the performance of Annie was the same day Mrs. Olinski first went to tea at Sillington House. The contrast between Ham's maliciousness and the kindness she experienced at the tea had been clear. Knowing that her decision was right, Mrs. Olinski chose Julian Singh over Hamilton Knapp, and so had completed The Souls.

On her next visit to Sillington House, Mrs. Olinski perceives that The Souls already know what she has just discovered. The decision has been mutual: just as she has chosen them, they have chosen her.

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Chapters 9-10 Summary