Counting by 7s - Chapters 41 - 44 Summary & Analysis

Holly Goldberg Sloan
This Study Guide consists of approximately 71 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Counting by 7s.
This section contains 1,134 words
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In Chapter 41, Mai, also has decided to enjoy the way things are right now even though she knows they could be told to pack up their things any day. Meanwhile, Jairo drives to the college bookstore to buy textbooks. He almost puts the books back, but then thinks of Willow and gets new courage. At the counter, when the clerk takes his money a red light swirls and a buzzer goes off. He thinks at first he’s done something wrong, but is told he is the store’s one-millionth customer. He has won $20,000. That check is worth a year’s salary driving his taxi. Jairo realizes it will pay for all the college classes he ever wants.

In Chapter 42, Pattie and Mai pick up potting soil at the farmer’s market for Willow while Willow and Dell search the recycling dumpster for suitable planting containers. While they’re cleaning the containers, Willow sees Sadhu with three old computers he’s planning on putting into the recycling bin. She asks if she can have them. She hopes to combine them into one working computer for Dell. Later while she’s working on the computer, Dell’s cell phone rings with a barking sound. Thinking of the cat, Willow asks if Dell misses Cheddar. Dell doesn’t seem to know what she’s talking about, telling her only that he misses his meat loaf.

Willow is surprised when Quang-ha helps with the planting. He refuses to plant three seeds like she tells him and plants only one. Willow is happy because he is actually going against her wishes instead of babying her. She feels like she might be coming back to some new normal.

In Chapter 43, Willow describes the new routine that includes helping Quang-ha with his homework. Or, more correctly, doing his homework for him. Dell continues to ask when she plans to go back to school. She asks him to tell her one thing she’s missing at school. He tells her she’s not going to P.E., and then tells her he plans to start running. Quang-ha laughs at the idea. Mai comes out and begins laughing because her brother is laughing. In private, Willow tells Dell she thinks it’s a great idea for him to be thinking about exercising. The next day, he runs for the first day and is in bad shape after running only eleven minutes. Over the weekend, Willow writes a report for Quang-ha. Even after he deletes the introductory paragraph and misspells some words he is still moved into an honors class because of the report. Quang-ha is angry. Willow refuses to take the blame.

In Chapter 44, Pattie realizes she has to find something for Willow to do. She is afraid she will scare her customers so she lets her read the lease agreement. Willow finds three inconsistencies. She then helps Pattie rearrange the salon so there is room for another manicurist and the shop doesn’t feel as crowded. Willow also prepares a report about infections from manicures and pedicures. Pattie is angry at first, but after having a bad dream, lets Willow implement her health standards. She is surprised when the store begins getting new customers.

Dell’s life has improved because he has finally fulfilled his mother’s wish that he stop eating meatloaf. He’s also enjoying his new computer. He decides to add a new category to his classification system for himself. That classification is mutant, as he believes he is changing. He feels better now that his apartment has been cleaned up and organized. He’s been running now for two weeks, and he and Pattie have managed to keep Willow out of foster care. He feels that alone is pretty impressive.


It is in this chapter that the positive impact that Willow is having on the people around her really begins to show. Dell decides to start exercising, and he’s finally given up eating meatloaf. Mai is very happy with the new living arrangements as she finally has her own bed. Willow has helped Pattie by finding inconsistencies in her lease agreement and by rearranging the salon so another manicurist can be added to the staff. Willow has even put together a computer for Dell, made from three old ones that Sadhu was about to throw away. Quang-ha has been using Willow to do his homework. Even though he’d intended to use her to get away with doing less work, he actually winds up in an honors class because one of the papers is so well written. Meanwhile, the whole group is pitching in on Willow’s sunflower project.

Willow makes a great stride in her grief process in this section thanks to the sometimes angry and sullen Quang-ha who promised himself he wouldn’t feel sorry for Willow. It is because Quang-ha insists on planting his seeds the way he wants to that Willow realizes he isn’t treating her like a baby or feeling sorry for her. Although Quang-ha’s refusal to obey Willow probably seemed callous to his sister, it seems that it is a great freedom to Willow to realize that neither Quang-ha nor Dell are tiptoeing around in an effort not to upset her. They are treating her as an equal.

Notice also the signs in these chapters. First is Pattie’s dream after Willow tells her about the possible infections spread by manicures and pedicures. It has already been noted that Pattie is superstitious so it is no doubt that when she dreams about her customers falling over dead in the manicure chairs that she takes this as a sign that she should heed Willow’s warning about the possibility of infections. Listening to the child pays off as Pattie begins to have even more business that she did before she stepped up disinfecting procedures.

Even before Willow’s parents were killed, Jairo believed Willow was some sort of prophet sent to him to lead him in the right direction. He’s been fighting with his decision to go back to school even after she shocked him into action with her statement on the first day they met. When he wins the bookstore’s giveaway of $20,000 to its one-millionth customer, he’s even more convinced that the girl is some sort of force bringing good luck into this life.

Discussion Question 1

How has taking care of Willow enriched the lives of those around her?

Discussion Question 2

Why is it significant that Dell and Quang-ha go against Willow’s instructions about planting the sunflower seeds?

Discussion Question 3

How does Pattie first react when Willow talks to her about disease in manicure shops? What changes her mind?


collective, peripheral, equidistant, optimized, manifesto, salvaged

This section contains 1,134 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Counting by 7s from BookRags. (c)2016 BookRags, Inc. All rights reserved.
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