Olive's Ocean - Study Guide Chapters 14 through 30 Summary & Analysis

Kevin Henkes
This Study Guide consists of approximately 29 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Olive's Ocean.
This section contains 1,673 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)

Chapters 14 through 30 Summary

In Chapter Fourteen, "Parcheesi," Godbee brings out the Parcheesi game board, a tradition of every visit. Vince goes off again with the Mannings and Martha notes that she feels his absence. Martha tries to look as though she's interested in the game but has trouble concentrating, at least partly because Dennis hasn't returned. Lucy grows tired and Alice goes to lie down with her, and Martha knows that Alice probably fell asleep as well.

Godbee realizes that Martha's mind isn't on the game and suggests that they talk instead. Godbee reminds Martha that they'd agreed to share something about themselves and asks Martha to begin. Martha is upset that Vince refused to stay and play Parcheesi and that her father left the house angry. Martha tells Godbee that she hates her family. Martha immediately realizes that her father is Godbee's son and she fears that her statement would have hurt Godbee's feelings. Instead, Godbee says she understands. Martha knows she's going to cry and so reminds Godbee that she's also supposed to share something about herself. Godbee says she hates her hands. She holds them out, points out that they resembled "pink, crippled crabs," and Martha realizes that she'd never before paid attention. Just about this time, headlights shine on the windows of the house and Dennis comes inside, carrying a lot of banana baby food. He says there's "enough for everyone," and that he's come to an important decision.

In Chapter Fifteen, "Father's Decision," Dennis says that he's decided he's going to give up on the idea of writing a book and return to work. Dennis says it will mean more income for the family and that he'll be happier. Martha quickly assesses the situation and knows that it will mean little change for her except that she is now free to be the only writer in the family.

In Chapter Sixteen, "Kissing," Martha wakes the next morning and remembers how excited she always is on the first morning at Godbee's. She goes downstairs to find Lucy already awake. Lucy always insists that they have a good morning kiss and she keeps trying until she feels it's a "good one." On this particular morning, Lucy says the first kiss was a "good one," and when Martha counters that it was a "great one," Lucy gets angry until Martha agrees that it was a "good one." Godbee imitates Lucy, holding Martha's face between her hands and giving Martha a kiss as well, then saying "good one." Martha notes that her parents are kissing which means everything is well between them. Lucy already has on a bathing suit but Martha says she plans to stay with Godbee to have breakfast and help with the dirty dishes.

In Chapter Seventeen, "A Writer," Martha outlines all the things that are missing from her grandmother's house that seem vital at her own, including a dishwasher and email. However, she doesn't really miss any of those things while she's visiting Godbee. After breakfast and the dishes, Martha gets dresses and goes outside with Godbee. Martha tells Godbee that she wants to tell something else about herself. She tells Godbee that she wants to be a writer, but that it's a secret. Godbee agrees to keep it a secret but says she hasn't yet written anything. Martha says she plans to write a book "about a girl named Olive."

In Chapter Eighteen, "Faraway," Godbee says Martha has "a faraway look in her eyes" and suggests that Martha spend some time writing. Later, Martha realizes that she hadn't asked Godbee to share anything about herself but says she'll remind her later. Martha begins writing, making Olive the main character of her story and beginning with Olive's arrival at the ocean side. Martha trashes that and begins again, this time making Olive an orphan and having her arrive at the home of her grandmother. Martha comes to a dead end and takes a nap instead.

In Chapter Nineteen, "Jimmy Manning," Martha becomes reacquainted with the Manning boys - Jimmy, Tate, Todd, Luke and Leo. They call out to Martha and she learns that Jimmy is making a video. Jimmy asks Martha if she'd like to come over and watch the video with him, adding in a whisper that they can leave the others behind.

In Chapter Twenty, "The World Is Not What You Think it Is," Martha watches the video but is very conscious of Jimmy's presence beside her on the couch. The video was titled, "The World Is Not What You Think it Is," and Jimmy had captured scenes aimed at depicting family life. The scenes include an argument between his parents and another between his brothers.

In Chapter Twenty-One, "Private Moments," Jimmy says he still has to work on the "family part" of the video before getting on to the subjects of death and love. Martha compliments him on the work then says she has to go because Godbee might be worried about her. Jimmy promises to call. Outside she encounters Tate who compliments her on the color of her towel.

In Chapter Twenty-Two, "Taste and Smell," Martha reminds Godbee that she hasn't yet shared anything about herself. Godbee says that she no longer has much sense of taste or smell.

In Chapter Twenty-Three, "Writing and Waiting," Martha returns to her writing and works on the story about Olive while hoping that Jimmy Manning will call.

In Chapter Twenty-Four, "Fog," Martha wakes the following day to discover a heavy fog. She wonders what will happen that day.

In Chapter Twenty-Five, "Bottle," Vince remains with the family only a short time until running off again to play with the Mannings. Godbee tells Martha that she'd once written a short story about a girl who moved far from the ocean and took a bottle of ocean water with her. Godbee says she couldn't figure out how to end the story and had written that the girl knocked the bottle from a table, breaking it. Martha says that's a perfect ending to the story. When it's Martha's turn to tell something about herself, she tells Godbee that she likes Jimmy Manning.

In Chapter Twenty-Six, "Lucky," Godbee says that Jimmy Manning is lucky. In Chapter Twenty-Seven, "Kyle Gilbert," Martha recalls having told a friend that she liked a boy in her class at Susan B. Anthony Middle School, Kyle Gilbert, and that Kyle was listening, which embarrassed Martha.

In Chapter Twenty-Eight, "Initials," Martha writes Kyle Gilbert's initials in the sand that afternoon. That evening, Vince calls and tells Martha that he wants to spend the night at the Manning house and that Martha's invited for dinner.

In Chapter Twenty-Nine, "Lobsters," Martha is greeted at the Manning's door by Tate and discovers that Jimmy is filming the boiling of the lobsters they'll be eating for dinner. He plans to use it as part of his "death" section in his movie.

In Chapter Thirty, "Blue," Martha and Jimmy find themselves alone on the beach.

Chapters 14 through 30 Analysis

Martha notes that she's begun wearing bright orange t-shirts and has several that are all very similar in color and appearance. She says that the purpose is to detract from the bright red of her hair but that she isn't always sure that it's working. She then says that she doubts many of her decisions but, without something to indicate that she should do differently, just keeps on wearing the orange shirts.

Martha had liked Tate Manning during previous visits and hadn't given a lot of thought to Jimmy, who is older, until she encountered him on the beach. Now Martha is suddenly enamored with Jimmy and gives little thought to Tate though it's obvious that Tate also likes her.

In class on the day after Martha had embarrassed herself by saying she liked Kyle, the teacher makes an assignment. The students are supposed to write about their most embarrassing moments. Martha speaks up, saying that the assignment isn't fair. She points out that people are sharing information about an incredibly personal moment and that there's no real reason for them to be asked to share that kind of personal information. Martha has already seen the looks on the faces of her classmates, and knows that they're all aware that she'd embarrassed herself with Kyle. About this time, Martha looks over and catches the eye of Olive Barstow. The look on Olive's face indicates that she knows about Martha's embarrassment. Martha thinks that Olive is aware of the situation and that she's horrified about Martha's action. In truth, Olive could be aware but she's probably feeling sorry for Martha. It also seems possible that Olive isn't aware of Martha's embarrassment at all but doesn't want to have to share her own most embarrassing moment. Martha doesn't put much significance into this situation because she is so caught up in her own emotions and embarrassment but it seems that this could be at least part of what makes Olive think that Martha is the "nicest girl" in the class.

Martha's story about Olive is interesting in that she seems intent on using many things she'd recently begun to think about in her story. She mentions Olive's arrival at the home of her grandmother, and describes her grandmother's hands, obviously because Martha and Godbee had recently talked about Godbee's hands. Martha is spending a great deal of time now thinking about life and how things impact others. She has come to realize that Godbee is older and will someday die. This makes her realize that she needs to make the most of their time together. It's Godbee's story about the girl who took a bottle of ocean water when she was forced to move away from the beach that will prompt Martha's decision to take a bottle of ocean water home with her. All these thoughts indicate Martha's emerging maturity. She is not caught up solely in her own thoughts and in having fun, but is focusing on the lives of others.

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