Olive's Ocean - Chapters 31 through 49 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 2,103 words
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Chapters 31 through 49 Summary

In Chapter Thirty-One, "The Benton Place," Martha and Jimmy go for a walk down the beach and Jimmy suggests they go to a home owned by the Benton family who lived in Chicago and seldom visit the beach. Martha says she's never seen the family during her visits to Godbee. Jimmy and Martha go to the stables where it's clear there has been little maintenance. Jimmy is talking about his film and says he believes the "death" section is still too weak. He asks Martha what she believes happens after death. Martha is suddenly caught up in her thoughts of Olive. Jimmy begins filming.

In Chapter Thirty-Two, "Recording," Jimmy urges Martha to talk louder as she tells everything she knows about Olive, beginning with Olive's mother bringing Martha the journal entry. She says that Olive was twelve, and that "twelve is too young to die." While she's talking, she suddenly realizes that Olive's death is a sign that anyone - even Martha - could die at any time.

In Chapter Thirty-Three, "Holding Hands," Martha wants to be where there are lots of people. She and Jimmy head back down the beach and Jimmy reaches out, taking her hand and holding it as they walk. They pass a group of adults and someone makes a comment about young love. Jimmy and Martha realize the comment is "condescending" and it makes both of them angry. Jimmy shares his dreams of being a famous filmmaker someday. Martha pulls her hand away as she sees Dennis coming down the beach toward them. He says he'd come to walk her home. They leave Jimmy and walk toward Godbee's house.

In Chapter Thirty-Four, "Impossible," Martha has trouble sleeping and wakes many times during the night. In chapter thirty-five, "Sparkler," Martha works on the story about Olive. She introduces a new character named James and describes an evening James and Olive spend together on the beach with a bonfire and sparklers.

In Chapter Thirty-Six, "Asking and Telling," Martha gets up late after her sleepless night. She discovers that Jimmy had called for her and that Alice had invited him for dinner. Alice asks if Jimmy is nice. When Martha is agitated by the question, Alice says she was "just asking," which prompts Martha to respond that Jimmy is nice, and that she's "just telling" her mother what Alice had wanted to know.

In Chapter Thirty-Seven, "Free," Jimmy arrives and answers questions posed by Alice until Godbee, Dennis and Lucy return from a trip to the cemetery to visit the grave of Godbee's husband. Jimmy says that he's fourteen and that his parents are "okay." After lunch, Godbee tells Martha and Jimmy they can leave.

In Chapter Thirty-Eight, "The Best Day," Martha and Jimmy run down the beach and Martha begins building a sand castle. Jimmy is reluctant but finally agrees to help. After they finish, Jimmy suggests they "crash" the castle, saying someone else will wreck it if they don't. Martha agrees but her heart isn't in the destruction.

In Chapter Thirty-Nine, "A Question," Jimmy stops at his house to pick up his camera and equipment, and then they head back to the Benton Place. Jimmy talks about all kinds of things then asks Martha many questions. Just as they catch the first sight of the Benton Place, he asks if Martha's ever been kissed. She is caught off guard and coughs several times, finally managing to get out the words that she hadn't.

In Chapter Forty, "Dream," Jimmy sets up his camera on the tripod while Martha wanders around. She says that, unlike the previous night, the stable isn't at all scary in the daylight. Jimmy summons her to a spot in front of the camera then kisses her.

In Chapter Forty-One, "A Bet," Jimmy smiles at Martha and says that he has captured the kiss on film, "and I won the bet." Martha questions him about it and he finally admits that he'd bet Vince and the other Manning boys that he could kiss Martha and that he could get it on film before the others returned from a day of sailing. Martha is hurt and runs away, stopping when she's overwhelmed by tears.

In Chapter Forty-Two, "Solidarity," Martha decides that she'll never tell anyone about the horrible scene but knows that Jimmy has it on film and that he will certainly tell. In chapter forty-three, "Great," Martha tries to cover her emotions by being cheerful, which prompts Dennis to ask if she's alright.

In Chapter Forty-Four, "Hate," Vince returns to Godbee's house. Martha wants to know if he's seen the tape and tries to find out without outright asking. Finally, she says that she "knows you know," and Vince admits that he'd seen the tape. Vince says that he'd tried not to talk about it because he thought that would be best for Martha.

In Chapter Forty-Five, "Every Particle of a Thought," the family is preparing to go out for dinner. Alice knows that Vince and Martha have been arguing. Alice says that she doesn't care what the problem is but warns Martha that the two of them cannot argue during dinner. Alice says that someday she and Dennis will "be gone," and that when that day comes, "your brother and sister will be your family." Martha has heard the admonition before. They go to the Woods Hole, which is Martha's favorite restaurant. Martha is quiet, thinking, and her father notices. Dennis asks if Martha is so quiet because she's thinking about Jimmy. Vince steps into the conversation and says that Jimmy Manning isn't a nice person, though he uses a rude word to describe Jimmy. Vince is reprimanded for his use of that word but Martha suddenly feels better and wants Vince to know that she appreciates his effort to stand up for her. She says that she "almost smiles" at Vince and that he "almost smiles back."

In Chapter Forty-Six, "Tate," the family arrives at Godbee's to find Tate Manning on the porch. Tate apologizes for Jimmy's action and says he didn't know what to do to make the situation better. Martha realizes that her decision to spend time with Jimmy had been prompted at least partly by the fact that she felt she was needed for something other than watching Lucy or doing chores around the house. She knows that Tate is uncomfortable and as he turns to walk away, Martha says that perhaps the next time a situation like that arises, he'll have discovered what he should do. As Tate walked away, Martha whispered the words, "thank you," even though he is out of hearing. It's obvious that his desire to do something had made her feel better.

In Chapter Forty-Seven, "Whirlwind in the Kitchen," Martha asks Godbee to play Parcheesi and Godbee accepts. Godbee has been washing all the baby food jars emptied by Lucy. As Martha prepares to set up the game, Vince bursts into the kitchen and asks to play. Alice arrives and says she'll watch. Lucy soon comes into the room and insists that she be included. Vince goes to get potato chips for a snack. Alice whispers to Martha that she's available if there's anything Martha wants to talk about, but Martha declines.

In Chapter Forty-Eight, "Later," Martha tries to write but finds she can't. She makes a note for a later addition to the story indicating that Olive will discover that James has "a brain the size of a microbe."

In Chapter Forty-Nine, "Later Still," Martha wakes during the night and makes her way to the kitchen. She sees that there's a light on before she opens the kitchen door. Godbee is at the sink and Martha notes that her grandmother looks like a ghost, all dressed in white. Godbee hangs up the dishtowel and Martha cries out, fearing that something had happened to Godbee's hands. Godbee reassures her that it's only food coloring stains on her hands. Godbee then shows Martha all the baby food jars she'd saved over the course of the visit. Godbee has filled the jars with water tinted with food coloring and has put the jars on the window sills. She says that later, when the sun is shining through the windows, the sunlight through the jars will create colored patches in the room. Godbee says it might be silly, but that she believes it will be pretty.

Godbee tells Martha that her idea about the colored jars of water came from a dream. She says that she has the dream often. In the dream, Godbee is very young and is not wearing any clothes. She says that in the dream, she is on top of the water, "almost floating," and the waves are changing colors. She says that c combination of the dream and her story of the girl who took the bottle of ocean water with her when she moved away from the shore combined to give her the idea of the bottles of colored water. Godbee notes that it's after midnight and that they missed their time of sharing about themselves the previous day. Martha asks that they not do it anymore and Godbee agrees, saying that she hadn't intended that it be something difficult for Martha. Martha then asks Godbee for advice about what to do when she's feeling sad. What Martha really wants to know is what to do about the horrible feeling of dread she's feeling because of Jimmy's tape, but she doesn't say it. Godbee says that she always tries to think of someone in a worse situation, and that thinking of that person makes her less sad. Martha is suddenly struck with an idea and asks Godbee for one of the baby food jars she hadn't used for her colored water.

Chapters 31 through 49 Analysis

As Dennis meets Martha on the evening she'd eaten lobster with Jimmy Manning, she immediately pulls her hand from Jimmy's grasp so that her dad won't see. While holding hands with Jimmy, Martha seems to feel older. But she seems to be holding onto her mood of earlier, when she'd been telling Jimmy about Olive. When Dennis and Martha begin walking toward home, Martha is obviously tired. Dennis says that when Martha was younger and had been tired, he'd simply pick her up, put her to his shoulder, and carry her. In doing so, Martha would be able to fall asleep on the way home. But Dennis points out that Martha is too big now to be carried, though he sometimes wishes he could return to the time when she was little enough to be picked up. Martha says that she wishes so too. While Martha is happy to have spent time with Jimmy and obviously wants to be seen as older, she is also realizing that she is losing her childhood and that it won't ever be returned. With that realization, she admits that she wishes she could return to a happier, less complicated time when she was small enough to be carried home.

As Martha is walking back to Godbee's house after learning that Jimmy videotaped the kiss, her thoughts turn unexpectedly to Olive. Martha finds herself wondering what Olive would have done, if she'd been faced with this situation. In Martha's mind, Olive had gone quietly through life without letting much of anything bother her. This outward appearance projected by Olive was probably something Olive had worked hard to create. In truth, it seems likely that Olive was more like Martha than Martha realizes. Martha comes to several decisions, including that she's going to get past this by blocking it out. She's going to pretend that it doesn't exist and isn't important, and by doing so, she believes she'll be able to simply move on without allowing the situation to hurt.

When Martha learns for sure that Jimmy has shown the tape to Vince and the others, she's very angry. She'd known it would happen but had held out the hope that it might not. She pledges to ignore the situation but finds she can't. She insists that Vince tell her and he admits that he'd seen the tape. Martha is so angry she says that she hates Vince. Vince responds that he doesn't know why she should hate him because he hadn't been the one to kiss someone. Martha then wishes she could find a way to hurt Vince as she'd been hurt. The emotions of this section are confused in Martha's mind as she struggles to deal with the situation, but she's simply looking for someone to take the blame.

This section contains 2,103 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
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