Olive's Ocean - Chapters 50 through 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 2,160 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)

Chapters 50 through Summary

In Chapter Fifty, "Confirmed," Martha reads Olive's journal page again, focusing on the statement about wanting to go to "a real ocean." This confirms Martha's plan and she feels better for having something to focus on. In chapter fifty-one, "Lellow," Martha goes downstairs and finds Lucy already there. Lucy is enthralled with the glass jars filled with colored water and says "lellow is best." Martha tries to get the little girl to say "yellow," but is unsuccessful. Godbee says the light shining through the colored water isn't as pretty as she'd hoped, but that it's "nice."

In Chapter Fifty-Two, "Bulge," Dennis says he and Vince are going to walk over to the old Benton Place and asks Martha if she wants to go. Martha knows that if she remains at Godbee's she'll probably get saddled with the job of watching after Lucy but remains anyway, knowing that she will probably never go back to the Benton Place. Lucy declines the walk as well and, as expected, Dennis asks Martha if she'll watch Lucy while he and Vince are gone. Martha doesn't object and Dennis says that Alice, who is on the phone making work calls, will probably be free soon. Lucy wants to remain inside to play with the jars of colored water but Martha convinces her to go for a walk. Martha is wearing old jeans and a baggy orange t-shirt that covers a bulge in the front pocket of the jeans. In that pocket, she carries an empty jar.

In Chapter Fifty-Three, "Buried," Martha wants to be alone as she "carries out the first part of her plan." Martha is going to capture a bottle of ocean water to take to Olive's mother. She convinces Lucy play in the sand and then buries Lucy, leaving only her head sticking out. Martha creates a story about a princess awaiting a magic spell and Lucy buys into the game. Martha rushes toward the water, leaving Lucy buried in the sand. Martha scoops up the water and puts the lid back on the jar. As she does so, she imagines giving the water to Olive's mother, saying that it's for Olive who wanted to see an ocean but never got to. Martha is so caught up in the plan that she forgets about Lucy for a couple of minutes. When she remembers her sister, she puts the water back into the pocket of her jeans and rushes toward the spot on the beach where Lucy is buried. Just then she sees Jimmy Manning walking down the beach in her direction. He is carrying his video camera and holding the hand of a girl. Martha wants to hide but doesn't know where to go to accomplish that. She steps back toward the water, hoping she can remain still for a few minutes and that Jimmy will simply pass by without seeing her. Suddenly, the sand beneath her feet gives way and Martha collapses into the water.

In Chapter Fifty-Four, "Sea Creature," Martha struggles and realizes that she might drown. She relaxes and soon rises back to the surface. When she reaches the shore, she's happy to be alive though she coughs for some time. In chapter fifty-five, "Change," Martha realizes that her near-drowning experience has changed her though other people in the world are simple continuing as they were. Martha finds Lucy still buried and happily playing and knows that Jimmy Manning and the girl passed by without seeing her. Martha returns to Lucy and Lucy points out that Martha's cheek is bleeding. Martha realizes then that she scratched herself while she was struggling. Martha, continuing the game, wrings out her wet hair on the mound of dirt covering Lucy, telling the little girl that she's now "free." Lucy jumps up but then realizes that she had sand inside her shirt and even in her diaper, and she begins to scream. Martha carries Lucy and the bottle of water back to Godbee's house.

In Chapter Fifty-Six, "A Note," Martha arrives at Godbee's with Lucy still screaming. Alice comes outside to see what's wrong with Lucy. Alice asks why Martha is wet and Martha says she fell in the water trying to make Lucy laugh. Alice undresses Lucy to get the sand out of her clothing and tells Martha that she should go change into dry clothes. Then Alice surprises Martha by saying that she's very patient with Lucy, which is a sign that Martha will make a good mother herself when she's older. Martha doesn't say anything but is pleased by the remark. About that time she notices a piece of paper on the porch, sticking out from the edge of the doormat. Martha picks it up and finds her name written on the outside. She opens the note and discovers that it's from Tate. The message is brief and says only that "I think I know what to do," ending with a promise that Martha would soon see for herself.

In Chapter Fifty-Seven, Martha takes a long shower and feels of the scratch on her cheek. She knows it's not overly serious.

In Chapter Fifty-Eight, Martha waits, hoping to hear from Tate and wondering what plan he's come up with. She decides that the story about Olive isn't very good and isn't "worthy" of Olive, and comes to the conclusion that she'll give it up. She knows, however, that she will become a writer and the desire is even stronger to succeed. Despite this, she decides that she'll wait a little while before starting another story and turns to poetry instead. She writes a series of random thoughts about all the things that are important to her, including the question of whether it's possible to "put the sea in a bottle" and why one person dies and another dies.

In Chapter Fifty-Nine, "Formless Days," Martha and her family will be returning to Wisconsin in two days, so she knows Tate will have to act before that time. Vince spends more time with Martha and the family. When Martha asks about it, he says that Jimmy spends too much time with his video camera and that it's "boring." The family goes together one day to a place called "The Knob." Martha imagines that Tate is with her and that they share their impressions of the place.

In Chapter Sixty, "A Telephone Call," Martha is sad on her last full day at Godbee's and says that it's the same feeling she experiences on each visit. Tate calls to ask what time they'll be leaving and Martha says they won't go too early, but will leave in the morning.

In Chapter Sixty-One, "Bad Dream," Martha has a dream in which she's surrounded by huge blocks of a substance she believes to be ice. Then she discovers that there are people within the blocks, including her parents, Vince, Godbee, Lucy and the Mannings. Each person is struggling to get out and when Martha gets near enough to see Godbee, she notes the fear in Godbee's eyes. Martha tries to help her grandmother escape and discovers a zipper that, when pulled, released Godbee. Martha is relieved but turns to find Godbee has vanished. When Martha wakes, she remains uneasy from the dream for a while then remembers that she's expecting to hear from Tate.

In Chapter Sixty-Two, "Brave," the morning passes as Dennis begins to gather the family's possessions for the trip. Martha remains that morning in the yellow bedroom where she always sleeps while visiting Godbee. Alice says Martha should eat something but she refuses, saying that she's not hungry. After a while, Godbee comes into the room and Martha confides that she'd had a bad dream. Godbee invites her to tell about the dream but Martha says that it's "creepy," and that she believes the message from the dream is simply that she doesn't want to leave. Godbee shows Martha a letter that Martha had written when she was about six-years-old. The letter begins with "I like to be at your house best of all," and goes on to say that "I am a brave girl," ending by telling about a favorite game played on the rocks in the bay. Godbee says that she'd always wanted to be brave, but that she hasn't ever been. Godbee says that holding onto Martha's letter could help her be brave. Godbee says that good-byes are always difficult and they hug.

In Chapter Sixty-Three, "Leaving," the family packs up after Martha has delayed as long as she possibly can. As they are pulling out of the drive, Tate Manning rushes up.

In Chapter Sixty-Four, "This Time," Tate gives Martha a bag that contains the video tape. Dennis is obviously confused and says to Alice that Tate isn't the Manning that Martha likes. Alice suggests to Dennis that Tate might be "the messenger." Vince responds that his parents are "way behind" in understanding the situation. Martha waits until they get to the airport so she can open the bag in a bathroom stall, alone, then discovers that there's a note inside. Tate says that he knows Jimmy will "kill me" when he discovers the tape is missing. He adds a P.S., "I was the one who really liked you."

In Chapter Sixty-Five, Martha returns home to discover that things are the same though she has changed. In Chapter Sixty-Six, she tells her father that she wants to be a writer and he says it's a great idea.

In Chapter Sixty-Seven, she takes the jar of water to 4525 Nelson Street, the house where Olive's mother had lived but discovers that Olive's mother has moved. John Waverly, man who lives nearby, says he doesn't know where she's moved. He says that he's "haunted" by Olive who was always alone and always carried a notebook.

In Chapter Sixty-Eight, "Home," Martha finds a paintbrush among the items waiting for the trash pickup. She sits on the step of the house Olive had lived in and opens the jar of ocean water. She writes Olive's name using the paintbrush and water, watching as the water quickly evaporates in the heat, then writing it over again, until the water is all gone. As she paints, Martha knows that she'd be Olive's friend, given another opportunity to do so. She returns home and yells out, "I'm home," as much to hear her own voice as to alert everyone that she's returned.

Chapters 50 through Analysis

Martha doesn't want to go to the Benton Place but she also doesn't want to be left out of any plans. This conflict in Martha's life is seen repeatedly throughout the story. Martha recognizes the conflicts but doesn't really know what to do about it. When Dennis and Vince leave the house headed for the Benton Place, Martha makes the conscious decision to remain behind. She doesn't want to go to the Benton Place for fear of the reminders she'll find there. It seems that Martha is wishing that her life could return to the uncomplicated situation of years past.

After Martha almost drowns, she returns to Lucy and continues the game with the little girl. When Lucy says that Martha is bleeding, Martha realizes for the first time that she'd scratched her cheek as she was struggling to reach the surface. Martha continues with the game, telling Lucy that she'd battled a horrible sea monster in order to save the princess - Lucy. The sea monster could be a symbol in Martha's mind for the near-drowning experience. Another important aspect of this scene is that Martha tells Lucy to "live your life, safe from harm." While it is part of the game, Martha's words likely indicate a realization that Lucy is also mortal and therefore not safe from the possibility of death.

Martha and Godbee share a few minutes alone in Martha's room just before the family leaves. Godbee confides that she's always wished she could be brave and that she hasn't ever managed to be. Martha is amazed at the confession and says that she has always thought of Godbee as being brave. Martha admits that she is saddened by Godbee's confession. Her mind turns again to the possibility that Godbee could die and Martha says that she knows this could be the final summer visit with Godbee.

Martha comes up with a plan to return to Godbee's house for Christmas. She says that she will have the opportunity to keep an eye on Godbee for that time and that she'll have time for one-on-one time with Godbee. It seems that Martha's realization that Godbee could die has brought a great deal of worry.

Martha's final moments on Olive's steps while she's painting Olive's name with the ocean water is symbolic of Martha telling Olive good-bye. Martha paints the letters but the heat dries the water in a matter of seconds so that the word disappears. That seems to be symbolic of Olive's death.

This section contains 2,160 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
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