The Sheltering Sky Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 47 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Sheltering Sky.
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The Sheltering Sky Summary & Study Guide Description

The Sheltering Sky Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles.

The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles is a story of innocents abroad in an unfamiliar land. It follows three American travelers as they move farther from "civilization" in post-war Africa. They find themselves cut off from the certainties of home and are all but destroyed by what they experience.

Port and Kit Moresby and George Tunner have just arrived in Oran, Algeria. Port prides himself on his commitment to his nomadic existence, but Kit is plagued by fear that every odd occurrence on their journey is an omen of impending doom. Tunner is largely along for the ride, and he hopes to seduce Kit. Port suspects this, and one night he excuses himself to take a walk, ending up in bed with an Arab girl who robs him. In Oran, the Moresby's make the acquaintance of Eric and Mrs. Lyle, an obnoxious mother and son from Australia. They offer Port a ride in their car to Boussif, leaving Kit and Tunner to take the train. En route, Kit surrenders to Tunner's amorous advances.

From Boussif, the three Americans - with the Lyle's in tow - make their way to Ain Krorfa, a hellish wasteland of refuse and flies. Tunner is particularly appalled, and Port - intending to separate Tunner from Kit - arranges for him to leave for Messad with the Lyles. The Moresbys, meanwhile, head to Bou Noura by bus. In Bou Noura, Port discovers that his passport if missing. Lieutenant D'Armagnac, commander of the local military post, discovers that it has been sold on the black market in Messad. Port realizes that Eric Lyle is the theif. D'Armagnac arranges for Tunner to return to Bou Noura with it. Port, now growing ill, insists to Kit that they must leave for El Ga'a immediately to avoid Tunner.

On the bus ride to El Ga'a, Port's condition deteriorates to the point that he cannot walk. When they arrive, Kit discovers that a meningitis epidemic has shut down the local hotel. They pay a driver to take them to nearby Sba. There, Port is admitted to the military infirmary and diagnosed with typhoid. Kit attends to him, under the watchful eye of the puritanical Captain Broussard. Port is clearly dying, and one night Kit sneaks out of camp to meet Tunner, who is arriving from Bou Noura. That night, Port dies.

Distraught and confused, Kit wanders into the desert and is picked up by a trading caravan. She becomes the lover of Belqassim, a Sudanese trader, who marries her and imprisons her in his house in the Sudan. She is drugged to stop her leaving and is antagonized by Belqassim's other wives. One night she escapes and wanders the streets. A local who speaks French helps her, but later he robs her. Kit is found catatonic and is taken in by the American consulate. She is returned to the consulate in Oran, shaken and unresponsive. An aid takes her to the local where Tunner, presumably, is waiting for her. While the aide is distracted, Kit disappears into the streets.

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This section contains 512 words
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