The Weight of Silence Summary & Study Guide

Heather Gudenkauf
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 Weight of Silence.
This section contains 530 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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The Weight of Silence Summary & Study Guide Description

The Weight of Silence 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 on The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf.

"The Weight of Silence" by Heather Gudenkauf tells a story about a parent's nightmare. When Calli, a seven-year-old selective mute and her seven-year-old best friend go missing, an investigation ensues.

As the story opens, Calli has to go to the bathroom, but she is scared to go downstairs because her father might be there and see her. He is getting up early to go on a fishing trip with a friend. Finally, she can't wait any longer and she goes downstairs. He sees her and she notices that he has been drinking. In his drunken state, he accuses her of being the child of his wife's childhood sweetheart. Instead of going fishing with his friend, he literally drags Calli off into the woods to see the house of the man that he thinks is the girl's real father.

On that same day, very early in the morning, Martin and Fielda discover that their daughter is missing. They call the police and begin an investigation. A year before the girls' disappearance, another girl had been taken from her house. The police had found her, days later, dead. The local sheriff calls for help and the family members in both households are interrogated. They look for clues and talk with the press.

Griff, Calli's father, becomes even more physically abusive and she runs away. She goes into a part of the woods that she is not familiar with in order to escape from him. Meanwhile, her brother comes looking for her.

Near the end of the day, she stumbles upon her friend, Petra, who is badly beaten and nearly unconscious. Griff also stumbles upon the scene and tries to persuade Calli to go home with him. While he is doing this, Ben, Calli's brother, comes across them and thinks that his father is responsible for beating up Petra. He sends Calli off to get help. She comes out of the woods and speaks one word. It's the first time that she has spoken in four years. She says Ben's name, making him a suspect.

Calli goes to the hospital with her mother and Martin and the deputy sheriff climb up the bluff to rescue Petra. A helicopter comes and takes the girl away to a city hospital, and they go down the mountain with Ben. Griff has disappeared. Martin decides to go back to kill Griff. Ben goes to the hospital to join his mother and sister.

Antonia, Calli's mother, goes to the house to get her daughter some things and she goes to the edge of the woods. Her husband comes out and drags her into the woods. They fight, and the police show up. Griff has a gun, and the police shoot and kill him in self defense.

Calli tells what she saw, and the families realize it wasn't Ben or Griff. The man who abused Petra was a student that Martin's family had befriended. Six years later, things are almost back to normal. Calli is a typical teen going to school and playing in sports. Petra didn't fare so well, but she is alive. Her family moves away and the girls still keep in touch.

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This section contains 530 words
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