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Free Online Study Guide for The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants-Book Summary
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STUDY GUIDE - THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS

CHAPTER 17

You Will Make All Kinds of Mistakes: But As Long As You Are Generous and True and Also Fierce You Cannot Hurt the World or Even Seriously Distress Her. - Winston Churchill

Summary

The scene opens with Lena who decided she must get back to her painting and not wait around for Kostos to make an appearance. So, she decided to return to the olive tree by the pond because she thought that was the best painting she had done so far. This time she packed a hat and bathing suit just in case! Once she arrived, she mixed her paints and found herself in the hypnotic zone that meant she was concentrating perfectly. Suddenly, she heard a splash and became annoyed that someone might be in the pond. She hated for her privacy to be intruded upon when she was painting. So, Lena stepped forward to see who it was instead of leaving immediately like she should have. The person in the pond turned his head and it was Kostos. This time he was naked and she was clothed. This time she wasnít mad at him; she was mad at herself. And this time she wasnít worried about her own body, but instead, she was thinking about his. He was probably as shocked to see as she had been to see him. Thatís when she realized she had barged into his secret place, not her own.

Bee wrote a letter to Lena revealing that she thought that night was going to be a big one. She felt good about having the Pants, because it meant that her friends were close by her, so nothing could be bad about it. She ended by telling Lena how much she missed everyone after seven weeks apart.

The scene shifts to Bridget. She crawled into her sleeping bag on the beach wearing the Pants and a tank top. However, she just couldnít sleep. Her restlessness made her get up and sit on a rock by the water where she wished she had a fishing rod and was with her brother again along the Wye River. She couldnít picture her mother with them which made her think that she had probably been in one of her ďtired periods,Ē staying in bed all day with the shutters closed. Then, her thoughts turned again to Eric, and she thought of the challenge of going to him rather waiting to see if he came to her. She glided by his cabin and saw he wasnít asleep, but sitting up as if he were waiting up for her. She hopped off the deck and slide silently toward the wooded edge of the beach with Eric following behind her. When she asked him after their first embrace if he knew she would come, he answered that he didnít want her to, but hoped she would.


Later, she had returned to her sleeping bag and lay there while her thoughts seemed to continue upwards farther and farther into the sky. She felt that the intimacy between them had been unfathomable, and she was unsure of how to take care of those feelings. So, she rolled up her sleeping bag and returned to the cabin to allow her thoughts to stray no father that the weathered planks that surrounded her.

Lena wrote Tibby a letter relating her second experience with Kostos at the pond and silly she had been to think he had been following her the first time. It was his secret place, nit hers. However, sheís pleased to say that finally he looked right into eyes as she surprised him the second time. She ended the letter by asking Tibby if she had heard from Bee lately. She too must be very worried about the path Bee has chosen to take.

The scene shifts to Carmen. The telephone had rung and when she answered it, it was her motherís boss who called for her mom at all times of the day even when she wasnít working. So, Carmen lied and said her mother was taking care of her grandmother at the hospital even though she was in the other room watching TV. Then, she prepared some food, snacks that had always been tasteful to her, because ever since she had returned from South Carolina, nothing had tasted good. Once again, though, they tasted bad, and she put them all away. She walked by her mother watching old Friends episodes, and even though she asked Carmen to join her, Carmen said no, because she couldnít bear it when her mother borrowed the things that had been special to her alone, like that particular TV program.

Then, she looked at the calendar on her bedroom wall and saw that her fatherís wedding was only three weeks away. She wondered if he would even care if she didnít go. He had only called since she had left for two reasons: to confirm that she arrived safely home and to talk to her mother about insurance. He hadnít once asked to speak to her, and even though she could have apologized or offered some explanation, she hadnít. She was filled with guilt - it wove around her like the cat she had never had, swiping its tail against her cheek, wanting her when she least wanted it. The thought of fatherís face as she had last seen it through the window she had broken came back into her mind unbidden. He had been more than surprised. He simply had been unable to process what he saw, because he had always thought Carmen were better than that. So as she were calling to the cat named guilt, she said, ďAll right, come on up, ďand let it curl on her stomach for a long stay.

Notes

In this chapter, the cat named guilt is actually making its way through Lena, Bee, and Carmen. Lena feels how silly she was to have assumed that the pond and the olive tree were only hers when they had been Kostosí all along. She had made a terrible mistake to have also assumed that he had followed her there to spy on her. Bee doesnít know yet that the mistake she has made in having sex with Eric will come to haunt her. She is overwhelmed with the sense of intimacy they have shared, but wound up inside of that is the reality that it never should have happened. As for Carmen, her guilt is the cat that wonít leave her alone and she knows that she should apologize and explain why she left her father behind. All of these feelings will have to dealt with before the Pants make their way home again.

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