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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 21

What You Do Speaks So Loudly That I Cannot Hear What You Say. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Summary

The chapter opens with Tibby who was systematically eating her way through her grief while watching the worst daytime shows on TV. Then, the phone rang again, only this time it was Bailey’s mom. Bailey was asking to see her. Tibby could feel the pain invade her again, and she thought about, if it were possible, curling up in Mimi’s cage where the shavings would be warm, and she could hide.

When the scene shifts this time, Carmen was dialing her father’s number. She began to tell him how disappointed she was that she hadn’t gotten to spend the summer alone with him, and how she wished he had warned her about his plans to marry. Her father’s response seemed to be one of closing himself off from her again, so she continued on, with tears, asking why he needed a new family where she didn’t fit in, and why she and her mom weren’t good enough. She even asked him why Paul could visit his alcoholic father once a month, and yet, he couldn’t see her more than once or twice a year. This time, when he said he was sorry, she believed him, because he was crying, too.

Carmen eventually went to Tibby’s house where she found her friend in real trouble in her room. While she tried to get the truth out of Tibby, Mrs. Graffman called again and left a message on the telephone explaining the Bailey wasn’t doing so well. They really wanted her to come, because it would mean so much to Bailey. Carmen, meanwhile, was digging her fingers into Tibby’s arm while her own arm went around Tibby’s shoulder. Tibby could only murmur to her friend the words, “Please go.” Carmen kissed Tibby on the cheek and silently left.


Carmen, being Carmen, arrived back in Tibby’s room an hour later. She brought her the Pants, and told her, in spite of her grief, she could get up and move. She told her to put on the Pants and go to Bailey. Then she left. Tibby fell asleep and didn’t awaken until the Jay Leno Show. The Pants were telling her that she should go, but she thought they weighed too much to wear. Suddenly, Jay Leno said, “Surprise yourself,” and Tibby, in amazement, began to dress hurriedly in fear that Bailey might already be gone. She raced through the streets on her bike, still wearing her pajama top. She got past the receptionist by telling her she was looking for her mother. She also managed to get past other hospital personnel who seemed unconcerned about a young girl wandering the hallways. She finally found room 448 and slipped inside. Bailey was laying in the bed, the same girl she had always known, only with many tubes sticking out of her. She picked up Bailey’s hand and climbed into the bed beside her. She though that she would stay there holding her hand for all time, so Bailey wouldn’t be afraid that there wasn’t enough of it.

The scene shifts to Lena and it was the celebration of the Assumption of the Virgin. Everyone was celebrating in the streets and eating all kinds of Greek food, but Lena went up to her room where she could watch the festivities from her window. She felt tired and sad and felt like she should watch from a distance. She watched how much fun her grandparents were having and how Effie, after a few glasses of wine, was dancing with Andreas, the waiter at the café. She even saw Kostos and decided that he wouldn’t notice that she weren’t there. She wished he did. He walked up to her grandmother who kissed him joyously and danced with him. He also chose to dance with all the other grandmothers there, rather than with the young girls who lusted after him. It all made Lena cry. After the festivities ended, she found herself still watching out the window at the moon, a full one reflected in the sea. As she watched, she noticed Bapi doing the same thing in his window, and she realized she wasn’t like either of her parents, but she was just like Bapi - proud, silent, fearful. She prayed on the moon that she would someday even be as lucky as him by seizing a chance at love from a person who knew how to give it.

Notes

For each of the characters, their actions are beginning to speak louder than their words. Tibby has finally awakened and goes to Bailey where she tries to calm the younger girl’s fear that she’s losing time. And Lena realizes that she is like someone else and not so different after all. She is just like Bapi, and she knows that, like him, she could someday find love, too.

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Free Study Guide-The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares-Book Summary
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