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STUDY GUIDE - THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS
Time Tells the Truth. Fortune Cookie
The scene opens in Tibby’s bedroom where Bailey declared she wanted to sit by Mimi, the guinea pig. Tibby was aghast that she had forgotten to feed her pet the day before, something she hadn’t forgotten in months and months. She allowed Bailey to feed Mimi, but had to walk across the room to keep herself from micromanaging the situation.
The next interview would be Bailey herself, but she was beginning to feel uncertain about it all. So, she asked Tibby if she could wear the Pants. Tibby was uncertain herself about giving in to Bailey’s request, but she got the pants out and tossed them to her. She was once again aghast when she saw the huge bruise on Bailey’s leg, but Bailey gave her the “don’t ask, don’t tell” look and she kept her mouth shut. The Pants were too big for her, but she seemed happy to have them and sat down for the interview. Tibby noticed more clearly through the lens Bailey’s transparent skin and the bruised bluish cast around her eyes. She asked Bailey to tell her things once the camera started to roll, but Bailey challenged Tibby to ask her anything. Tibby’s first question was, “What are you scared of?” Bailey thought for a few minutes and then said that she was afraid of not having enough time to understand people or to be understood herself, that she might make quick judgments and mistakes that could only be fixed with time, that she might only see snapshots instead of movies. Tibby was amazed at this new side of Bailey that was so philosophical-beyond-her-years. She wondered of cancer made you wise or was it the chemicals and x-rays she had endured. She told Bailey that she surprised her everyday which made Bailey smile and say, “I like that you let yourself be surprised.”
Tibby wrote a letter to Carman to send with the Pants. She told her she was unsure what the Pants had meant to her yet, but that Carmen would do better, because she was “the one and only Carma Carmeena.”
The scene shifts to Lena where she was having lunch with her sister, Effie, and her grandma. Grandma talked continuously to avoid any stressful conversations with the two girls. However, what she said also revealed much about the fight that Lena had set in motion: Rena refused to talk to her and she was unable to understand how she couldn’t have known the truth about Kostos. This prompted Grandma to refuse to talk anymore about it, so Lena and Effie went outside. Effie had no idea what had happened, so Lena took the time to tell her everything. Effie of course had the best advice: Lena should tell the family the truth before Kostos did or she would look like an idiot. She also commiserated with Kostos who had been so in love with Lena. Lena quickly pointed out that he wasn’t anymore.
Bridget called Tibby from Baja, but got the maid, Loretta, who couldn’t speak English very well. The conversation didn’t go very well and Bridget obviously had no one to help her work out her problem.
The scene shifts to Carmen. She was going downstairs to dinner, ready for a fight. She had on the Pants which gave her the confidence she needed to face the family. However, the family acted like nothing had happened with the dressmaker and Carmen could only gape at her father in silence. She wondered if he even had any idea how she was feeling. She was devastated that even in the Pants she was invisible and mute. She could only exit the room, slamming the door behind her.
The quote at the beginning of the chapter - time tells the truth - aptly fits the events. As Tibby’s friendship with Bailey progresses through the lens of the movie camera, she comes to recognize how every wise Bailey is for her age and how her illness has enhanced her nature rather than hurt it. Lena’s situation only gets worse as time passes, because telling the truth will now be even harder. Bridget needs Tibby’s common sense to help her deal with her feelings about Eric, but time proves an enemy to her since Tibby isn’t home. Finally, Carmen allows enough time to go by to be able to wear the Pants and confront the family about how she feels, but the family refuses to be goaded into a confrontation. Time isn’t any kinder to Carmen than it is to Bee.Table of Contents | Message Board | Downloadable/Printable Version