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STUDY GUIDE - THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS
My Karma Ran Over My Dogma. Bumper Sticker
The chapter opens with Bridget who had finally gotten out of bed. She had grabbed a pen and a pad of paper, intending to write Carmen a note to include with the Pants. She was chewing on her pants trying to think of what to say when Eric came up to her. His conversation began with comments on the game she had missed where Diana tore up the field instead of Bee. Bee thought the two of them were rewinding the clock to that point when he was the coach and she was the irresponsible camper. He seemed to be asking for her permission to pretend that what had happened hadn’t happened. However, Bee wasn’t sure she wanted to give him that permission. So, Eric apologized for allowing it to happen, while Bee grew angry that he would try to take away her power by saying that she hadn’t made her own choice to be with him. But he still wouldn’t allow her that and just walked away, saying, “I’m sorry,” which made Bee throw the pen after him.
Bee wrote a short note for Carmen to go along with the Pants. She just told her she was very mixed up and wished she had followed Carmen’s advice about good sense. She told her that “Good sense rules!” It was advice that Carmen also needed to hear about herself.
The scene now comes back to Tibby. She and Bailey were trying to interview Carmen who would be wearing the Pants, but Carmen wasn’t being very cooperative. Tibby’s irritable response made Carmen remember how Paul had told her that she antagonized people. So, she changed into the Pants and studied Bailey while the other two girls set up the equipment. The younger girl was dressed almost exactly the same way as Tibby, a mini-Tibby, and it made Carmen wonder what made Tibby hang out with a twelve year old.
Bailey, when the camera began to roll, introduced Carmen as Tibby’s beloved friend. When Carmen interrupted to say that she was fighting with Tibby, Bailey hotly insisted that it didn’t matter, because they loved each other. Even Carmen’s sarcastic comment that Bailey couldn’t know what she was talking about, because she was only twelve, couldn’t make Bailey back down. Carmen then worried that she was beginning to crave conflict. Finally, Carmen settled down on the bed to answer the questions.
Unfortunately, Bailey, in her usual piercing observations, immediately asked Carmen about her dad’s wedding. The questions made Carmen open up about her feelings of not fitting in with his new family. Bailey then asked if she shouldn’t realize that it was her dad that mattered. Then, Bailey asked the most devastating question, “Why did you throw the rock?” Carmen teared up and insisted that she wasn’t mad at her dad, but she knew that her anger at him was what was at the heart of it all. She cried and cried, while Bailey comforted her by telling her she was allowed to be mad.
Later, while at work, Tibby’s shift came to end, but Bailey had yet to show up. It worried her and annoyed her, because she had come to expect the younger girl to hang out with her. She waited around and checked out several places close by looking for her. Finally, she took off on her bike for Bailey’s house. However, no one answered, and when she looked in the windows, she could see that no one was at home. A neighbor woman came out eventually and told Tibby that the family had gone to the hospital. Tibby was immediately concerned, but comforted herself by thinking that Bailey was just going for one of her regular check-ups. However, she went to the hospital anyway and hung around until she saw Mrs. Graffman, Bailey’s mother. She found herself shaking with fear of what the woman would tell her, but she sat down with her when Mrs. Graffman asked her to. She explained to Tibby how Bailey had had leukemia since she was seven, and the difficulty and pain of all the treatments she had gone through. Whatever they did to fight it, the disease kept coming back. She also explained that they had finally decided to give Bailey a few months to live like an ordinary kid. Tibby was aghast, because it seemed like they were just letting Bailey die. But Mrs. Graffman told her gently that no one knew what else to do to stop the disease. Now Bailey was hospitalized, because she had an infection. Her mother said that she and Bailey’s father were just praying that Bailey’s body had enough strength to fight it off. She also told Tibby that they were so grateful to her for how she had made Bailey’s last two months so special. Tibby could only whisper that she had to go, because her heart felt like it was going to explode.
The quote that begins the chapter really reveals a lot about what happens in this chapter. The idea of the dogma we call live by fits Carmen who can’t come to terms with the anger she feels towards her father. But her karma - her destiny in meeting Bailey - allows her to finally cry over the deep hurt she feels because of her father. Bailey, too, has her dogma - being accepted in spite of her illness. However, her karma catches up to her, because she is, to some degree, her illness, and she cannot fight how it impacts her life anymore. As for Tibby, she has doggedly believed that Bailey’s disease was under control all while she was coming to love this girl for showing her a side of herself that she had never seen. Unfortunately, her karma - accepting that Bailey’s illness cannot be cured - is all too real.Table of Contents | Message Board | Downloadable/Printable Version