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Summary The family remains stunned over Johnny's death. Finally, Katie tells the children that they must go out for some fresh air. Alone outside, Francie and Neeley both break down and cry. As they talk, Francie questions God. Returning home, Francie realizes that her mother has also been crying; in spite of her sorrow, she has managed to make hot chocolate for them as a special treat. Francie appreciates her mother's strength and dignity.
Because the children are growing up, Neeley is given the room that used to belong to Katie and Johnny; and Katie and Francie share the room that the children used to have. Before long, they manage to return to their normal routines. Katie soon insists that they begin reading again before they go to bed each night.
A slow but steady return to normalcy is shown in this chapter. Francie and Neeley are finally able to have a good cry away from their mother, and Katie breaks down when the children are out. Even though they are unable to discuss their feelings with each other, the tears help to calm all three of them. Francie, however, still struggles with Johnny's death. She finds that she is unable to pray to God, whom she blames for taking away her father. Neeley, who is younger and unable comprehend his sister's rebellious thinking, is upset at the change in Francie.
Katie tries to make life more bearable for the children. She does small things for them, like preparing hot chocolate as a special treat. She also physically separates them since they are growing up. Neeley is given his own room, and Katie moves into the room with her daughter. Francie admires her mother's strength and dignity.