A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove Chapter 21 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The bus tour through Spain was Sonja's idea. Ove tried to dislike the whole trip, but Sonja was so happy he couldn't help but enjoy it. They stayed in a little hotel run by a man named José. Sonja regularly gave money to beggars in the street despite Ove's insistence that they'd only buy alcohol with it. She went to bed in the middle of the day and Ove walked around the village to amuse himself while she slept. Coming back to the hotel one day, he saw José next to a smoking car with two children and an old, sick-looking woman inside.
Once again, Sonja is exceptionally kind and giving to anyone who exists within her community, while Ove thinks the worst of people and feels that he and Sonja are being taken advantage of by the beggars. Ove doesn't find the change in his daily structure (the midday naps) charming because of his inflexibility, while Sonja finds the change exciting.
Themes
Rules and Order Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
Principles, Fairness, and Loyalty Theme Icon
José called Ove over and shouted "hospital." Ove decided the car model must be "hospital." He pointed to himself and said "Saab," and José pointed at himself and said "José." Finally, Ove looked at the old woman's face, realized what was going on, and fixed the car in ten minutes. Sonja was never able to figure out why José didn't charge them for any of their food the rest of the week.
In the flashbacks, we see that Ove seldom hesitates significantly before he goes on to do the right thing and help people. This reminds the reader that Ove is truly a good, kind, and caring person at heart. His grief and stubborn habits in the present are just more powerful than his true nature.
Themes
Memory and Grief Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
For the next several days while Sonja slept during the day, Ove walked and helped people fix fences and build walls after telling them that they were doing it all wrong. On the bus home, Sonja put Ove's hand on her belly and he felt the baby kicking. The narrator says that week was the happiest week of Ove's life, but would be followed by the unhappiest.
These memories of the trip to Spain are undeniably happy: Sonja is happy, Ove gets to berate people, build things, and help do things right, and their family is soon to expand. It's apparent already, though, that for Ove these good memories are clouded by grief and he can no longer truly enjoy them.
Themes
Memory and Grief Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon