Beartown

Beartown Chapter 20 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
There’s a loud, drunken party taking place at the Erdahl house. Kevin is the only person who doesn’t seem to be enjoying it. He’s having trouble winding down, so he’s firing shots in his garden rink again while Benji sits nearby, rolling joints.
Kevin has trouble switching from a competitive frame of mind to a non-competitive one—reminiscent of Jeannette’s earlier remark that hockey players aren’t taught how to turn off their aggression.
Themes
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
When Amat gets there, he can’t believe that a single family lives in such a big house. He goes into the kitchen with Bobo and Lyt, where everyone is doing shots. Lyt drunkenly explains that Amat can have any girl he wants tonight, since “they’re all hockey-whores when we win.” When Lyt lurches off, Bobo and Amat stay in the kitchen, looking uncomfortably at each other, both of them thinking about the fact that they’re virgins and not wanting to admit it aloud.
Amat is welcomed into a very different social tier for the first time. Despite Lyt’s brash claim, Amat’s and Bobo’s reactions suggests that at least some of the sexualization of the hockey culture is just talk—but, as is soon demonstrated, that talk still enables certain players to take action in destructive ways.
Themes
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
As Ana and Maya walk to the party, Maya is sad when Ana repeatedly checks her makeup; it reminds her of when Ana was younger and cared more about hotwiring snowmobiles than fitting into the crowd. When Maya arrives, Kevin goes straight over to greet her. Seeing this, Benji irritably leaves, and all the older girls at the party look hatefully at Maya, too. Kevin calls to Benji, but Benji just says that he doesn’t party with little girls, and he gives Kevin a joint to help him sleep that night. Kevin hugs Benji fleetingly, remembering when they were little boys who used to read comic books together under the covers.
In this scene, there are parallel instances of rifts between friends. Maya feels she’s losing the Ana she loves, and Benji seems to feel the same way about Kevin—while also hinting that he finds Kevin’s interest in younger girls worrying. In both cases, their friendships will be permanently changed by what happens tonight.
Themes
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon