Beartown

Beartown Chapter 32 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
When the opposing team hears that Kevin Erdahl won’t even be playing today, they can taste victory. They rush into the rink, but they discover that the corridor is completely dark. Soon they find Benji standing in the doorway of their locker room. He’s not moving. Benji begins systematically punching, elbowing, and headbutting various players, causing chaos in the darkened hallway. Before they can mobilize a response, Benji grins at them and retreats to his own locker room, from which crazed shouts of “We are the bears!” can be heard. They try to laugh Benji off as a “head case,” but they’re shaken.
Knowing his team won’t be at their best without Kevin, Benji continues taking matters into his own hands by launching an insane solo attack on the opposing players and throwing them off their game mentally. It’s a way of leveraging the team’s reputation for fierce loyalty to advantage, sowing doubt and fear in the other team’s minds.
Themes
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
In the stands at the game is a mom who sacrificed her teen years to cross-country ski training. Her son, Filip, is now the smallest player on Beartown’s team.
Filip and his mom aren’t introduced until this late stage in the story, and their role isn’t as clear as that of some other characters. Filip seems to represent a younger athlete who hasn’t fully assimilated into all aspects of the “bear” culture yet and still stands a chance of resisting the more questionable parts.
Themes
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Tails is waiting for news from David about Kevin. Whoever it is who’s “snatched [the team’s] chance of victory away from them,” Tails “already […] hates them.”
Tails prejudges the situation, seeing it in terms of the team being unfairly harmed rather than thinking that perhaps Kevin himself is at fault. This is a preview of how the town as a whole will receive the news.
Themes
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
When the game starts, the opposing team is so scared of Benji, the “violent lunatic,” that they brace for a collision when he skates toward them, and they don’t realize he’s aiming for the goal until it’s too late. Lyt takes a big hit to give Amat enough space for a shot. Amat takes the chance before the other team has a chance to realize how fast he is and quickly gets the goal, causing the arena to erupt.
Benji displays his leadership ability here. When he crazily attacked their opponents before the game, he had more in mind than just intimidation; he’s taking advantage of their hesitation to create opportunities for the team to shine. His tactic influences other players to think similarly. It’s another example of the positive side of team loyalty.
Themes
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
Get the entire Beartown LitChart as a printable PDF.
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Maggan Lyt is Filip’s mom’s best friend. They’re a team, even though Filip’s mom usually stays quiet while Maggan screams at the referee. She also stays quiet when Maggan defends the homophobic slurs another parent aims at an opposing player. The mother who protested takes her two children to sit further away. After Benji gets a goal in the third period, he immediately skates over and tosses the puck to the children; it turns out that the mother and children were Gaby and her kids.
Various community dynamics are at work in the stands, too. Many spectators assume that certain language and jokes are appropriate during a game that they might not say outside—an example of the harm of “bubble” thinking. By using a slur like this, though, they don’t realize who they’re unknowingly hurting—in this case, the family of one of the players they idolize.
Themes
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon