Beartown

Beartown Chapter 36 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
David asks his girlfriend if she thinks he’ll be a good dad. She teases him that he’ll take a tactical approach to the birth and be an annoyingly competitive, but great, father. He wonders aloud what to do about the situation with Kevin. She just tells him to do his job—he isn’t a policeman or a lawyer.
David’s girlfriend encourages him in limiting himself to the hockey bubble. It’s striking that this conversation occurs against the backdrop of impending parenthood. Functionally, David understands that there’s more to life than hockey, but he’s never found a way to let the different parts of his life mix.
Themes
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Hog and Ann-Katrin watch as Bobo goes off to meet with the other players for an optional training session. Lyt, Bobo explains, has demanded that the team pull together for Kevin’s sake. Ann-Katrin says that she saw Maya, and they’ve got to say something to Bobo about that. Hog says they can’t get involved; it’s none of their business.
Bobo’s parents weigh the costs of breaking their own silence and intruding on their son’s own social bubble. The team is trying to put up a united front, with Lyt filling the leadership vacuum, and it will only become harder for everyone in town to resist that.
Themes
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
At school, Lyt tells the other players that the accusation is a jealousy-fueled “conspiracy” to bring down the team. They all have to stand together in support of Kevin. Later, Bobo approaches Amat and tries to explain that it’s important for them to go to Hed later to support Kevin.
People are trying to spin Maya’s accusation as a convoluted attempt to harm the hockey team. It’s an illustration of Backman’s earlier remark about people’s tendency to seek comforting interpretations rather than confront the truth.
Themes
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
Maya’s locker is covered in black ink: “Five letters. All she is to them now.”
Later, it’s made clear that the letters spell “Bitch.” It’s the last step Backman described—dehumanizing Maya by refusing to call her by her name.
Themes
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
Get the entire Beartown LitChart as a printable PDF.
Beartown.pdf.medium
In Hed, Kevin emerges from the police station, surrounded by his parents, smartly dressed lawyers, members of the hockey club hierarchy, and most of the junior team. Kevin's mom wraps a blanket around him as he gets into the car, and men pat his cheek. It’s all as if Kevin is the victim.
In sharp contrast to Maya’s lonely, exposed position, Kevin is surrounded and protected, ensuring an image of a united, irreproachable team. This also lets Beartown’s self-image remain intact.
Themes
Community Breakdown and Inequality Theme Icon
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
Benji isn’t among the group of junior players. He’s sitting on a wall about 20 yards away with a hood hiding his face. The adults don’t notice, but Kevin makes the briefest of eye contact, and then looks down. Amat, too, lingers outside the station. He puts his headphones in and walks all the way back to Beartown.
Benji and Amat, each with their respective suspicions and secrets, don’t conform to the group narrative, although neither one is willing to openly challenge it yet, either.
Themes
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
Resistance and Courage Theme Icon
In the cafeteria, Ana sees Maya sitting in an isolated corner. She starts to walk toward her, but Maya shakes her head. Head down, Ana finds a seat elsewhere—the shame follows her for the rest of her life. Meanwhile, a group of older girls from Kevin’s party dump a glass of milk on Maya, saying cruelly that no one would want to rape her. They also break the glass on her head. But Maya doesn’t do anything. Soon, Leo comes over and sits with her, despite her warnings, and helps Maya clean up. When Maya asks why, Leo says, “Because […] we aren’t the bears from Beartown.”
Maya’s classmates react with cruelty, showing how the town’s extreme emphasis on loyalty makes people turn on each other instead of offering compassion. Leo explains his actions by saying that they don’t fit in here, anyway, so they don’t have anything to lose—a telling remark from the son of Peter, who’s been enmeshed in Beartown hockey for more or less his whole life. Hockey culture, it seems, makes everyone an outsider sooner or later.
Themes
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
Resistance and Courage Theme Icon