Beartown

Beartown Chapter 44 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
At Zacharias’s house, Amat gets a text. It’s from Maya, and it simply says, “Thanks.” He texts back, “Sorry.” He apologizes for taking such a long time to take action.
The exchange between Amat and Maya sums up the situation well. Amat has shown great courage, but at the same time, he could have acted sooner.
Themes
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Sune and his puppy have a visitor. David has come to tell Sune in person that David has an A-team job now. He also says that he “can’t accept what [Peter] stands for.” He explains that he saw Peter standing by and watching as Kevin was arrested and claims that Peter caused the arrest as a form of revenge. When Sune presses him, he admits that in Peter’s position, he would have done the same. But hockey needs to operate within a world of its own. Peter should have waited until after the final to act, but instead, he “chose to impose his own punishment,” thereby damaging the team and the town. He says it’s not up to him to decide what Kevin did or didn’t do; he’s a hockey coach. Sune says he can’t respect such an attitude; would David have thought differently if any other guy besides Kevin had committed a rape? David admits he doesn’t know. Sune just lets the words sink in, and he invites David to stay for coffee.
This scene is somewhat misleading—while the reader might assume that Sune has been fired, that’s actually not the case (the A-team job David has accepted turns out not to be Sune’s). Sune presses David regarding his blind spots—David’s based his assessment of the whole situation on faulty assumptions about Peter’s motives, as well as his own loyalty to Kevin. Though they’re pointed comments, Sune still makes them as a kindly father figure who’s invested in David’s success as a coach, demonstrating that it’s possible to be honest and supportive at the same time.
Themes
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Parents and Children Theme Icon
As David and Sune drink coffee together, it’s revealed that David hasn’t been promoted to A-team coach of Beartown after all. He’s the new coach of the A-team of Hed Ice Hockey Club.
Surprisingly, David will be moving out of Beartown altogether, taking a coaching role in a rival town. This adds to the suspense, since it’s not clear if Beartown will have a team at all.
Themes
Community Breakdown and Inequality Theme Icon
The club president shows up at the Anderssons’ house. He explains that David has given notice and is moving to Hed, and that the best junior players will be going with him—they’ve never played for the club, after all, but for David. Beartown will forget about building up its own A-team, since all the sponsors had invested with the expectation of a Beartown A-team. Peter still has his job. So it’s good news for Peter, except that within a year’s time, there might not be a financially sustainable club left. Then the club president looks down the hallway at Maya and offers her an apology.
The club president comes to break the unexpected news to the Anderssons. Ramona has evidently succeeded in swinging the town to Peter’s side (though whether Beartown hockey, or the town, will survive is an open question). Even more surprisingly, though, the club president reveals that he has at least a trace of a conscience regarding what Maya has endured.
Themes
Community Breakdown and Inequality Theme Icon
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
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David tells Sune that he’s going to be a dad, and they talk about parenthood and coaching. David says that he believes Peter doesn’t just want justice for Maya; he’s looking for revenge. Sune tells David that when he has a 15-year-old child, he’ll feel differently.
Sune points out that fatherhood will alter David’s perspective on a lot of things—perhaps even piercing his carefully preserved hockey bubble and showing that all aspects of life in the town are interconnected.
Themes
Parents and Children Theme Icon
As Benji, his mom, and his sisters are getting ready to eat dinner together, the doorbell rings, It’s Kevin’s mom, asking to have a word with Benji. As they sit outside, Mrs. Erdahl recalls when they were little boys who loved to hang out together in their secret island hideout. She tells him that she knows how much Benji’s family has done for Kevin over the years, and that she knows Benji messes up her house to make it look as though Kevin has slept there while she’s gone. She tells him that she knows Benji isn’t a troublemaker because of a lack of good role models—his sisters and mother have clearly provided that. She also knows that Benji has often taken the fall for Kevin over the years. She hugs him tightly and says that she knows Kevin has never been able to lie to him the way he does to his parents. Then she gets in her car and leaves.
Mrs. Erdahl has been largely in the background, which makes her appearance—especially at Benji’s—all the more surprising. She shows an apparently genuine appreciation for Benji, for his friendship with Kevin over the years, and for his strong family. She’s more perceptive than she’s let on previously, and much more tender-hearted than her husband. It’s not clear what the purpose of her visit is—if she expects Benji to tell her what Kevin has done, or if she suspects that Kevin’s and Benji’s friendship won’t last much longer. Perhaps it’s just an appeal to Benji to get Kevin to do the right thing.
Themes
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Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
Kevin’s dad didn’t get everything he wanted, but it’s not the worst outcome for the Erdahls, either. Their lawyer is preparing arguments to discredit Amat’s testimony. Kevin is going to move to Hed ice hockey, along with most of the players and sponsors, allowing the Erdahls’ lives to remain intact “because this family does not lose. Not even when they do.” Soon Mrs. Erdahl gets home and wordlessly sweeps up some glass from a family photo Mr. Erdahl has smashed. Then she goes out to the garden rink, takes Kevin’s face in her hands, and stares at him until he lowers his eyes, and she knows the truth.
Meanwhile, in contrast to Mrs. Erdahl’s personal connection with Benji, Mr. Erdahl just cares about the outcome of the meeting—namely, that Kevin will be able to fulfill the plan they’ve set for him all along. The broken glass is evidence that he’s taking the “loss” hard nonetheless. As it turns out, Kevin’s mom doesn’t have to do any further digging to get to the truth; she just needs to take a good look at her son. Ironically, that’s something Kevin has longed for all this time.
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Related Quotes
The Anderssons are sitting at the kitchen table, playing a silly card game together, when the doorbell rings. When they answer, they’re shocked to see Mrs. Erdahl. Mrs. Erdahl has been told that there’s no reliable evidence to use against Kevin. But even as she stands there, she still sees lingering bruises on Maya’s neck and wrists. She sinks to her knees in front of Maya, shaking and crying. Maya gently strokes her hair as Mrs. Erdahl tells her she’s sorry.
When Mrs. Erdahl learns the truth, she comes straight to Maya’s, shattered by what she’s learned. Now that she’s seen the truth in Kevin’s eyes, it’s easier for her to see the evidence of what he’s done. Here, Mrs. Erdahl is an example of how confronting the truth can lead to compassion and healing—a lesson many people in Beartown are reluctant to learn.
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