Beartown

Beartown Chapter 49 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Ten years from now, in a faraway city, a 25-year-old woman is loading the car with groceries. She’s pregnant and happy, laughing along with her perfect husband. There’s a hockey rink nearby, but neither of them even looks at it.
The story jumps to the future, with an interlocking series of scenes that begin ambiguously and are gradually clarified. Here, for instance, it’s not clear who the couple is; the woman could be Maya.
Themes
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Kevin is jogging on the illuminated track. When Maya emerges from the woods, there’s no time for him to escape. She tells him to get on his knees. He does, and pretty soon he’s crying and wetting himself in terror. But Maya is calm. She doesn’t even second-guess herself. With her eyes wide open, she pulls the trigger.
Regardless of what her intentions have been all along, Maya is now perfectly clear about what she’s doing, as the identities of the two teenagers from the book’s opening scene are finally revealed.
Themes
Resistance and Courage Theme Icon
Ten years from now, the couple will be leaving the store parking lot when the man will spot a woman getting out of another car. She’s carrying a guitar she’s refused to replace for the past 10 years. Their eyes meet for a terrible moment.
The scene in the future becomes clearer. The second woman is Maya, with the guitar Amat gave her. The man is Kevin.
Themes
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
Kevin collapses, convinced that he’s dying. He’s crying like a baby. Maya lowers the shotgun and pulls a cartridge out of her pocket—the gun was never loaded. “Now you’ll be scared of the dark, too, Kevin,” she tells him.
In the story’s climax, it becomes clear that Maya didn’t intend to kill Kevin—just to make him taste the same fear that Maya now carries everywhere she goes.
Themes
Resistance and Courage Theme Icon
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In that parking lot 10 years from now, Maya could walk over and tell Kevin’s wife exactly what he did, but she doesn’t. She lets him live with the knowledge that she’s spared him. As they drive away, Kevin tells his wife the whole truth. And Maya walks into the sold-out rink with her guitar to give her performance.
While Kevin could have chosen to stay silent, he actually tells the truth and presumably has to deal with the consequences, giving some hope that he’s learned something in the years since he raped Maya. Meanwhile, Maya fulfills her dream of becoming a professional musician, demonstrating that her choice to speak out did not preclude a bright future.
Themes
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Resistance and Courage Theme Icon