Firekeeper’s Daughter

Firekeeper’s Daughter

by

Angeline Boulley

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Firekeeper’s Daughter can help.

Firekeeper’s Daughter: Chapter 16 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Daunis drops the Jeep and Granny June at Granny June’s house and then holds out the keys. But Granny June says she knows Daunis paid for Lily’s funeral, so she’d like Daunis to keep the Jeep and drive it around. Jonsy interrupts the moment by saying he has places to be, so Daunis gets back in the Jeep and follows his Lincoln to the old landfill. When they get there, he pulls out a bin filled with “treasure hunting” supplies. He rolls his eyes as he puts on and offers Daunis gloves and a breathing mask; TJ must be getting on his grandpa about safety.
For both Granny June and Daunis, the Jeep symbolizes Lily—it was something she loved, and many of her quirks were tied to her vehicle. By giving the Jeep to Daunis, Granny June ensures that this iteration of Lily will stay alive and continue to kick around in the community, a thought that comforts both of them. Noticing Jonsy’s safety precautions, Daunis discovers that she’s not the only person her age to take a keen interest in looking out for the Elders: TJ is doing the same.
Themes
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Jonsy leads Daunis through the landfill and says they’re looking for old glass bottles, preferably with hats (lids). Singing Finnish folk songs (his mother was from Finland), he moves aside a piece of corrugated metal. Daunis asks if he should’ve checked for spiders, but he says nothing lives here. People weren’t thinking seven generations ahead when they started dumping stuff here, poisoning the ground. Daunis finds a brown “kidney and liver cure” bottle, which Jonsy pockets. Then she points to the storm rolling in. As they head back to the car, Daunis notices a new trash bag among all the old junk. Suddenly catching a whiff, she flashes back to Travis waving the gun in her face and the stench of meth. Jonsy tries to inspect the bag, but Daunis pulls him away and tells him to leave it. Once Jonsy drives away, Daunis returns for the bag.
Jonsy introduces an important idea when he describes the landfill’s origins. It’s not enough, he implies, for someone to think only of their Elders and their ancestors—they must also think about how their choices are going to influence future generations. Creating a landfill years ago has created a problem for Daunis’s generation and those that will come after her, as they won’t get to enjoy what was once a natural area. Instead, they’ll have to contend with the pollution. Identifying the bag of meth byproducts here makes it clear that the pollution is particularly dangerous—and is getting worse as meth production in the area ramps up, creating more toxic waste.
Themes
Justice Theme Icon
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon