Firekeeper’s Daughter

Firekeeper’s Daughter

by

Angeline Boulley

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Firekeeper’s Daughter: Chapter 19 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The drive home seems to take forever, and Daunis keeps hearing Lily’s voice in her head, telling her that she’s not allowing herself to experience new things. Jamie finally asks about Coach Bobby, and Daunis explains that he’s the Sault High hockey coach and a business teacher. He’s always stood up for Daunis and her right to play hockey with the boys, though Levi also taught Daunis some choice insults to use as needed. They then negotiate “relationship patterns.” They agree on holding hands and giving kisses on the cheek, but Daunis tells Jamie he can’t touch her hair (it reminds her of TJ). The atmosphere gets somber when Daunis asks how Jamie got his scar, and he explains that someone held him down and cut him. Daunis uses one of Levi’s insults to lighten the mood before they reach Coach Bobby’s lake house.
Lily’s implication, as Daunis sees it, is that Daunis is actively keeping herself from connecting with Jamie—and that letting herself get to know him might not be such a bad thing. Even from the next life, Lily continues to be an important member of Daunis’s community and dispense advice to her friend. Daunis also sees Coach Bobby as an important mentor and community member, given how he’s supported her over the last several years. And though Jamie’s past remains mysterious, he reveals that he’s suffered significant physical and emotional trauma and so is, like Daunis’s community, recovering still.
Themes
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Daunis and Jamie approach the party on the shore, eliciting teasing whoops from party attendees. Coach Bobby is flipping burgers under a gazebo, and Daunis introduces him to Jamie. Coach Bobby gruffly says Daunis is an exceptional player and should be playing for Michigan. Daunis almost believes herself when she says it’s time to try new things.
At this point, it’s left ambiguous why exactly Daunis isn’t playing hockey at Michigan, but Daunis doesn’t seem entirely sold on the path she’s chosen. This implies that there’s something about her past that Daunis isn’t sharing with Jamie, Coach Bobby, or readers.
Themes
Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon
Ten minutes later, Levi, Stormy Nodin, and then Mike Edwards join Daunis and Jamie at a picnic table. Daunis teases the boys when they taunt her about having sex with Jamie, and then Levi gently asks Daunis about Granny June gifting Daunis Lily’s Jeep. Daunis relaxes, suddenly realizing how tense she’s been. Then, Levi says he and the guys would like to run with Daunis and Jamie in the mornings—and Daunis knows Levi is just thrilled that she’s finally allowing Hockey World to infiltrate her Regular World.
Things start to fall into place for Daunis when it becomes clear that Levi is just happy she’s willing to let different worlds mingle. This suggests, though, that Levi has wanted for some time to possibly play a bigger part in Daunis’s life, something that perhaps hasn’t been possible with her clear divisions between Hockey World and Regular World.
Themes
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Later that afternoon, Daunis’s stomach cramps; she excuses herself to use the bathroom in Coach Bobby’s cabin. She hasn’t been here in a year, and Coach Bobby has renovated his kitchen with fancy appliances. When night falls, it’s time for the bonfire. As Coach Bobby sets up fireworks, Daunis snags seats for herself and Jamie by the fire. Macy slides into Jamie’s seat and mocks Daunis for “stealing Jamie,” but Heather, one of Stormy’s cousins, tells Macy to go away.
Daunis doesn’t offer any judgment about Coach Bobby’s renovations, but if he can afford such fancy appliances, it’s clear he’s either been saving up or has come into some money. Not asking questions, moreover, highlights how much Daunis trusts her former coach.
Themes
Family and Community Theme Icon
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Heather stinks of marijuana, and she’s dressed oddly for a bonfire in capri jeans that are held together with safety pins down the side and platform flip-flops. When Daunis thanks Heather, Heather’s laugh is empty—she’s clearly using drugs. Heather pulls out two baggies, one of Molly V (Molly with Viagra) and the other of rolled joints, and offers some to Daunis. Daunis refuses and reminds Heather that Lily just died because of drugs. Heather storms away. Later that evening, Daunis refuses to tell a story (Auntie always says they should wait until there’s snow on the ground to tell stories), so Macy tells a funny one about Creator handing out gifts to all the animals and humans.
Note that none of Heather’s baggies include meth, at least not that Daunis can tell. This makes it clear that while meth is certainly a problem in the Sault, there are also other drugs circulating. Daunis’s refusal to tell a story is a way of honoring her culture and her ancestors’ wisdom. Macy’s choice to tell a story anyway, then, shows that there are lots of different ways to be a part of the Tribe—and not everyone is as immersed in the traditions as Daunis is.
Themes
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon