Sharp Objects

by

Gillian Flynn

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Sharp Objects: Chapter 13 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Camille wakes up late the next afternoon—her stomach and jaw hurt, and she runs to the bathroom to throw up. She then strips off all of her clothes and gets back into bed, but can’t settle down. Her stomach roils and her ankle throbs and bleeds. She feels worried that Adora will have seen Amma and realized what the girls got up to the night before. Camille tries to tell herself that her anxiety and paranoia is just her coming down from the ecstasy, but she cannot quiet her mind. She worries that she has forsaken Marian for Amma and ignored the warning visited upon her in her dream.
Camille is a mess—not only is she dealing with physical and psychological symptoms from her night out which incapacitate her, but she is disturbed by the nightmare—or vision—she had in her sleep. She feels that in getting too close to Amma, she is forsaking her other sister’s memory, but she cannot manage to keep herself away from the fascinating and dangerous young girl.
Themes
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Adora knocks at the door, and when Camille doesn’t let her in, she slips a key into the lock and opens it. She tells Camille that Amma has told her everything—about the girls getting food poisoning from bad chicken. Camille backs the story up, deciding to run with Amma’s lies. Adora quickly pulls the sheets away from Camille’s body and inspects her inch by inch, feeling her glands and taking her temperature by placing her hands between Camille’s legs. She jabs her thumb into Camille’s wounded ankle and pokes at a contusion on Camille’s head. She then cuts off the hair surrounding the head wound with a pair of scissors, warning Camille not to struggle lest she get cut.
Adora is desperate to care for Camille the way she has been caring for Amma, but her “care” tilts towards violence as she roughly and methodically violates Camille’s boundaries and privacy, assesses her body, and begins tending to her wounds rather brusquely. 
Themes
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After pouring rubbing alcohol on Camille’s wounds, causing her “stunning” pain, Adora runs downstairs and returns with a glass of milk and a blue pill. She tells Camille that the milk is medicine, which will prevent infection and clear up the bacteria from the food poisoning. Camille relents, at last allowing Adora to lavish attention and care on her. Camille falls asleep and dreams that Adora is on top of her, spitting teeth into her hands.
Adora’s care does not comfort Camille, though there is a part of Camille that has longed for Adora to take care of her all the life—instead, Adora’s ministrations leave Camille feeling even sicker, and still subject to perturbing dreams.
Themes
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Camille wakes up at dusk feeling dizzy and hot. She heads down the hallway to Amma’s room and opens the door—Amma is on the floor, naked in front of her huge dollhouse. Amma asks what Adora gave Camille, and when Camille tells her that she took a blue pill, Amma says that Adora “likes that one.” Camille asks if Adora gives Amma pills often—Amma says only when she’s “about to be sick.” Camille reels as she realizes the awful truth: Adora is poisoning her and Amma, just as she poisoned Marian to death years ago.
When Camille, feeling horrible after Adora’s pill, goes to check on Amma, she finally is able to put all the pieces together. She sees how groggy and ill she and her sister both are, and Amma’s frank admission that Adora’s pills are what often bring on her many sicknesses seals the deal—Adora is a murderer.
Themes
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Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
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Camille gets dressed and tries to leave the house, but starts throwing up again, and Adora comes into the room to put her back to bed. Camille runs away from her mother, insisting she’ll only be out a little while, and gets into her car, gunning it down the hill. She is not sure where to go or who to talk to—she suddenly realizes that she needs someone who knows Adora, and decides to find Jackie O’Neele.
Camille does not want to surrender to her mother’s care, and even though she’s feeling terribly sick, she runs out of the house in order to get away from Adora—and perhaps find some answers.
Themes
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
Camille arrives at Jackie’s house, where a girl she went to high school with opens the door and lets her in—she works as Jackie’s maid. The girl seats Camille in the living room and goes off to get Jackie—when Jackie comes into the room, she tells Camille she looks awful, and asks her maid to bring them some cocktails. Jackie offers Camille a painkiller—she has been prescribed various narcotics by several doctors, who are treating her for arthritis and an autoimmune disease. Jackie expresses surprise that Adora hasn’t “gotten herself on the sick track,” too.
Jackie herself is something of a hypochondriac, but the ways in which she uses medicine seem to be more focused in blurring or blotting out her own life rather than infringing upon the lives of others. She seems to know what Adora’s proclivities are, though, expressing surprise that Adora hasn’t used her hypochondria for more furtive purposes. 
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Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
 Jackie asks Camille why she’s come over, and Camille says she wants to talk about Adora. She asks Jackie to explain Adora’s past—Jackie recalls that Adora’s parents, the Preakers, essentially ran the town once they founded the hog farm, and that Adora was a sickly child, “overly mothered” by the creepy, overbearing Joya.
Adora’s abuse has roots in the abuse she suffered at the hands of her own mother—an overbearing woman without boundaries or respect for her daughter who subjected Adora to unknowable things.
Themes
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Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
Having Camille out of wedlock, Jackie muses, should have “ruined” Adora—but, Jackie says, “a beautiful girl can get away with anything if she plays nice.” Jackie says that Adora was actually overjoyed to have Camille at first—Camille was the one thing her own mother couldn’t “get at.”
Adora has “gotten away” with so much because she “plays nice”—she plays by Wind Gap’s rules, and performs a certain role, which gives her power and immunity against suspicion and untoward accusations.
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Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Rejecting Femininity  Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon
Jackie downs several pills, and Camille asks what kind of person Adora used to be. Jackie replies that “Adora devours you, and if you don’t let her, it’ll be even worse for you.” Jackie points out what happened to Marian—and what’s happening, right now, to Amma. Relieved to have someone confirm the truth, Camille asks Jackie what she thinks is wrong with Adora. Jackie says that Adora is sick—and what she has is contagious—before urging Camille to go. Camille gets up, apologizing for overstaying her welcome, but Jackie clarifies: she thinks Camille should leave Wind Gap, as it isn’t safe for her here.
When Camille hears Jackie tacitly admit the truth—that she knows Adora has been responsible for “devour[ing,]” or in other words poisoning, not just Marian but Amma, too—she is shocked and horrified, but at last understands the depths of Adora’s lies. Adora has been able to deceive an entire town—and has relegated those who would question or oppose her to silence, isolation, and even oblivion.
Themes
Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships Theme Icon
Abuse, Victimization, and Control Theme Icon
Secrets, Lies, and Disguises Theme Icon