Small Great Things

Small Great Things

by

Jodi Picoult

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Small Great Things: Chapter 27, Ruth Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
When Kennedy sits down, Ruth is flabbergasted. She realizes that Kennedy is the only person who could've made the jury understand. She strokes Mama's scarf as Odette begins her closing argument. Odette says that, racial issues aside, Ruth didn't do her job and because of that, a baby died. She insists that Ruth is a liar and talking about race won't bring Davis back.
Ruth now understands that who says something is very important thing in court. As a white woman, Kennedy has the privilege of already having the jury's respect and attention (although less so than if she were a white man), while the jury's preconceived notions about Ruth mean that she's still an "angry black woman."
Themes
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
Related Quotes
Once Judge Thunder and the jury leave, Howard jumps up in awe of Kennedy's statement. Kennedy soberly says she shot herself in the foot and tells Ruth that it'll cost her. Ruth thinks of her night in jail and tells Kennedy that her statement was still worth hearing. Suddenly, Odette appears in front of them. She briskly says that she's getting Edison's case dismissed and offers only that she has a fifteen-year-old daughter as explanation.
Just as Judge Thunder proved himself to be surprisingly human and understanding, Odette does the same thing here. By letting on that she understands Ruth's worries as the parent of a black teen, she offers Ruth an olive branch and lets her know that, even though they're on opposite sides, Odette does understand.
Themes
Belonging and Community Theme Icon
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon
Kennedy, Howard, and Ruth leave the courtroom and try to push through the press outside. Ruth sees Wallace Mercy, a woman next to him, and his supporters behind. Rather than head for Ruth, they head for the Bauers, who are giving an interview. The woman reaches for Brit and says that she's beautiful. Brit slaps her hand away and Mercy tries to introduce them, but the woman says that she and Brit met when she gave birth to Brit. Brit throws herself at the woman and Francis yells for them to stop. His face looks ashen as he greets Adele.
The revelation that Brit's mother is black solves the mystery of Davis's sickle cell anemia: he has it because his grandmother is black. This also poses a huge quandary for the entire Bauer family, as now they'll have to come to terms with the fact that one of their own is the kind of person they've made a life hating.
Themes
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon