Small Great Things

Small Great Things

by

Jodi Picoult

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Small Great Things: Chapter 28, Turk Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Turk is shocked when a black woman tries to touch Brit and then lies that Brit is her daughter. He looks to Francis, who says only the name of Brit's mother, Adele. Turk tells the reader that he knows little about Adele, just that she cheated on Francis with a black man and Francis told her to leave Brit or he'd kill her. Turk looks at Brit's long dark hair and thinks that he doesn't know who his wife is or who he is. He thinks that he had a baby with a black person, and that his baby was part black too.
Turk's thought process after Francis effectively confirms that Adele is Brit's mother shows how starkly divided his world is thanks to white supremacy: even though he's spent years loving Brit, this revelation is enough for her to shift in his mind from being his wife to being just another black person.
Themes
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon
Brit runs off, and though Francis tries to get the LONEWOLF members to help look for her, they disappear. Turk doesn't care; he just wants to find Brit. As they drive around, Francis tells his story. His relationship with Adele was perfect and she got pregnant quickly. After Brit was born, Francis got scared that something was going to go wrong. Adele started spending more time with her choir director at church, so Francis accused her of cheating. He beat her and she ran to the choir director, so he gave her the ultimatum to leave Brit or die.
In telling his story, Francis becomes more human and understandable: like Turk, he ended up moving towards white supremacy because the family he created began to crumble, and fear and hate were all he could feel. When the other LONEWOLF members disappear, it shows that they feel betrayed by Francis—they still think in black and white terms.
Themes
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
Belonging and Community Theme Icon
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon
After that, Francis started leaving Brit in the car while he got drunk at bars, and that's where he met Tom Metzger. Tom told Francis to straighten up and gave him a pamphlet when he heard Francis's story. Francis never mentioned that Adele was black, and he found that it was easier to hate black people than hate himself.
The movement provided Francis with structure and a sense of community, just as it did with Turk. Again, the fact that that community has abandoned him in this time of need suggests that it was never particularly strong to begin with. When a community is based only on hatred of an “other,” it’s easy for anyone, even a member of the community, to become an other and then hated as well.
Themes
Belonging and Community Theme Icon
Turk breaks into the graveyard and he and Francis approach Davis's grave. They find Brit there, brandishing her penknife. Francis shines his flashlight at her and they see that she has several deep cuts in her arm. She says she can't get "her" blood out as she cuts her wrist again. A few days later, Brit is relatively stable in the hospital psych ward. It's after midnight and Turk sits in the cafeteria, thinking he can only hate for so long and wondering how he can believe black people are inferior and still love Brit.
Turk's love for Brit is proof that much of what Turk has learned is true is wrong: though he's struggling now, he implies that he will get over this hurdle and be able to continue loving her. Brit, on the other hand, turns to self-harm because she's been raised to rely only on hate, and that extends to herself now that she knows she's part black.
Themes
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
Belonging and Community Theme Icon
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon
Related Quotes
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Turk wanders the halls and ends up in the preemie NICU. He stands at the nursery window with another man, who points to his daughter. Turk, not wanting to look creepy, points to a baby in a blue blanket as if it’s his own child. He can see that the baby has brown skin and thinks that, if Davis were alive, he wouldn't care what color Davis's skin was.
The realization that Turk wouldn't care if Davis had brown skin if he were still alive represents a major turning point for Turk, as it suggests that he's finally willing to consider that his innate love for individuals is more powerful than his learned hatred for specific groups.
Themes
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon