Small Great Things

Small Great Things

by

Jodi Picoult

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Small Great Things: Chapter 29, Kennedy Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
It takes two days for the jury to return their verdict. Edison returns to school, his desire to do well renewed. Ruth appears on Wallace Mercy's show and receives donations from his viewers. Brit is in the hospital and Turk hasn't been back to court. Right after the debacle with Adele and Mercy, Ruth asked Kennedy what happened. Kennedy explains that she noticed Davis tested positive for sickle cell anemia, which is more common in African Americans. Wallace Mercy did the rest of the sleuthing and found Brit's birth certificate.
The fact that things seem to be returning to normal for Edison, Ruth, and Kennedy continues to situate Ruth's trial in the current political landscape. While it's the most important trial in her life, it's certainly not the only one that will garner media attention and raise questions about the role of racism in healthcare and in the court system.
Themes
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
At the end of the day, the jury is still split. The next morning, Judge Thunder calls Kennedy and Odette to his office to explain that the jury is hung, eleven to one. When Kennedy speaks to Howard after the meeting, they both know that juror number 12 is the one who won't budge. Kennedy relays the news to Ruth and says she doesn't know what will happen; there could be a retrial or Odette could drop it. In the courtroom, Judge Thunder dismisses the jury and then says he's ready to rule on Kennedy's motion of acquittal. He apologizes to Ruth, and Kennedy tells Ruth she's free to go.
When Judge Thunder effectively acquits Ruth, it speaks to Kennedy's willingness at the beginning of the novel to judge—now that she's spent these few months with Ruth, she understands that all people are complex, and it's unthinkable to believe she can know who a person is from just a few experiences.
Themes
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
Belonging and Community Theme Icon