Small Great Things

Small Great Things

Small Great Things Chapter 31, Turk Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Six years later, Turk is at the doctor's office with his daughter, Carys, who's battling strep throat. He tells the reader that he married his wife, Deborah, and took her name. Deborah works nine to five while Turk stays with Carys and speaks for the Anti-Defamation League. He tells people about his hate and his racism and how it consumed Brit, who eventually committed suicide. He tells them about how white supremacists came at night and beat him and Francis, and how he shut down lonewolf.org the next day. He was filing for divorce when Brit killed herself.
Turk's life shows that he's made a number of substantial changes to his worldview: taking Deborah's last name and choosing to be a stay-at-home parent suggest that he no longer needs to feel superior and powerful like he once did. His speaking engagements allow him to try to atone for his past as well as potentially make a difference in the lives of kids who are susceptible, like he was.
Themes
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
Belonging and Community Theme Icon
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon
Turk says he still struggles with rage, but he's a part of an ice hockey league that lets him slam into people sometimes. He's especially careful around white men with Confederate flags, since he used to be one of them. Those speaking engagements are Turk's penance for the wrongs he did.
Now, Turk understands how dangerous it is to be a part of an organization that preaches nothing but hate. While Turk still feels some of those emotions, his ice hockey league allows him to channel them in a more acceptable venue.
Themes
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
The nurse comes in and introduces herself as Ruth Walker. She owns the clinic and seems not to recognize Turk. Ruth examines Carys as Turk looks around the room. He sees a diploma with the name Ruth Jefferson on it, a photograph of Edison graduating from Yale, and a ring on Ruth's finger. As Ruth excuses herself to get the supplies to test Carys's throat, Turk stops her and says, "thank you." After she leaves, Carys points to the tattoo on Turk's left hand, the only one he still has. It says LOVE. Carys asks if it's her name, and Turk says that her name means the same thing in Welsh.
Especially when placed next to Turk's insistence that he avoids men with Confederate flag tattoos, Turk's two children come to symbolize two ends of the spectrum. Davis, who was named for the Confederacy, represents hate, while Carys represents love, family, and the power of those things to help someone like Turk reform their views.
Themes
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon