Small Great Things

Small Great Things

by

Jodi Picoult

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Davis Bauer Character Analysis

Turk and Brit's baby. He dies at three days old after his circumcision and Ruth is blamed for his death. Over the course of the ensuing trial, it comes out that Davis had a disorder called MCADD, which put him at risk of experiencing respiratory failure if his blood sugar dropped—which it did due to fasting before his circumcision. Because of this, it's likely he would've died no matter what a nurse did or didn't do. Doctors also point out that he might've lived had he been born earlier in the week, as his disorder would've been identified in time to intervene and save his life. In the final days of the trial, Turk learns that Davis has African-American ancestry thanks to Adele, Davis's black grandmother. Despite hating black people, Turk realizes that he still loved his son and wishes he were still alive.

Davis Bauer Quotes in Small Great Things

The Small Great Things quotes below are all either spoken by Davis Bauer or refer to Davis Bauer. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Random House edition of Small Great Things published in 2016.
Chapter 4, Ruth Quotes

Babies are such blank slates. They don't come into the world with the assumptions their parents have made, or the promises their church will give, or the ability to sort people into groups they like and don't like.

Related Characters: Ruth Jefferson (speaker), Davis Bauer
Page Number: 62
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 23, Turk Quotes

I have been thinking about what Odette Lawton said: if I hadn't spoken out against the black nurse, would this have ended differently? Would she have tried to save Davis the minute she realized he wasn't breathing? Would she have treated him like any other critical patient, instead of wanting to hurt me like I'd hurt her?

Related Characters: Turk Bauer (speaker), Ruth Jefferson, Davis Bauer, Odette Lawton
Page Number: 382
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 24, Kennedy Quotes

"You think you're a respected member of a community—the hospital where you work, the town where you live. I had a wonderful job. I had colleagues who were friends. I lived in a home I was proud of. But it was just an optical illusion. I was never a member of any of those communities. I was tolerated, but not welcomed. I was, and will always be, different from them."

Related Characters: Ruth Jefferson (speaker), Turk Bauer, Kennedy McQuarrie, Howard, Davis Bauer
Page Number: 404
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Small Great Things LitChart as a printable PDF.
Small Great Things PDF

Davis Bauer Character Timeline in Small Great Things

The timeline below shows where the character Davis Bauer appears in Small Great Things. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2, Ruth
Belonging and Community Theme Icon
...labor, in the staff restroom. Lucille gives Ruth the rundown on Brit and the baby, Davis, who has low blood sugar due to his mother's gestational diabetes. She then warns Ruth... (full context)
Belonging and Community Theme Icon
...she answers Ruth's question. Ruth notices that Brit looks almost afraid as Ruth listens to Davis's lungs and heart. Turk stands up and towers over Ruth as she delicately explains that... (full context)
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
Belonging and Community Theme Icon
Ruth makes sure to smile as she hands Davis back to Brit and tries to help her position Davis to nurse. Brit flinches while... (full context)
Chapter 3, Turk
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
Brit and Turk decide to name their son Davis, after the Confederate president, and then Brit sends Turk to find her a milkshake. The... (full context)
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
...the room, introduces herself as Ruth, and explains that she'll be caring for Brit and Davis. Turk works hard to keep himself from shoving Ruth away, and Brit shoots him a... (full context)
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
...he hates because she's a "race traitor." Marie murmurs that she'll put a note in Davis's file stating Turk's wishes. Turk gathers Davis in his arms and promises to protect him... (full context)
Chapter 4, Ruth
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
Belonging and Community Theme Icon
Ruth checks Brit and Davis's charts when she gets back but finds a sticky note in Davis's folder reading that... (full context)
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
..."whitest" color, an orange called Juice Bar Hopping. She insists that being taken off of Davis's case is what black people deal with every day and says that Ruth's forgotten that... (full context)
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon
...that women are going into labor early, and the hospital is busy. Ruth does check Davis's chart to make sure that he's going to see the pediatric cardiologist and then gets... (full context)
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
Belonging and Community Theme Icon
...the next morning. Ruth is in the nursery eating a snack when Corinne wheels in Davis for his circumcision. She says that his sugar is still low, but he hasn't nursed... (full context)
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
Belonging and Community Theme Icon
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon
Twenty minutes later, Corinne is called away from monitoring Davis to go with another patient for an emergency C-section. She asks Ruth to watch him... (full context)
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
Davis doesn't start breathing. Ruth hastily wraps him up and seconds later Marie comes up behind... (full context)
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon
...for hospital protocol. Ruth says she was covering for Corinne and lies that she noticed Davis wasn't breathing right before Marie arrived. When Marie notes that Ruth wasn't doing anything, Ruth... (full context)
Chapter 6, Turk
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon
...Turk to settle her in, refuses to speak to Francis, and cries. Turk thinks of Davis and thinks that he saw Ruth beating on Davis's chest before he died. He thinks... (full context)
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon
...asks if it was all just a nightmare and asks what'll happen if nobody remembers Davis. Turk promises that nobody will forget. (full context)
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
...as he takes off his hat, revealing his swastika tattoo. He insists that Ruth killed Davis, says he heard the nursing staff talking about what happened, and that he saw her... (full context)
Belonging and Community Theme Icon
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon
On the day of Davis's funeral, Turk wonders who organized it. Most of the attendees are people Turk doesn't know,... (full context)
Chapter 7, Ruth
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
Belonging and Community Theme Icon
...life proceeds as normal until Carla Luongo asks her to come talk, two weeks after Davis's death. Ruth has been reliving Davis's death the entire time, making sure that the story... (full context)
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
Carla asks when Ruth touched Davis. Ruth knows that her answer can save her or damn her, and she says that... (full context)
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
...crystal back on the chandelier and finally, Mama asks what's wrong. Ruth leaves out the Davis debacle, but talks about Virginia. Mama suggests that Ruth is imagining things, and Ruth wonders... (full context)
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon
...union lawyer calls back with the news that the state is holding Ruth responsible for Davis's death; they've filed criminal charges against her. The lawyer says they're targeting her because she... (full context)
Chapter 8, Kennedy
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
Belonging and Community Theme Icon
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
...Ruth’s Mama is a maid. She briefly scans Ruth's indictment as Ruth tells her how Davis died. Kennedy says she can get Ruth out and promises to tell Edison. For a... (full context)
Chapter 9, Turk
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
...says that this will be more complicated than just getting Ruth to pay for killing Davis. He explains that the State is currently pursuing criminal charges against her, which means that... (full context)
Belonging and Community Theme Icon
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon
In the present, Turk spends every night listening to Davis's ghost cry. One night, Turk gets up to drink. Francis lets himself in, throws a... (full context)
Chapter 10, Ruth
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
...worse, Edison is watching. Ruth thinks back to how she lied that she didn't touch Davis, but she didn't trust Kennedy and so didn't tell the truth. As soon as the... (full context)
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
...husband was an accident, just like him beating her was an accident. Ruth thinks of Davis and says she doesn't believe in accidents. (full context)
Chapter 11, Kennedy
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
When Ruth insists that the issue is that Turk didn't want her near Davis, Kennedy pushes back. She says that the state doesn't care what color Ruth is; she... (full context)
Chapter 14, Ruth
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
Belonging and Community Theme Icon
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
...any of Ruth's white colleagues defended her when she was asked to not care for Davis, says they threw her under the bus because she's black, and assures her that black... (full context)
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
...shows Kennedy in. Kennedy unpacks a box of files and asks Ruth for help interpreting Davis's medical file. Ruth looks it over and explains that his blood sugar was low and... (full context)
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
...Marie's sticky note, Kennedy says that'll give the jury a reason to think Ruth murdered Davis. As she asks Ruth if it's more important to make a point or go free,... (full context)
Chapter 15, Turk
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
Belonging and Community Theme Icon
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon
Three months after Davis's funeral, Francis tells Turk to post an invitation on LONEWOLF for people to come to... (full context)
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
...but were in fact in pursuit of a larger goal. When Brit says she wants Davis to be remembered by everyone, Turk knows what she means: she wants to do something... (full context)
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon
...He tells his story and then says he wants a "day of vengeance" to honor Davis. Raine soberly says that he's no longer with the movement, and Turk realizes that Raine's... (full context)
Chapter 18, Kennedy
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
...a shocking experience, and then shows Kennedy the Twitter account @WhiteMight. The profile picture is Davis. (full context)
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
...look for congenital diseases like amino acid disorders and sickle cell anemia. Kennedy hands him Davis's lab results. Ivan looks through and says that Davis had MCADD, which means he was... (full context)
Chapter 19, Ruth
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon
Ruth explains that last night, Kennedy stopped by with news that Davis had MCADD. Ruth stared at the results and thought that it's not a lie anymore... (full context)
Chapter 20, Turk
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
Belonging and Community Theme Icon
...Turk instead shaves his head smooth. They drive first to the cemetery and stop at Davis's grave. Then, they head to the courthouse and see Wallace Mercy grandstanding. Turk watches, angry,... (full context)
Chapter 21, Kennedy
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
...She notices Walter Mercy out front, as well as a group holding up pictures of Davis. The white supremacists walk through Mercy's group, throwing punches, and police separate the groups. Kennedy... (full context)
Chapter 22, Ruth
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
...their "personal preferences" that led them to ask for Ruth to be taken off of Davis's case. Odette deems this a slight that Ruth couldn't stomach. She explains how Davis died,... (full context)
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
Kennedy rises to make her statement. She says that Turk blamed Ruth for Davis's death, but the evidence will show that it wouldn't have made any difference who was... (full context)
Belonging and Community Theme Icon
...Corinne about her job and about the morning that she was asked to take over Davis's care from Ruth. She says that Ruth was angry and stormed off, which isn't how... (full context)
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
Belonging and Community Theme Icon
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
Kennedy takes over questioning. She brings up Marie's note in Davis's file that barred Ruth from caring for Davis and suggests that Corinne actually messed up... (full context)
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon
...she didn't see Ruth again until two days later, when Ruth was left alone with Davis in the nursery. As Marie talks about Turk trying to save Davis himself, Ruth flashes... (full context)
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
Belonging and Community Theme Icon
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
...asked if she'd thought of the possibility that Ruth might have been forced to supervise Davis but not touch him. Kennedy points out that Marie never specified that Ruth was allowed... (full context)
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon
...just a mind game designed to make her wonder if she actually wanted to hurt Davis. Edison asks Ruth if Davis died like Marie said he did. Ruth says it was... (full context)
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
...chest compressions in resuscitating an infant, and to talk about how Ruth performed them on Davis. Isaac notes that saving a life can look violent and says that Ruth was trying... (full context)
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
...she smiles at Ruth before turning to Odette. Dr. Atkins mentions the heart murmur, describes Davis's circumcision, and mentions Ruth's comment to sterilize Davis. When Kennedy takes over, she asks Dr.... (full context)
Belonging and Community Theme Icon
...of the day, but Ruth can't stop thinking about Dr. Atkins's face when she saw Davis's test results. Ruth thinks that she's on trial for something she didn't do, but a... (full context)
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
...Dr. Bill Binnie testifies. He's a medical examiner and explains the results of his autopsy. Davis had a heart murmur and low blood sugar, which is normal for a baby born... (full context)
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
...confirms that the bruising could've been the result of CPR. She then gives Dr. Binnie Davis's newborn screening results that show MCADD. He concedes that because of the undiagnosed MCADD and... (full context)
Belonging and Community Theme Icon
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon
...again. She confirms that the newborn screening doesn't actually diagnose the disorder, and it's possible Davis might not have had it. She suggests that Kennedy is just trying to make it... (full context)
Chapter 23, Turk
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon
...she'll still call Turk. He wonders if having his grief in control means he loved Davis less. Odette then brings up the MCADD diagnosis and says that the defense has planted... (full context)
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
Belonging and Community Theme Icon
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon
...when they don't agree with their beliefs, hence his request to take Ruth off of Davis's case. (full context)
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon
Then, Turk describes following the commotion to the nursery, seeing Ruth pounding on Davis's chest, and watching Dr. Atkins declare him dead. Odette offers Turk tissues as he says... (full context)
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
...says, "we all get what's coming to us," and then suggests that both Turk and Davis got what they deserved—Turk can't deal with the fact that his perfect Aryan child had... (full context)
Chapter 24, Kennedy
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
...but Ruth admits that she wants to tell the truth: she did try to resuscitate Davis when he first stopped breathing. Kennedy suggests that Ruth keep this to herself, but Ruth... (full context)
Belonging and Community Theme Icon
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
...harm. Ruth explains what happened on the morning that Turk asked she be taken off Davis's case. She then explains what happened when Davis stopped breathing: she tried to get him... (full context)
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
Odette's questioning seeks to show that Ruth lied several times about not touching Davis. She suggests that Ruth was more interested in saving her job than the baby. Odette... (full context)
Chapter 25, Ruth
Belonging and Community Theme Icon
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon
...gets home, Edison isn't there. She wonders if she's actually the villain for thinking that Davis would grow up to be a monster. She also thinks that she doesn't regret what... (full context)
Chapter 26, Kennedy
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
Belonging and Community Theme Icon
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon
...so she cleans up in her office. She knocks over a stack of papers, including Davis's infant screening, and reads the rest of his results. She notices one other abnormal result—Davis... (full context)
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
...she wants to know why Ruth is the only person who's taking the fall for Davis's death, when plenty of other doctors and nurses cared for him. (full context)
Chapter 27, Ruth
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
...baby died. She insists that Ruth is a liar and talking about race won't bring Davis back. (full context)
Chapter 28, Turk
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
Belonging and Community Theme Icon
Family and Shared Humanity 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... (full context)
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon
...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. (full context)
Chapter 29, Kennedy
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
...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... (full context)