The Wanderer

The Wanderer VI. Land Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
61. Ahoy Ahoy. Sophie opens the last section of the book with a journal entry announcing that she and Cody spotted land—the coast of Ireland. Cody then writes his own log entry (Land) about his experience of seeing land. He says he thought he was hallucinating when he first saw Ireland.
Finally, after their hardships out on the open ocean, the crew can finally see land—an end to their dangerous journey is finally within reach. Cody’s belief that he is hallucinating highlights his shock at seeing land after previously thinking he was going to die at sea.
Themes
Dreaming vs. The Real World Theme Icon
The Mysteries of Life and Death Theme Icon
62. Land. Cody adds that Uncle Stew and Mo got into a big argument. Stew was wondering who was going to get The Wanderer repaired, and whether the rest of the crew should rent a car and drive to Bompie’s versus sailing to England once the boat had been fixed. Mo and Stew started quibbling over which adult should stay, and Stew said that Sophie should remain with The Wanderer and not go to Bompie’s. But Sophie came below deck and flat-out declared that she was going—and that was that.
Despite their near-encounter with death, Mo and Stew return to their usual way of arguing with each other. Sophie, determined to make it to Bompie’s, absolutely refuses to let Stew prevent her from going. Stew’s coldness in trying to keep her with The Wanderer is somewhat shocking, since the whole reason Sophie sailed across the ocean, nearly dying in the process, was to see Bompie.
Themes
Men and Women Theme Icon
Family and Personal Identity Theme Icon
63. Bursting.Sophie writes an entry saying that she and the crew all went to a pub once they landed in Ireland and ordered a bunch of food, and talked like crazy for hours to the people around them.
Having been without contact with other human beings except themselves, the crew is ecstatic about finally being in civilization again.
Themes
The Passage of Time Theme Icon
Dreaming vs. The Real World Theme Icon
64. New Body.Cody then writes his own account of the pub, and realizes that Sophie was mixing up her stories and her words. She said that she and her cousins had been planning this trip since they were little kids, but that was actually her uncles’ story. Further, she said the nearly fatal wave she encountered was black (like “The Wave” of her dreams), but it was actually white.
Sophie, who we know has a tendency to mix up the facts about her life, is mixing up her own story with her uncles’, and real life with her dreams—this shows how Sophie has come to think of the wave of her dreams as pretty much the same as the violent wave in real life.
Themes
Dreaming vs. The Real World Theme Icon
Get the entire The Wanderer LitChart as a printable PDF.
The wanderer.pdf.medium
65. Push-Pull. In Sophie’s next entry, she says the whole crew is piled in a rental car on the way to Bompie’s—Uncle Dock found someone to start repair work on The Wanderer, so everyone is able to visit Bompie. Sophie says everyone is “touchy and crabby and hardly speaking.” Apparently, Dock was upset that they won’t be sailing The Wanderer around the Irish coast, because he wanted to stop at another friend’s house on the way. But Sophie says he was finally able to convince the other uncles to drive to the house and make a brief stop there. Sophie concludes her entry by saying she feels pushed and pulled: while she’s excited to see Bompie, she’s also terrified of seeing him.
Here, the conflicted relationship Sophie has with the water gets applied to her relationship with Bompie—while she looked forward for so long to meeting Bompie, looking up to him and, in some mysterious way, deeply identifying with him, she’s still—for some reason she can’t quite pin down—waryof actually meeting him in the flesh. We might infer that she’s worried that Bompie won’t be the same as how she’s imagined him, or that he’ll let her down in some way.
Themes
Dreaming vs. The Real World Theme Icon
Family and Personal Identity Theme Icon
66. The Visitor. Sophie’s next entry details their arrival at Dock’s friend’s house. Everyone stayed inside the car while Dock went up to the door, and when it opened, it was Rosalie. Dock gave her a strong embrace, and Sophie writes that he had the “biggest smile in the universe.”
Finally Dock has been reunited with the love of his life. Dock, who’s usually very level-headed and not dramatic, suddenly lights up with an ecstatic happiness at seeing his long lost love.
Themes
Men and Women Theme Icon
67. Phone Call. Cody then writes, in his own journal, that he and Sophie were able to phone home at the cottage of Dock’s friend. He says Sophie was in disbelief that she was able to hear her mom and dad’s voice—she thought she would never talk to them again. Sophie’s mom, however, said that Bompie hadn’t been well; after hearing this, everyone quickly returned to the car and began rushing towards Bompie’s house. Rosalie said she’d rejoin Dock at Bompie’s in a couple of days.
At long last, Sophie gets to communicate with her parents. Having encountered the nearly fatal wave at sea, it’s a joy to communicate with them, and to reconnect after such a long time. Hearing thatBompie is ill prompts everyone to swiftly leave Dock’s friend’s house—evenif this means postponing Dock’s reunion with Rosalie.
Themes
Family and Personal Identity Theme Icon
Cody ends his journal entry saying that everyone is on a ferry crossing the Irish Sea towards Wales. He says Brian asked Sophie if she thought that Bompie would recognize everyone or not—she says “Of course,” and Cody writes that Brian didn’t seem to have bad intentions with his question. Brian wasn’t trying to be mean this time, Cody says, but rather to figure Sophie out, and he seems actually worried about her. Cody also says that he thinks Brian is deeply bothered by the fact that Sophie sees the world in such a completely different way than he does. While Brian is obsessed with truth and facts, Sophie seems to live in her own little dream world.
The fact that Brian seems to be genuinely sincere when he asks whether Bompie will recognize everyone or notmarks quite a transformation. It seems that Brian has started to actually worry about Sophie’s psychological well-being, and is not just trying to be mean to her or degrade her sense of imagination and aloofness, which clashes with his own sense of order and rationality.
Themes
Dreaming vs. The Real World Theme Icon
Family and Personal Identity Theme Icon
68. Wales.Sophie writes that the crew is driving across Wales; she says that the countryside is “lush and inviting,” and wishes that they could stop more to look around, but they’re in a rush to get to Bompie’s. Sophie says that, while before she was scared about seeing Bompie and what meeting him would mean, now she’s just scared he won’t be alive when they arrive.
The crew is now rushing to see Bompie, fearing that he is dying. Sophie doesn’t have any time to think about what meeting Bompie might mean anymore—she just wants to make sure she gets to see him at all.
Themes
Dreaming vs. The Real World Theme Icon
Family and Personal Identity Theme Icon
The Mysteries of Life and Death Theme Icon
69. The Little Girl. In Cody’s next entry, he says that the crew has stopped at an Inn in Wales. While everyone was waiting for Sophie downstairs before dinner, Brian demanded that Dock tell everyone what happened to Sophie’s parents. Uncle Stew wants to know, too, and Brian says he still thinks that Sophie is lying about knowing Bompie. Dock then tries to answer them by telling a vague story about a little girl—different than Sophie’s “little kid”—meant to refer to Sophie, but Cody fills in Dock’s vague outline of the girl’s life with details he’s learned about the “little kid” of Sophie’s stories. Cody therefore brings out more details about Sophie’s life than Dock would have otherwise given: after Sophie’s parents died, she went to live with her grandfather, who also died, and then her aunt—but her aunt didn’t want her, and so she started going from foster home to foster home, until finally she was adopted. Because Sophie had lived in so many places, Cody concludes, she must have wanted so badly to actually feel wanted by her adoptive family that she forced herself to believe that they were actually her real family.
Brian persists in uncovering the truth of Sophie’s past, and Stew backs his son up on this. Unable to tolerate the mystery of how Sophie could possibly know Bompie, Brian’s rational and orderly nature demands an answer in order to make the Sophie’s worldview conform to his own understanding. Cody’s application of his knowledge of the little kid (from Sophie’s stories) to the story Dock tells shows how Cody knows that the little kid is, truly, Sophie herself. As Dock tells the story of Sophie’s process of moving from place to place and her eventual adoption, Cody is able to use his knowledge of the little kid to flesh out the psychological portrait of Sophie in more detail, coming to an understanding of how she must have felt incredibly rejected and exhausted from moving around from place to place.
Themes
Dreaming vs. The Real World Theme Icon
Family and Personal Identity Theme Icon
When Sophie arrives downstairs, everyone stops talking and stares at her. Then, the whole crew has dinner—and Cody writes that he could barely eat, because all he could do was look at Sophie, since she seemed like a totally new person. Everyone else, he said, is staring at her too; she finally says something, and asks why everyone is looking at her as if she were a ghost. Uncle Dock tells her that she just looked very special that evening, and Cody notices that Sophie sheds one lone tear.
Everyone, shocked by the truth of Sophie’s past, is suddenly somewhat in awe of Sophie; now they see this person in her that’s been there all along, but whom they never noticed. Sitting at dinner with her, they must feel like they are in the presence of a completely different person. By shedding a tear, it seems that Sophie can tell something is up—that they are seeing her in a new way.
Themes
Family and Personal Identity Theme Icon
The Mysteries of Life and Death Theme Icon
Cody then writes that the crew just crossed the Severn River on a bridge, and has arrived in England. Both Mo and Dock cried, he says, and they explain that they feel sentimental about being where their father was born. Brian whispers to Cody, saying that he still wonders how Sophie knows Bompie’sstories—did she make them up? Cody says he doesn’t know, and then writes that he wants to know so many things about Sophie: how her parents died, whether they died at the same time or not, and how did Sophie think and feel about it? He ends his entry by saying that they’ll be at Bompie’s later that night.
Cody’s curiosity about Sophie’s past is even more intensified now that he’s gotten more of the story from Dock. What Dock provided was not enough; Cody wants to know how Sophie reacted to her parents’ death, and what it’s like to go through something like that. Finally, despite all of their struggles and conflicts, the crew is approaching Bompie’s—the goal of their entire trip across the Atlantic Ocean is approaching.
Themes
The Passage of Time Theme Icon
Dreaming vs. The Real World Theme Icon
Family and Personal Identity Theme Icon
The Mysteries of Life and Death Theme Icon
70. Castle.Sophie writes that the crew are sitting at a bench outside Windsor Castle, a royal castle in the English county of Berkshire, eating cheeseburgers from a McDonald’s across the street. She says that they’re maybe a half hour away from Bompie.
At long last, the crew is nearing Bompie. The crew must be incredibly famished, since their main concern has so far been to arrive at Bompie’s before it’s too late.
Themes
The Passage of Time Theme Icon
71. The Cottage. Cody’snext entry details the crew’s arrival at Bompie’scottage. When they arrive, a nurse greets them, and leads them to Bompie’s room, where he’s lying in bed. His eyes are closed, and Cody says he thought he had died.
Bompie, it seems, is near the end of his days—even though he’s just sleeping when the crew arrives, he appears to have already departed.
Themes
The Mysteries of Life and Death Theme Icon
72. Bompie.Sophie’s following entry picks up where the last one left off, and says that, after Dock took Bompie’s hand and gently stroked it, Bompie opened his eyes—but he was a bit confused. Bompie calls Dock “Peter,” and when Dock identifies himself (as Jonah, his real name), Bompie says that Jonah is away at camp. He says the same thing to Mo and Stew. When Cody and Brian step forward, Bompie identifies them as Mo and Stew; when Sophie steps forward, Bompie thinks she’s Margaret, his late wife. Brian tells Sophie to stop trying to introduce herself, since he thinks Bompie doesn’t know her—but when Bompie hears the name “Sophie,” he knows her immediately.
Much to the shock of everyone, Bompie does, in fact, know Sophie—aswe discover later on, they’ve corresponded through many letters. We can see that Bompie’s memory is going, as he struggles to identify his children,and he seems to be stuck in an earlier time, thinking that all his kids are at camp. Brian, with his typical coldness and inability to just let Sophie be herself, tries to intervene in her introduction to Bompie—but Brian’s unkindness is thwarted when Bompie recognizes only her.
Themes
The Passage of Time Theme Icon
Dreaming vs. The Real World Theme Icon
Family and Personal Identity Theme Icon
73. The Story. Cody’s next entry begins a week after they’ve arrived at Bompie’s. On the second day there, Cody says that Sophie began telling Bompie his own stories. She told him the story about the car and the train bridge, but in both stories she adds a part he doesn’t remember—something about struggling in the water and fighting for breath every time he ended up in it. Then, Cody writes, Sophie tells Bompie a story that he doesn’t recognize at all: when he went sailing on the ocean with his parents, and a storm started brewing, and a giant wall of black water suddenly came over him, sweeping him away—and his parents didn’t survive. But Bompie doesn’t recognize the story at all, and Cody, reaching across the bed to touch Sophie’s hand, suggests that maybe the story is hers, not Bompie’s. Bompie then adds, “Sophie, he’s right. That’s your story, honey.”
In the climax of the entire book, Sophie learns here that what she thought was Bompie’s story all along—that his parents died in an accident at sea—might actually be her own story, and that she’s confused it with Bompie’s. This is one reason why she’s identified with Bompie so much—she feels he shares something deeply important to her own life story. Further, she projects her own fear of water onto all of Bompie’s tales, reading him as struggling in the water every time he encounters it—butBompie doesn’t recognize this element of the stories at all. Sophie must feel a lot of pain here, realizing the truth she wants so much to forget.
Themes
Dreaming vs. The Real World Theme Icon
Family and Personal Identity Theme Icon
The Mysteries of Life and Death Theme Icon
After realizing that the story is her own, Sophie puts her head on Bompie’s chest and cries. Cody says he left them there together, and about an hour later, Sophie came to him and gave him a notebook full of twenty or thirty letters, with dates ranging over the past few years, from Bompie. The first one welcomed Sophie to the family, and in all of the other ones, he had written her a story about his life growing up. Cody says that it was strange reading some of the stories Sophie had told him, because they were very close to the way he wrote them—but she had always added the part about struggling in the water.
At last we can finally understand how it is that Bompie knew Sophie, and that Sophie did not simply invent the stories she told about him, although she may have changed them by adding parts about Bompie struggling in the water. Further, we get the sense that Sophie must have pored over the stories Bompie sent her, in deep admiration of them, since she was able to recite them nearly word-for-word.
Themes
Dreaming vs. The Real World Theme Icon
Family and Personal Identity Theme Icon
The Mysteries of Life and Death Theme Icon
74. Apples. In her next entry, Sophie says that, even though Bompie was so weak and bedridden, it didn’t stop Stew and Mo from arguing about whether they should take Bompie back to America or not. Dock suggests that they ask Bompie what he wants to do, and he clearly states that he’s not going anywhere. Everyone put the argument aside for a while, Sophie said, and then Rosalie arrived, and went for a walk with Dock.
Once again, despite the near-death encounter they faced at sea, Stew and Mo have refused to be consistently more sensitive towards one another. Even in front of their sickly and bedridden father, who is approaching his last days, they can’t help but put aside their petty differences and not lash out at each other.
Themes
Family and Personal Identity Theme Icon
75. Oh, Rosalie! Cody then writes an entry and says that Rosalie left Dock. She had plans she wasn’t able to change—she was leaving for Spain the next day. Dock said that he asked her to marry her, but she said it was too soon, and again, she already had plans. Dock then decides that he’s going to stay in England and take care of Bompie.
Sadly, Dock’s encounter with Rosalie is brief—the love of his life cannot stay with him, and they are to be separated again. Out of love for his father, though, Dock will remain in the land of his heritage. Perhaps one day he will be reunited with Rosalie.
Themes
Men and Women Theme Icon
Dreaming vs. The Real World Theme Icon
Family and Personal Identity Theme Icon
The Mysteries of Life and Death Theme Icon
76. Gifts. Sophie writes that, on their last night with Bompie, Mo gave everyone a drawing he had done. He made one for Bompie of him sitting in bed, eating pie; one for Stew of him using a sextant with Brian; one for Brian of him taking up a list; a watercolor for Uncle Dock of The Wanderer; a drawing for Cody of him juggling; and a drawing for Sophie of her up in the bosun’s chair, swinging out over the waves. Sophie says she’s very touched by the gift, and wasn’t expecting one.
The fact that Mo made a drawing for Sophie is something she finds incredibly kind—it fulfills her sense of belonging to the family, that she gets to have a gift like everyone else. Mo’s drawing, in this way, is a warm gesture recognizing Sophie as an integral, valued member of her adoptive family.
Themes
Family and Personal Identity Theme Icon
77. Remembering. In Cody’s last journal entry, he says that it was difficult saying goodbye to Uncle Dock and Bompie, but that it was incredible to fly over the ocean back to the U.S., and to realize that he and the rest of the crew had sailed across it. He adds that Sophie is staying with him for a week before returning to Kentucky, and that they went walking along the beach and couldn’t stop rehashing the details of their trip.
Flying back home over the ocean, Cody realizes the profound distance he and the rest of the crew traversed—this must feel like an incredible, life-changing achievement. He and Sophie already feel nostalgic about their trip; life back home, on land, will never be the same.
Themes
The Passage of Time Theme Icon
Dreaming vs. The Real World Theme Icon
The Mysteries of Life and Death Theme Icon
Cody then writes that, while walking on the beach, he tried to suggest that the grandfather Sophie mentioned going clamming with on Block Island when she was little was actually her “first Bompie,” and that maybe she was with her first parents, too. This confuses Sophie, but Cody encourages her that such a memory would be a good thing to remember—that the “little kid” Sophie talks about might like to remember something like that. Sophie just replies: “That little kid is bigger now.” Cody then writes that he thinks the little kid one day arrived at a place where it was all right to forget the past—and once it was okay to not remember, the little kid actually started remembering things. Along with the good came the bad, he speculates, and he thinks maybe that the little kid thought she’d discovered some things lost to her.
Here Cody is trying to help Sophie remember her past by talking about what the little kid might like to remember about her past. In this way, instead of directly assaulting Sophie with her painful past—which would probably make Sophie just try to change the subject—Cody speaks Sophie’s own language by playing into her own, coded stories about the “little kid.” By getting Sophie to think about the little kid more and more, Cody might get Sophie to realize that the memories of the little kid are actually her own. Perhaps, Cody tries to suggest, the little kid can reach a point where it’s okay to remember the good things.
Themes
Dreaming vs. The Real World Theme Icon
Family and Personal Identity Theme Icon
Cody adds that Dock called and said that The Wanderer had been repaired and that he’d found a job charting the ocean floor. And his father, Mo, Cody says, has enrolled in art classes at night. He concludes by saying that next week he, Sophie, and Brian are going to get together at Sophie’s place in Kentucky and explore the Ohio river. They’re going to build a raft and try to find the train bridge that Bompie jumped off, where he was baptized, and the place he lost the car to the current.
The cousins—Sophie, Brian, and Cody—are now a more tight-knit group, it seems. Whereas before Brian had been an annoyance to Sophie and Cody, the latter pair seem to have accepted him more, and vice-versa. Their nostalgia for their experiences on The Wanderer is further revealed by their desire to almost relive Bompie’s stories.
Themes
Family and Personal Identity Theme Icon
78. Home. In her last journal entry, Sophie says that she’s happy to be home, and that Cody and Brian are staying with her for a couple of weeks. She says that her “now-parents” are relieved to have her back, and that they check in on her every night while she’s in bed. She writes that Cody and Brian have been exploring the Ohio River in their raft, which they’ve called “The Blue Bopper Wanderer.” She ends by saying that—harking back to the first chapter of the book—she’s not stuck in either a world of dreams, of facts, or stubbornness: she’s just present, here, right now. Sophie says that, when she closes her eyes, she still smells the sea—but she feels as if she’s “been dunked in the clear cool water” and re-emerged anew. She writes: “Bye-bye, Bompie. Bye-bye, sea.”
Quite remarkably, Sophie uses the term “now-parents” in order to designate that her adoptive parents are different than her biological ones. This shows that her mind has undergone a significant change—that she’s starting to accept her past and integrate it into her conscious mind. Like the “little kid” who wanted to forget about her past and be in the present moment, Sophie’s starting to do this, but while still being connected with a sense of her past at the same time. Sophie alludes back to the baptism in Grand Manan by saying she’s been dunked into a cleansing water and consequently reborn.
Themes
The Passage of Time Theme Icon
Dreaming vs. The Real World Theme Icon
Family and Personal Identity Theme Icon
The Mysteries of Life and Death Theme Icon