Friday, April 13, 2012
Chapter six opens with Sister Catherine trying to pretend not to be revolted by the sights and smells she encounters while attending to the leprosy patients. Overcome by nausea, she rushes outside and is comforted by Sister Victor, who explains that she also finds helping the victims difficult.
Rachel moves into the dormitory at Bishop home, and although she is determined to hate the place, she begins making friends immediately. She particularly likes a girl named Emily. Rachel and Emily trade stories, and Rachel is shocked to discover that Emily is happy to have leprosy. Emily lived in an abusive household, and she never knew any sort of stability or kindness until she was diagnosed with leprosy and taken from her home. At night there is a storm, and the girls in the dormitory tell ghost stories.
The girls of Bishop Home are allowed to go on a trip to the beach, and Sister Catherine asks Haleola to come along. When Haleola and Catherine talk, Haleola reveals some of what she sees as unfair. She says the whole world knows of Father Damien, a white priest, but no one knows the names of the countless Hawaiian victims of leprosy. Rachel spends time with Haleola, and Haleola tells Rachel Hawaiian folk tales.
Rachel reads letters from her family in the dormitory. She hears a voice ask her if she got letters, and she discovers the voice comes from one of two girls who never gets out of bed. Rachel talks with Violet and lets Violet read her letters. The next day Rachel plans to spend time with Violet, but when Rachel arrives in the dormitory after school, she sees that Violet's bed is empty.