68 pages 2 hours read

Robert Cormier

After The First Death

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 1979

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Part 5

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 5 Summary

Ben’s father finally arrives at Castle at 11:25. Viewing him from a distance, Ben knows it’s his father, but there is something new about him. It takes Ben a minute to realize it, but his father looks tentative and fragile, as if he’s made of glass and “would shatter into a million pieces if he bumped into something” (82). Ben blames himself and his actions at the bus incident for his father’s change.

The visit begins awkwardly. A long silence falls, and Ben fills it with ramblings about school and classes and the other kids. All the while, his father’s face remains neutral. In an effort to get a reaction, Ben asks if Inner Delta was saved. It was. In a flashback, Ben’s father explains the details of the hijacking. The men who hijacked the bus made three demands. They wanted some prisoners released, a large sum of money, and for Inner Delta to be shut down. The first two demands are for show, and the third is the true reason for the hijacking.

Still in the flashback, Ben asks what will happen if the government doesn’t meet the demands. His father assures Ben it isn’t an issue and asks him to stay put while the situation plays out.