68 pages 2 hours read

Robert Cormier

After The First Death

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 1979

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Part 7

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 7 Summary

Part 7 takes place shortly after Ben meets with his father and is told from General Markhand’s perspective. Like Ben, his father also feared their first meeting since the bus incident, and he returns to Ben’s room after a meeting with the school’s dean to find Ben gone. While he waits for Ben to return, he wonders what he’ll tell his son about the bus incident and decides to start “at the beginning. Where else?” (135).

General Markhand goes over the details of the bus incident from his perspective—finding out who was involved and dispatching America’s forces to deal with the threat. When Ben doesn’t return by the time he finishes, the general sets out to look for his son. Knowing Ben as well as he knows himself, he goes to Brimmler’s Bridge. Ben isn’t there, so the general returns to Ben’s dorm, which is exactly how it was before he left. There is no sign of Ben’s return, and General Markhand reflects that it’s “as if you were never here” (141). He reads through the stack of pages beside Ben’s typewriter and realizes Ben plans to kill himself.