Chapters 44-45 Summary
Loma is in a daze after Camp’s death. People come to visit out of curiosity but they don’t expect Camp will have a funeral or be buried like a regular Christian, since he committed suicide, a shameful sin. Now he cannot go to heaven.
Grandpa, however, is forcing people to pay their last respects as if everything is normal. People pass the casket crying, feeling sorry they were not nicer to the boy. Grandpa takes Loma in his arms as she weeps. She confesses she was mean to Camp and asks her daddy if she can come home to him.
Camp’s own family refuses to come to the funeral. In his suicide note, Camp asks to be buried in Cold Sassy so Loma can visit his grave. Grandpa gives Camp a regular funeral in the Baptist church, and he is buried in the cemetery at Mattie Lou’s feet.
Loma goes to live with her sister’s family, and begins to get her life back by writing. Queenie helps her with the baby. She wears her new flowered dress from New York. Love trains Loma to be a milliner so she can work at the store. Loma loves to be around people.
Love’s birthday is on Valentine’s Day, and she decides to use her savings to put in a bathroom. Grandpa buys her a gramophone and records. They go back to courting, with Grandpa reading to Miss Love while she sews. They laugh and tease, and she teaches him to dance. Grandpa gives Hosie Roach a job at the store.
Chapters 44-45 Commentary
Camp’s death seems to have some good repercussions in the town, opening a feeling of tolerance and forgiveness. Though suicides were not supposed to be “saved” or deserving of a funeral or burial with other people, Grandpa honors Camp’s last wish of being buried in Cold Sassy. And he “didn’t ask anybody’s permission” (p. 334). He tells Will his own opinion that there are really evil people, but Camp was harmless. Why would God make a harmless boy go to Hell? Camp just couldn’t stand it any more. Grandpa claims he does not want a funeral when he dies. Grandpa’s taking charge of Camp’s funeral makes Will proud of him.
Released from her unhappy marriage, Loma begins to blossom with her writing and new career as a milliner. Grandpa’s hiring of the Mill Town boy, Hosie Roach, is both generous and shrewd on his part. He knows he will get more work out of Hosie than any of his other employees. Will is jealous of Hosie because Hosie will replace him at the store. He continues his feud with him, even though he knows Hosie is an honorable person.
Grandpa and Love seem to be happy and courting again. Will notices all the presents that Love gets, but Granny never got a birthday present. He wonders what is going on: the two of them were like a book “with the last chapter missing” (p. 340).