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Hannah Baumgartner


Chapter 139

I think I could live alone. Perhaps in space, or in Antarctica researching the climate, or on

a remote island somewhere studying animals by myself because I like animals. Siobhan says

people need to be around other people, that we are social creatures. For a while, I thought she

was wrong because I am happiest when I am by myself. I read a book about wetlands and

marshes and it showed a picture of sea otters holding on to each other while sleeping on their

backs in the water. I have inserted the picture here:

When I talked to Siobhan about this (because I thought it was odd that wild animals

would behave this way), she said it was so one of them wouldn’t float away while they are

napping. She said it was cute. Siobhan explained to me that people aren’t the only species that

rely on others of their kind. I said I knew this because I know lots about animals, probably more

than Siobhan even does. And then I started to think about all the animals that live in communities
and not by themselves. I found that most of the smartest animals on the planet live in herds or

packs. I have made a table showing the correlation between these two variables:

Smartest Animals Do they live in groups?

Chimpanzee Yes

Elephant Yes

Crow No

Dolphin Yes

Pig No

Dog Yes

Bee Yes

*As you can see, there is a clear correlation between animal intelligence and group living.

I like this picture a lot. I don’t like it because it’s cute, as most people would say, I like it

because it proves something to me.1 It proves that we actually do need to coexist with others and

we cannot survive all on our own. Many of the smartest animals on the planet have evolved to

live this way and that has to prove something. Evolution is science and science doesn’t make

mistakes. We do this not because we would be lonely in solitude, but because life requires the

help of many in order to thrive.

After Father hit me, I never wanted to talk to him again. I thought I didn’t need him.

Then, being at the zoo reminded me of my animal table and the otters and then I remembered

why I needed him.

I haven’t performed a proper test on a groups’ response to this photograph, however, I have found that
Siobhan is usually indicative of how the general population thinks.
1) I am smart and smart animals live in packs. Father and I are a family and family is the

human form of a pack.

2) Father is like a hand to hold onto. Similar to the otters, I would float away without

him there- I need him and maybe he needs me too.2

I would not literally float away because I cannot fly nor swim. I have chosen to use this metaphor
(although I hate them) to demonstrate how I need Father in order to live the way I do and stay on track.
Explanation of Choice:

Chapter 139 is the chapter that directly follows the scene where Christopher and Ed go to

the zoo. Instead of him going on a tangent about Sherlock Holmes and the Cottingley Fairies,

which never really address why he so easily forgives his father, I created this chapter to show

how Christopher justifies it in his own mind. Rather than forgiving out of love, Christopher uses

science and animal behavior to prove to himself that staying with his father and remaining close

with him is a strategic move in the game of life. At times he is incapable of seeing beyond logic,

such as when Siobhan points out that the otters are cute, and he prefers to only grasp more

tangible ideas, such as the fact that the otters hold onto one another for safety. Additionally, this

chapter shows the contrast between how a normal person would view this picture and then how

Christopher views it and the subsequent idea paths that follow, such as his animal table showing

the correlation between animal intelligence and pack living.