37 pages 1 hour read

William Steig

Abel's Island

Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 1976

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Chapters 8-13

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 8 Summary

In September, Abel attempts to vault himself over the water using a flexible limb as a catapult. However, he can’t bend the limb low enough to make the catapult work. He makes a fire using a bow-drill technique he learned in school, which allows him to roast his food and bake small clay bowls that he sends down the stream with letters to Amanda inside. He also creates a signal fire. The letter states that he is alive and gives Amanda instructions on where to find him near the birch limb. Soon, rain sets in, and “Abel ha[s] to cherish his dry log” (48). The time stuck inside forces him to contemplate his life but also makes him sad as he thinks of Amanda. When he sleeps, he dreams that he and Amanda live in a lush garden, much like the island he now inhabits.

Chapter 9 Summary

Abel talks to Amanda through his thoughts—or what he calls “mind messages” (51)—and believes that she receives them. Attempting to harness more of this magic, Abel makes a glider and jumps from the birch limb hoping to glide to the other side.