Katherine Boo

Behind the Beautiful Forevers

  • 28-page comprehensive study guide
  • Features 17 chapter summaries and 6 sections of expert analysis
  • Written by a literary scholar with a Master's degree in Creative Writing
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Behind the Beautiful Forevers Chapters 15-17 Summary & Analysis

Chapter 15 Summary: Ice

Abdul and his family hold on to their recyclables as long as possible, waiting for the market to improve, but they finally have to sell the recycling at a loss. As long as Abdul is sorting his garbage on the maidan, the Husains have to pay daily bribes to the police – so Abdul has to rethink his business. Mirchi has grown up fast since the Husains’ troubles began, and has taken some temp jobs at businesses near the airport, although his employers have cheated him out of some of his earnings.

While the Husains are waiting for the verdict in Karam and Kehkashan’s trial, the rest of Mumbai watches the trial of the surviving terrorist from the Mumbai attacks. The Husains’ judge is reassigned, and a new judge takes over their case. Again, the special executive officer approaches the Husains to extort money, saying she can make Fatima’s husband retract his testimony. Again, the Husains refuse.

Abdul continues his thrice-weekly visits to Dongri, although the time commitment means he cannot earn money on those days. On one visit, he takes a detour to Haji Ali, a Muslim gathering place, and is horrified to find disabled beggars – No Legs and One Legs – lining the streets. Disgusted and uncomfortable, he returns to Annawadi, resolving to be like ice – a transcendent form of Mumbai’s dirty water.

Chapter 16 Summary: Black and White

Asha has been disappointed repeatedly in her attempts to get out of Annawadi. Recently, Mr. Kamble’s widow took one of Asha’s most useful male companions, and the Corporator has finally been found guilty in court of not being low-caste. Asha’s plans for an advantageous marriage for Manju have gone nowhere. People in the slum begin turning against Asha after she arranges the sale of some huts in Annawadi, effectively turning their occupants out onto the street.

But Asha finally finds her way out – through funding for a bogus non-profit. Asha only has to sign paperwork that attests to the fact that she has been running twenty-four kindergartens, and she receives a check for $10,000 (US). The money…

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