Setting- Throughout Swallowing Stones there are many different settings. The whole novel takes place in the summer in Briarwood, New Jersey, United States of America. The important and/or main settings are
The Ghost Tree
The Church Stairs Across From Jenna’s House
Briarwood Community Pool
Briarwood Public Library
Nan Tucket beach
The Ghost tree is known as a place of healing and Jenna Ward meets numerous people there in her dreams including Amy Ruggerio, Michael Mackenzie, and Her father Charlie Ward.
The Church Stairs is a place across from Jenna’s house where Michael goes almost every night just to sit and think about everything that has happened and to be alone.
Briarwood Community Pool is where Michael works as a lifeguard. Jenna, Amy , Joe, Darcy, Andrea all go swimming here as well.
Briarwood Public Library is where Michael stops on his way to the church stairs to read the news paper to see what is happening with the ward case.
Nan Tucket Beach is the place Jenna Decides to go with Andrea for something different to do on a cold rainy day.
Michael Mackenzie – is dynamic and the Protagonist character. Shot Charlie.
Amy Ruggeri – is a dynamic character Friends with Michael.
Jenna Ward – Is dynamic and the Antagonist Character. Charlie’s Daughter.
Andrea – is a static character. Jenna’s Friend
Meredith Ward – is a dynamic character. Charlie’s wife and Jenna’s mother.
Joe Sadowski – is a dynamic character friends with Michael
Darcy Kelly – Michael’s Girlfriend, Static
Josh Mackenzie – Michael’s brother, Static
Dave Zelenski – Police Chief, Static
Doug Boyle - Police officer also known as “ the hangman”, Static
Ralph Healey – Police officer, Static
Charlie Ward – is a static character, Shot by Michael, Meredith’s husband, Jenna’s Father
Jason Friedman – Jenna’s Boyfriend, Static
Karen Mackenzie – Michael and Josh’s Mother, Tom’s wife, Static
Tom Mackenzie – Michael and Josh’s Father, Karen’s husband, Static
Annie Rico – the “Know it all”
The Five Stages of Grief…
1. Denial – Denial is when you don’t believe that the person is actually gone and not coming back. Jenna starts to experience denial as soon as the morning after her father is killed. When Jenna is Down in the basement in her Fathers Shop and hears footsteps and thinks they are his although they are her mother Meredith’s. When Jenna is swimming in her backyard pool she also has denial and is waiting for Charlie to arrive home from work. For the third time Jenna dries her face with a face cloth and smells Charlie’s after shave she then folds it up and place’s it back on the shelf as if her father was to use it after.
2. Anger – Anger is when you get mad that the person is gone. Jenna has anger towards her fathers anonymous killer when she was at Nan Tucket beach and said to andrea “I have this picture in my head. You know? I’m in a courtroom, and the jury’s just found this guy guilty of killing my dad. And I walk over to the table where he‘s sitting […] and I’m going to pull out this gun[…] and I’m going to shoot him.”
3. Blame in Swallowing Stones is switched with depression. Depression – Depression is when you finally get really upset, put down, and just want to be alone. Jenna goes threw depression when she reads Amy’s letter and begins to cry. Another example is when Jenna decides she would rather stay home alone then go with Andrea to Judd Paserello’s party. Although she goes anyways.
4. Blame – Blame is when you either start to accuse someone else or your self for the death. Jenna, in this case, blames herself for her fathers death because when her dad was shot on the roof Meredith was telling her to go get her father for lunch and she refused because of talking on the phone with Jason.
5. Acceptance – Acceptance is when you finally acknowledge that the person is actually gone and not coming back and that nothing can or could have been done about that. “ when she looks at her father, she sees that the silvery thread also connects them, and she knows these threads are threads that can never be broken.”. also “ she no longer wants to make him pay for what he’s done. She understands, intuitively, that he has been the next time she sees him sitting on the church steps, she will give him his chance.”.
Chapter 1 and 2
- Michael got a new Winchester Rifle for his seventeenth birthday from his grandfather, to celebrate he aimlessly fires a shot into the sky the following day, the fourth of July.
- While Michael’s girlfriend Darcy is inside making potato salad with Karen Michael goes into the garage with an easy girl from school, Amy, and has sex with her.
- While Michael is on his way with Joe in Joe’s red Mustang to the DMV to take his driving he decides to practice and parallel park one more time. As he is backing in he hears on the radio that a man was killed by a stray bullet out of the sky. Near the same place and time Michael had previously shot.
- Joe talks Michael into not telling anyone including the police.
- Michael takes his test and when it comes to the parallel parking he walks out on it.
- Michael goes out of town to buy some PVC pipe for his rifle and buries it underground
- Meredith talks to Jenna and she tries to remember if they are talking this week. They do not get along.
- Meredith is a busy, neat, clean, accountant.
Chapter 3 and 4
- Jenna notices her fathers “ Honey Doo” List and crosses off “Patch Leak In Roof”
- Chief Zelenski came over to take Jenna and Meredith’s statements.
- Michael wants to tell Jenna that shooting charlie was an accident and that he could never kill anyone but does not.
- Michael thinks about leaving the state but, figures it would be dumb and point the finger right at him.
- Michael is wandering around and some how shows up at Amy’s house.
Michael silently says “each day became more complicated, more exhausting”
Chapter 6 and 7
- Jenna rearranged everything in her room to be very neat where everything had it’s own place and it either fit or it didn’t.
- Meredith and Jenna attend Charlie’s funeral.
- Andrea talks Jenna into going to the community pool. Where Jenna notices the lifeguard as the boy who has recently been sitting on the church stairs across from her house. Jenna sees Jason at the pool as well and they plan to go to a movie later that night.
- Meredith notices and asks Jenna about crossed off “Honey Doo” list.
Chapter 8 and 9
- Jenna could only think of her fathers killer as a murderer, a cold blooded killer. She is very curious about what is going on with the Police and goes to the station and demands to talk to Dave Zelenski.
- For the first time Jenna has a desire for revenge, and mixed emotions about Jason.
- Jenna has her first panic attack with Jason at the movie and finds herself hyperventilating in the rest room with Amy.
- Michael finds out that the ballistics team has narrowed the spot where the gun was fired into a four block area including his house.
Chapter 10 and 11
- Michael retakes his drivers test and passes.
- Darcy sees Michael at the pool and breaks up with him.
- The police come to Michael’s house and he tells them that the Winchester was borrowed by Joe. Who had it stolen out of his car along with his Cd player.
- Michael is more nervous when the police question him and he also thinks his dad might know something.
- Amy and Michael hang out more and get closer
- Darcy looses her trust in Michael.
- Jenna starts to loose interest in Jason and is trying to be more social.
Chapter 12 and 13
- Joe goes to the police and reports his stolen Cd player. Michael’s Rifle, and all his Cd’s.
- Michael feels that they forgot something that will lead the police right to him.
- Michael goes to Amy’s house and she refuses to see him. Darcy and her friends tell Amy that Michaels track team had a bet that Michael couldn’t get Amy to sleep with him. As a way of revenge for her to Michael.
- Jenna decides she wants to do something different and takes a bus along with Andrea to the shore of Nan Tucket beach although it is cold out.
- Jenna tells Andrea that when she goes to court and the jury finds the killer guilty she is going to ask why he killed her, her father, and her mother because that is what he did. Then she is going to turn around pull out a gun and shoot him
- Jenna receives a comforting letter from Amy that relates to Jenna’s situation as both of her parents were killed in a car accident. While Jenna is reading Amy’s letter she cries for the first time since her father was killed.
Chapter 14 and 15
- Jenna and Amy meet in their dreams and Amy leads Jenna straight to the ghost tree, a place of healing
- Meredith noticed that someone had cleaned out the gutters and weeded the flower beds at night so, she notifies the police that they have a “Prowler or Trespasser”
- Jenna reluctantly agrees to go to the Passarellos party. Jenna and Jason meet at the party and argue doubting their relationship. Jenna goes over to Michael’s car and says that her friend, Andrea, would like to meet him. Michael says that he would also like to meet her but right now he must leave. Andrea gets angry that she went up to his car and they have a fight but everything is okay in the end.
- Jenna meets Michael in her dreams under the ghost tree
Chapter 16 and 17
- Michael thinks that Charlie would approve of him weeding the gardens, and cleaning the gutters.
- Michael gets back into routine with school coming up and starts jogging again. When he is running he spots Amy at the seven eleven and explains to her that darcy was getting revenge and that it was not true. Amy says that it wasn’t just what Darcy said but she also wanted to know why they ended up in his garage on his birthday.
- When Michael arrives home the police are scanning his yard with metal detectors. The poice find an empty shell casing behind his house. Michael told them it was most likely someone at the party. But his family Blame it on Joe. Michael feels bad for putting that onto Joe.
Chapter 18 and 19
- Michael meets Joe to talk about what is going on with the police and Joe reassures Michael that he has nothing to worry about because with no murder weapon they have no case.
- On the way home Michael is driving Joe’s Mustang and accidentally crashes into a Toyota Tercel. Joe is drunk and angrs so, he gets out of the car and jumps on her windshield smashing it and calling her names. Michael goes around to help the driver out to see that it is Amy.
- In Jenna’s dreams she meets Charlie under the ghost tree. When she wakes she finds Meredith packing up all of Charlie’s clothing to donate to charity. Jenna helps her mother and feels that it is important to do as she folds each item it is like saying a silent goodbye.
Chapter 20 and 21
- Annie Rico shows up at the Ward’s house to see how they are doing since the police took in a seventeen year old boy Joe Sadowski. Jenna must see who Joe is and goes to his address to find the boy “harassing” Amy at Judd Paserellos party. Jenna now sees that her fathers killer is real and that no matter how much she wanted to she could never pull that trigger.
- During questioning Joe sticks with their plan and the police come to his house with a search warrant.
Chapter 22 and 23
- Michael starts to think it is possible that Joe shot Charlie, but highly doubts it.
- Amy asks Michael if she was actually Joe’s present to him for his birthday and Michael admits that at the beginning it was about sex, but not anymore.
- Michael tells Jenna he has to tell her something but she said that she already knew and she saw him come out of the forest with the rifle he had just fired.
- The next day Jenna goes over to Amy at the pool to thank her for the letter, Amy tells her that the pain never stops for her and the hardest part for her was the guilt. Amy also tells Jenna Joe did not kill Charlie.
Chapter 22 and 23 continued
- Jason shows up at Jenna’s to go for a walk to finish their conversation from Judd’s party. Jenna tells Jason about her anxiety attacks when she is around him. When Jason reminds Jenna about being on the phone the day of her dad’s death she instantly knows what Amy meant with the guilt and blames herself. Jenna says Charlie would still be alive if she’d have got off the phone and done what her mother asked, to get Charlie for lunch.
Chapter 24 and 25
- Jenna returns home and tells her mother it was all her fault. Meredith comforts her and says she has also blamed herself but the only persons fault it was was the person who had pulled the trigger.
- Jenna believes Amy that it was not Joe. And for some reason sees the killer as Michael Mackenzie.
- Jenna meets her dad at the ghost tree.
- Michael says that he has had the stone in his throat this entire time and now he must swallow it as the girl should have in the beginning. Michael decides to go straight to the police after work but instead goes home.
- Michael falls asleep and dreams about Charlie who pats him on the back and puts his arm around him. When he wakes up he digs up the winchester, goes to the church stairs then to the ghost tree and suprisingly finds Jenna there who is sleeping. Michael waits for her to wake to tell her the truth. She will be the first to know.