Eventually, he doesn't return at all, and Kya assumes him dead, making him the last of the family to leave her alone in the marsh.
Without money and family, she learns self-reliance, including gardening and trading fresh mussels and smoked-fish for money and gas from Jumpin', a black man who owns a gas shop for boats.
Ethology, the study of animal behavior, is a topic that is covered in the book.
Kya reads about ethology, including an article entitled "Sneaky Fuckers", and uses her knowledge to navigate the tricks and dating rituals of the local boys.
He later apologizes, and the two form a romantic relationship.
He shows her an abandoned fire tower, and she gives him a necklace of a shell he found during their picnic, strung on rawhide.
When Pa reads the letter, he becomes infuriated and burns the letter as well as most of Ma's wardrobe and canvases.
Unable to read and write, Kya relies on painting with her Ma's old watercolors the birds or shores where she found the items. She recognizes it as having been sent from Ma, and she leaves it on the table for Pa to find.Ed speaks with a couple citizens and receives contradictory statements.