The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty Summary Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Chaperone

Plot Summary Part 1

It's the 1920's in Kansas. Cora meets Myra Brooks, the mother of Louise, a bratty 15 year old girl who wants to become a famous performer. Myra agrees to let Louise go to New York to study dance, but wants Cora to accompany her to make sure that no guy bones her 15 year old girl. Cora agrees to watch over Louise and keep her legs shut but the job will be harder than she knows, because Louise is such a slut.

Part of the story follows Cora and Louise to New York, and part of the story is from decades earlier, when Cora was an orphan. So we will be flipping back and forth between the two stories and when you hear me talking about Cora being an orphan, that's the earlier story, and when you hear me talk about Cora and Louise in New York, that's the later, 1920's story.

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Cora remembers being in an orphanage in New York City run by nuns. The nuns fed them a lot of oatmeal and beat them with paddles. I'm not sure why they used paddles, perhaps they used the orphans like ping pong balls.

Sister Delores, who is in charge, ships Cora and a bunch of girls out to the Midwest to be adopted. Cora wants her friend Betsy to come with them, but Delores says no, that Betsy is a retard and no sane person would want to adopt a retard. Sister Delores is one mean nun! I like her.

Back in the present, the 1920's, Cora and Louise are on a train going to New York. Louise slips out to go to the dining car. Louise finds her there on the lap of a fireman. Perhaps the fireman is showing Louise how he goes up and down his fire pole, heh heh. The fireman tries to flirt with Cora but Cora shuts him down, showing her wedding ring.  The fireman, not knowing that Cora is married to a closet homosexual, backs off.

Cora checks out Louise's breasts. She looks flat chested, to Cora's relief. But some men like their women flat, Cora knew. Cora tries to convince Louise not to be such a slut, saying that if she wants to get married someday, respectable men won't want "candy that's been unwrapped". Unwrapped, and swallowed, heh heh.

Back in the late 1800's, Cora the orphan is adopted by a family called the Kaufmanns. They were nice to her, but kids at school were not. They knew she was an orphan, which meant her mother could have been a drug addict, alcoholic, adulterer, or whore, and they didn't want to associate with the daughter of a whore. The girls at school played a game called "Graces" where they attempted to put a "wand" through a "circle" that they tossed in the air. This game is obviously symbolic of the young girls' sexual desire, with the wand being a penis and the circle being their v_ginas.

But the kids would not let Cora play the penetration game. So Cora's adopted dad, Mr. Kaufmann, made a Grace game set for her and taught her how to play. When the kids at school saw how well she played, they became more friendly to her. They still didn't invite her to their homes, however, since Cora's mom might have been a whore.

Mrs. Kaufmann says they are glad they adopted Cora because of how affectionate she became over time; but the way she described it was the exact same way you'd talk about having adopted a cocker spaniel.

Then her adopted parents, Mr. and Mrs. Kaufmann fell into a grain silo. They were killed by grain. How likely is this, people falling into grain silos and dying of grain? It sounds about as likely as Mr. Kaufmann bleeding to death after a rooster bit his penis off.

Anyway this makes Cora an orphan again and a nearby family named Lindquist takes her in. The Kaufmanns loved Cora very, very much, so much, in fact, that they left her absolutely nothing in their will. They meant to... but just forgot!

Ha ha ha!

The Kaufmann's real kids are understandably uninterested in giving Cora some of their inheritance. Cora goes to a homosexual lawyer named Alan Carlisle, who she does not know is homosexual, and uses his services (his legal services, not his homosexual services), to get some money from the Kaufmann estate.

Alan, the closet homosexual, courts Cora. Cora thinks this is strange because Alan is rich and a lawyer and she is an orphan hayseed. But he has money and a penis and that is enough for Cora and she agrees to marry him after a short time because how much do you really need to know about a man before marrying him, right?

Back in the 1920's, Cora takes Louise to her dance classes in New York. Louise dances. It's very exciting. Not. Then they argue about Louise being a slut. They do that a lot.

While Louise is in dance class, Cora takes the subway.

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