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Course Hero. "Surfacing Study Guide." Course Hero. 8 Jan. 2018. Web. 12 Dec. 2018. <>.

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Course Hero. (2018, January 8). Surfacing Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved December 12, 2018, from

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(Course Hero, 2018)



Course Hero. "Surfacing Study Guide." January 8, 2018. Accessed December 12, 2018.


Course Hero, "Surfacing Study Guide," January 8, 2018, accessed December 12, 2018,

Surfacing | Chapter Summaries

See Chapter Summaries Chart

Timeline of Events

  • Day 1, a summer day

    The narrator and three friends return to the narrator's home because her father has disappeared.

    Part 1, Chapter 1
  • Day 2

    The four friends go out in search of the narrator's father but find nothing.

    Part 1, Chapter 5
  • Day 2

    The narrator finds incomprehensible drawings made by her father.

    Part 1, Chapter 6
  • Day 3

    The narrator reviews her memories and finds gaps in them.

    Part 1, Chapter 8
  • Day 4

    Joe proposes marriage to the narrator, but she refuses.

    Part 2, Chapter 10
  • Day 5

    The narrator learns her father's drawings are tracings of rock paintings.

    Part 2, Chapter 12
  • Day 7

    On a fishing trip, the four friends unsuccessfully attempt to find one of the rock paintings.

    Part 2, Chapter 15
  • Day 8

    The narrator goes diving in the lake, where she realizes her memories are not accurate.

    Part 2, Chapter 17
  • Day 8

    David aggressively comes on to the narrator, but she rebuffs him.

    Part 2, Chapter 18
  • Day 8

    The narrator begins spiraling into a delusional state of mind in which she is more animal than human.

    Part 3, Chapter 20
  • Day 9

    The narrator hides when the boat comes to retrieve them. The others leave.

    Part 3, Chapter 21
  • Day 13

    After reverting to an animal-like state for a few days, the narrator returns to sanity.

    Part 3, Chapter 26
  • Day 13

    Joe comes back to find her. She thinks about going back with him.

    Part 3, Chapter 27

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Part 1, Chapter 1 As the novel opens, readers are introduced to the narrator, a young woman who remains unnamed for the duration of the st... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 2 They pull up to a motel with a small bar, and David, Anna, and Joe go inside to have a drink. The narrator walks onto a ... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 3 The narrator walks back toward the motel, stopping briefly at a store. A woman with a light mustache is behind the count... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 4 The four unload their baggage from Evans's boat, pay him, and watch him motor away. They take their bags along the dock ... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 5 The next morning, before dawn, the narrator wakes up to the sound of birds. She looks at Joe, still sleeping, and tries ... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 6 The narrator feels there is nothing to do but wait. She wants "to go back to where there is electricity and distraction.... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 7 After supper the narrator digs some worms and catches a small frog to be used as fishing bait. They all paddle out in a ... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 8 The next morning as the narrator prepares the fish, David and Joe film its innards for Random Samples. After breakfast s... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 9 The narrator has a growing sense of uneasiness about her own past and about staying on the island. She feels her father'... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 10 Time seems to move slowly as the narrator increasingly dreads what might happen if they encounter her father. She wants ... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 11 That night Joe is sullen and refuses the narrator's sexual advances. At breakfast he ignores her. David and Anna wonder ... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 12 The narrator goes to the lake to rinse out a dirty pail. Joe is lying on the dock. Back in the cabin alone, the narrator... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 13 The next morning Joe and the narrator decide she will move out when they get back to the city. The four set off in... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 14 David and Joe take some shots of the dead heron for Random Samples. The narrator assumes the bird was killed by the Amer... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 15 The next morning the four set out to film the rock paintings for Random Samples. Although the narrator had been confiden... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 16 Tomorrow Evans is coming to take them back, so the narrator's time is running out. She checks the map of rock painting s... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 17 The narrator paddles toward a cliff marking the location of the submerged painted rock she seeks. She thinks about the h... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 18 When the narrator returns to the cabin, it is empty and feels unfamiliar. She sits on a swing outside and thinks about t... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 19 After supper, the narrator searches for the gift from her mother. When she enters her own room she senses "power, in my ... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 20 That night when Joe comes to bed, the narrator initiates sex. But she doesn't want to make love in the bed, so she pulls... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 21 The next morning, Joe wants to make love again, but the narrator isn't interested. After breakfast, as they pack up to l... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 22 The others locked the doors as they left; the narrator breaks a window to get in. Inside she cleans up the glass and the... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 23 The next morning as she begins to brush her hair, she feels a "surge of fear," like power, in her hand. She realizes bru... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 24 In the morning the narrator wakes up in her lair. She finds she is now forbidden to go through the gate into the garden,... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 25 The narrator wakes up the next morning to the sound of a powerboat. There are five men in it. Two climb the hill to the ... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 26 The narrator makes a new lair—more hidden—to sleep in. As she sleeps, she dreams of her parents paddling a canoe. When s... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 27 The narrator resolves to "refuse to be a victim" and to "give up the old belief" that she is "powerless." She gets dress... Read More
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