The events leading up to the hurricane are honestly scary enough to be in a horror movie. It’s a slow build that the characters barely notice, but the reader immediately picks up on. It’s chilling to know that real people have and will go through this.
On page 207, Esch notices the birds flying away. “When I look up into the sky, I see birds in great flocks that would darken the sun if we could see it through the thickening clouds. They are all flying away, all flying north” (pg 207). She and her brother Randall go to the white family’s house to get supplies. All of the cows and egrets are gone and it’s eerily quiet. Finally, Esch and Randall realize the house is empty and figure out why: the white family has evacuated. Just like should have, but couldn’t do.
Directly before this scene, Esch tells Manny that she’s pregnant with his child. He rebuffs her and calls her nothing. She’s crying when Randall finds her, but, instead of running away like Manny and the animals, she follows her brother.
Eventually, Esch comes to terms with the fact that she can’t run away from this, physically or emotionally. She mentions what she thought when she first learned what a hurricane was. “. . . I thought that all the animals ran away, that they fled the storms before they came, that they put their noses to the wind days before and they knew. . . . But now I think that other animals, like the squirrels and the rabbits, don’t do that at all. Maybe the small don’t run. . . . they prepare like us” (pg 215).
She knows now that, as much as she may want to, she can’t run from the storm or from Manny’s betrayal. Even though she saw both coming ahead of time, she didn’t run. She chooses to prepare instead and face things head on instead.