The story takes place at an elementary school. The tone is gloomy and somber.
All 30 of the Orange Trees that the school children had planted died with no cause. The children were upset, but even more they were curious they wanted to understand death.
Later, the Herb Gardens died due to over watering. Every animal died too, the gerbils, mice, salamander, fish, and the puppy. The exchange Korean kid died as well. Each of these deaths were unexplained.
The children ask deep questions that Edgar doesn't know the answer to. Eventually they ask what gives meaning to life, death or life, and Edgar believes life gives meaning to life.
The kids want Edgar to make love with Helen to see an example of life.