Part 4, Chapters 1-9 Summary

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Last Updated on October 26, 2018, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 644

Part 4 returns to Laura’s novel. The woman in the story has just entered a café where she is to meet her lover. She is a little distracted. The café is not the type she would typically visit. When she sees the man, she feels disappointed in how he greets her. He criticizes the way she is dressed—or overdressed, in his opinion. He tells her she stands out as much as if she were wearing a mink coat. She counters by telling him that if she dressed as shabbily as some of the patrons of the café, those at her home would be very suspicious about where she was going. The man then tells her that her hair is too blonde. She concludes that the man is in a bad mood.

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As their conversation continues, she asks if it is safe there. He says he is watching the door and will be able to run. She asks if he did it. Readers are not told to what she is referring. He says he might as well have done it. He was there. He senses that someone is after him; he believes someone is out to get him whether he did it or not. She tells him she is worried and that he has to get away.

The story breaks here with another news story, dated 1933. The article is about Norval, Iris’s father. Norval has donated three boxcars of buttons to the war relief effort. This action has been criticized by Richard Griffen, Norval’s business rival (and Iris’s future husband). Griffen has accused Norval of dumping these buttons on the market, thus depriving other people of work. However, the newspaper supports Norval; it states that he is a man of his word, unlike other business owners who hire strikebreakers and lock out their union employees, which has led to riots, brutal violence, and “Communist-inspired blood-shed.”

Then there is a news article from 1934, this one about strikers and violence at Norval’s button factory. A crowd of strikers rioted in the town, breaking shop windows and looting the stores. Many shop owners were hurt. A policeman is in the hospital after being hit on the head with a brick. A fire was set in the button factory. Arson is suspected.

The story returns to Laura’s novel, and readers find the man and the woman in an apartment of one of the man’s friends. When the woman...

(The entire section contains 644 words.)

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Part 3, Chapters 5-9 Summary

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