Part 9, Chapters 1-5 Summary

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Last Updated on October 26, 2018, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 512

Iris returns to writing her memoir. She remembers events from the spring of 1936—the year, she says, everything began to fall apart. Although Laura was living with Iris and Richard, Iris rarely saw her sister. Laura did not eat breakfast with Iris, as she left early for school. Richard would not allow Laura to walk to school for fear she might run away again, so he had a servant, Mr. Murgatroyd, drive her, further limiting Laura’s freedom. Iris notes that Laura was no longer obviously rude to Richard but she did do her best to avoid him. Whenever Richard entered a room, Laura would make a point of leaving.

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Iris, in the meantime, was not faring very well. Her relationship with Richard was constantly overseen and manipulated by Richard’s sister, Winifred. Iris felt that Winifred thought she was stupid. Ten years later, after the two women no longer lived together, Winifred told Iris that she had at one time thought Iris was a fool. Winifred told her it was only later that she realized Iris was evil. Winifred came to this conclusion because she felt that Iris always hated her and Richard because she blamed them for the button factory going bankrupt. Then Winifred told Iris that it was Iris’s father who burned the button factory down in order to collect insurance money. Iris disagreed. She told Winifred that if anyone burnt the factory down on purpose, it was Richard. Winifred continued her severe critique of Iris and Laura, claiming that the sisters were spoiled children to whom everything was given. They never had to work for anything in their lives. Winifred also accused Iris of killing Richard; she said the pressure Iris and Laura caused in Richard’s life led to his heart attack. Iris countered this statement by accusing Richard and Winifred of applying so much pressure on Laura, that in the end Laura had no...

(The entire section contains 512 words.)

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