Chapters 9-12: Summary and Analysis

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 3412

Summary
Surprised by Marian’s sudden sprint, Peter, Len, and Ainsley do not immediately react. Peter is the first to yell after Marian but turns back to get his car rather than give chase on foot. He soon catches up to her but Marian, threatened by the fact that he chose to enclose himself in the armour of his car, turns into a gateway and runs up the gravel driveway of an old house. As she approaches the house, the front door opens and Marian leaps into some hedges and crosses the lawn. Her flight is interrupted when she comes up against a brick wall. Hearing Len quickly approaching behind her, Marian attempts to climb over the wall. She manages to get on top of it but then begins to sway dizzily and falls. She is caught by Peter who sped around to the back of the house in his car. He is annoyed by her behaviour but does not make a fuss.

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Marian, relieved to hear Peter’s “normal voice” again, slides willingly into the car. They arrive at Len’s apartment and ascend the stairs in “decorous couples.” Inside, Peter begins to fiddle with a couple of Len’s cameras and Marian, feeling deflated, wishes she could be alone with Peter so he could forgive her. She sits on Len’s bed sipping a cognac and becomes entranced by the space between the bed and the wall. It would be quiet down there, she thinks, and quickly glances around the room. She wedges herself sideways between the bed and the wall but finds it uncomfortable. She then pushes the bed out a little and slides all the way under. Now completely out of view, Marian is glad not to have to sit up there in the hot glare of the room. However, her initial satisfaction is quickly replaced with discomfort and she wishes the others would hurry up and discover that she is missing.

After a few minutes under the bed, Marian is unable to remember what reasons led her there in the first place. She begins to feel resentment towards Peter for letting her remain down there while he moves about freely. This resentment starts her thinking about the past four months: they had deluded themselves into thinking that they were static. They had avoided talking about the future because they figured they were not really involved. But now something in her had decided that they were involved. This, she thinks, is the reason for her earlier breakdown and flight: she was evading reality. She thinks that now, this very moment, she will have to face reality and decide what she wants to do.

Meanwhile, someone sits on the bed and squashes Marian against the floor. She gives out a cry and is discovered. Peter tells her to come out but Marian finds that she is stuck. The bed is lifted and Marian gets up, covered with dust, to face their questions. She tells them that she went under the bed because it was quieter. Peter takes her arm and prepares to leave but Marian refuses to go back with him. Once again she runs off on her own. Outside, Marian feels better: she had broken out, she had acted. A decision had been made and, after that embarrassing display, there could be no reconciliation with Peter. She walks towards a main street intending to catch a bus but Peter pulls up ahead of her. Believing that she is now no longer involved, she sees no reason to run. He asks if she would allow him to drive her home and, since it was about to rain, Marian permits herself to be led into the car. He asks her, angrily, what all the evening’s nonsense has been about. Marian, however, is convinced that her behaviour was not nonsense and does not want to discuss it. Each thinks the other behaved badly and Peter accuses Marian of rejecting her femininity. Marian thinks that Peter was just plain rude.

By the time Peter pulls away heavy rain has started to fall. Driving too fast on the already slick roads, he loses control of the car...

(The entire section contains 3412 words.)

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