Last Updated on August 13, 2020, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 2013
Four Months Later (July 2014)
Marianne and Connell are watching the World Cup semi-finals in Connell’s old bedroom. Marianne has moved home to Carricklea after completing her study abroad program in Sweden, but Connell is working in Trinity’s library over the summer. Still, he has visited Marianne every weekend since she returned to Carricklea, taking the two of them on day trips in his car.
The night before, Marianne and Connell were out at a bar, where a girl named Niamh took a liking to Connell. They also ran into Connell’s old friend Eric, who, considerably inebriated, apologized to Marianne for bullying her in school and told her that Rob would have wanted to apologize as well. Connell says that Eric was probably right about Rob, though he disagrees when Marianne dismisses the bullying as “nothing.” Privately, Marianne considers that “cruelty might not only hurt the victim, but the perpetrator also, and maybe more deeply and permanently,” as it teaches the perpetrator something deeply uncomfortable about themselves and their attitude to others.
Marianne spends most of her time alone in the house, cleaning and drinking coffee while her mother and brother are at work. Sometimes, though, she visits Dublin for the day, and recently she attended a protest against the war in Gaza with Joanna and Evelyn, as well as Connell and Niall. Marianne felt galvanized by the protest, with a deep desire to protect the weak from the violence of the strong. Yet she also recognized that her belief in her ability to change the world had diminished over time, and “at most she could help only a few people.” That night Connell drove her home, and as they listened to the radio, Connell told her he loved her. Marianne replied that she loved him, too.
In Connell’s bedroom, Marianne and Connell discuss the rumors that Jamie spread about Marianne’s sexual preferences after she broke up with him. During the time that the rumors were circulating, Marianne felt deeply ashamed, but the feeling, like the rumors, eventually dissipated. Connell comments that she must be lonely in Carricklea, and Marianne eventually reveals that although she has always been lonely, she is never lonely with Connell. Neither of them, they admit, were ever lonely when they were together during their first year at Trinity; that was the first time Connell ever felt truly happy, and he acknowledges that Marianne has changed him and his life for the better.
Marianne admits that she wanted Connell to kiss her last night in the club. He tells her that he wanted to kiss her, too, but he is concerned about them starting a sexual relationship again and losing the friendship they have now. This causes Marianne to sob, though she tries to hide her tears from Connell. As Marianne stands up to leave, Connell takes her hand and kisses it. They kiss and begin having sex for the first time in years. Marianne thinks about her body as an “item of property” that has been misused by other men in the past but has always truly belonged to Connell. In the middle of sex, she asks Connell to hit her. Connell refuses, resulting in the moment becoming awkward, and they stop. Connell tries to explain that he would feel uncomfortable hitting Marianne, who decides to leave, and the two dress in silence.
Marianne races out Connell’s front door, feeling the same sense of lifelessness she experienced in Sweden. Full of self-loathing and certain that she has repulsed Connell, she reaches the conclusion that while Connell has been developing as a person, she has been helplessly degenerating to the point that he can no longer relate to her. When Marianne returns home, Alan bullies her about spending time with Connell, who Alan believes is “fucked in the head.”...
(The entire section contains 2013 words.)
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