Last Updated on August 12, 2020, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1442
Two Days Later (April 2011)
Connell visits his grandmother, who has recently had a fall, in the hospital. She is a young grandmother at only fifty-eight, the same age as Marianne’s mother. Connell believes that his grandmother “hates him for being alive.” He considers the physical differences between himself and his mother: Lorraine has soft features and is considered attractive by his friends at school, while Connell has a roguish appearance. He finds it strange how his friends often ask about his father, who has never been in his life, when they are drunk. Many of Connell’s friends are obsessed with their fathers, wishing to either emulate them or differentiate themselves from them. Connell’s grandmother questions him about his university choices. Some of Connell’s family are impressed by his choice of Trinity, but he feels secretly embarrassed that he is applying for English, which he feels will lead to no real job prospects.
Connell reflects on the moment he told Marianne he loved her and the agonizing wait for her to say it back. He wishes that he knew more about how others conducted relationships so that he could imitate them. One day, as Marianne is leaving Connell’s house, Lorraine sees her. She teases her son about his relationship with Marianne, but he insists they are not boyfriend and girlfriend. She suggests to Connell the possibility that Marianne’s family considers themselves superior to Connell’s and would be embarrassed by the association, but he believes the idea ludicrous.
Connell’s friends tease him about the night he took Marianne home after the Debs fundraiser, and he begins to regret telling Marianne he loved her. Remembering having done so begins to feel akin to “watching himself commit a terrible crime on CCTV.” As he thinks about what he has done, Connell vomits in the toilet at school. He resolves to ask Rachel, the girl who taunted Marianne, to the Debs, and she says yes. Later, while in the car with Lorraine, Connell confesses to what he has done. Lorraine is outraged at her son, believing Connell has made this decision because Marianne is unpopular. Feeling deeply ashamed of her son, Lorraine leaves the car, too angry to engage with him.
Four Months Later (August 2011)
Marianne and Connell receive their exam results, with Connell receiving the highest score in the school: six A1s. As Marianne sits in the garden, her brother, Alan, speaks to Connell on the phone in a sycophantic way . Believing Marianne to be friendless and pathetic, Alan jokingly asks Connell if he wants to speak to her. Marianne insists she is not interested, but Alan responds by shoving the phone into her chest, hurting her. Marianne hangs up the phone, which outrages Alan.
In a flashback, Marianne relives the moment that Connell told her he had asked Rachel to the Debs. Marianne stopped attending school shortly after and began studying from home, only returning to school to sit exams. Her humiliation at not being able to attend the Debs, despite helping organize their fundraiser, was so acute that she felt she had no option but to leave. During a brief exchange with Lorraine, Marianne requested that Connell no longer enter the Sheridan family home when collecting his mother.
The scene returns to the garden, as Alan aggressively presses Marianne on why she would not speak to Connell. Marianne hints at the intimate nature of their relationship and tells Alan he should ask Connell himself. As Marianne’s mother, Denise, arrives home, Alan warns Marianne to not tell their mother about their bitter exchange. Marianne complies, having accepted this way of living all her life. It is Denise who has instilled in Marianne the idea that she has an “unlovable” personality because she refuses...
(The entire section contains 1442 words.)
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