Summary – Chapter Twelve
Ettinger drives Lucy back to her farm and they take David to the hospital and she then goes to the police. When David comes out of the treatment room, Bill Shaw is waiting for him as Lucy is now with Bev, and Bev said Bill should come for him. David thanks Bill, and Bill says ‘“what else are friends for?”’ and says David would have done the same for him. David realizes he is speaking without irony and also recognizes that without Ettinger and Bill and Bev Shaw he would still be at the farm with the dead dogs and a broken telephone.
At Bev’s house, David is told that Lucy has been to the police and has since taken a sedative. Bev runs him a bath, and when he wants to get out of it he has to call Bill to help him as he now feels as weak as a baby.
After falling asleep that night, David wakes from a dream of Lucy (which he thinks of as a vision) where she is asking him to come to her and save her. He goes to tell her this and she tells him to go back to sleep. He notices that for the second time that day she has spoken to him as if he were a child or an old man.
He cannot fall back to sleep and thinks of the vision of his daughter asking him to save her. He wonders if it is possible that her soul left her body and came to him. He gets up and goes to the room Lucy is in and sits down by her bed.
At breakfast, he asks Bev how Lucy is and she gives a terse shake of her head. He wonders, and not for the first time, if women would be happier living in communities of women. He also thinks how it is no wonder that Lucy and Helen were so vehement against rape: ‘Rape, god of chaos and mixture, violator of seclusions. Raping a lesbian worse than raping a virgin: more of a blow.’ He wonders if these men knew Lucy was a lesbian.
He goes to Lucy’s room and sees her face is wet with tears. He asks if she has seen a doctor and if he has taken care of all ‘eventualities’. She tells him she has seen her doctor (who is female) and asks how a doctor could do this. She then says she is going back to the farm although he questions the safety of this. Her eyes are ‘glittering’ and he sees she is ‘not her father’s little girl, not any longer’.
Analysis – Chapter Twelve
David’s education is seen to continue in this chapter when Bill Shaw demonstrates the art of friendship. When he recognizes that Bill speaks without irony when he refers to himself as a friend, David takes notice of how he and Lucy needed the help of others, and therefore a community, in order to save them. Up to this point, he has been largely depicted as an individual with individual concerns. He continues to have this aspect to his character throughout the novel, but is depicted as changing his perspective as the narrative progresses.