Me Before You

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Me Before You Chapter 13 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Patrick finally notices that Lou has been staying late with Will’s evening care much more often and tries to plan a special night for Lou’s upcoming birthday. Lou declines, saying that her mom and dad are already planning a dinner. With Treena and Thomas at university, Josie needs the distraction to keep her busy. Patrick backs down, understanding that his busy training schedule and Lou’s desperate need for wages are a good explanation for all of Lou’s overtime.
Patrick ignores the emotional distance that has grown between him and Lou in favor of looking at the practical reasons why they might not spend as much time together. Meanwhile, Josie has to face the fact that she made caring for other people her life’s purpose. It seems like a cautionary tale for Lou, in that she can’t dedicate her whole life to caring for Will because Will might not always be there.
Themes
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Lou is earning more than she ever has in her life, but has no time or desire to spend it. Her free time is spent at the library, looking for new opportunities for Will. Lou finds a computer program that will allow Will to type by speaking, after Will makes a fuss about Lou writing a thank you card for him to his violinist friend. Even Camilla is impressed with this breakthrough. Will even sends Lou a thank you card for all of her efforts.
Lou now has a taste of the financial stability that she envied in the Traynors’ life, but it is increasingly clear that money alone will not bring happiness. Lou also gives Will back some deciding power in his life. Now that Will can write letters and type, he can communicate for himself and rejoin some parts of society on his own terms.
Themes
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Meanwhile, Lou begins to move her things to Treena’s bigger room. She redecorates and puts her Will calendar prominently on the wall. At work, she continues to broaden Will’s radius every day he is well enough to go out. Out on a picnic one day, Lou convinces Will to come to her birthday dinner by claiming that she already told her parents that Will wouldn’t want to go. Lou’s parents and Patrick are interested to meet Will.
Lou takes control of a new space, showing how she has gradually started making more decisions for herself rather than letting other people decide for her. Lou also understands Will better than anyone has since his accident. Will still wants to rise to a challenge, and so Lou is able to dare him into coming to a dinner that he would have refused if Lou had asked him in a more conventional way.
Themes
Ambition and Achievement Theme Icon
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Josie immediately starts cleaning the whole house once she hears that Will is coming to dinner. Lou assures Josie that everything will be fine, and Nathan drops Will off promptly at 7:30 that night. Will looks wonderful and affably smoothes over Lou’s parents’ fears about how to treat a disabled man. Josie busies herself with cooking a fancy roast chicken and Lou and Bernard settle Will with a beer at the table.
Josie still wants to prove that the Clarks are just as good as the Traynors by keeping her house spotless. Will also surprises the Clark family with his charm, as they had expected someone who was as handicapped mentally as he is physically.
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Lou is suddenly self-conscious of her family’s cramped, cluttered house as Will sits at the table. Josie fusses over the roast in the kitchen, worried that it will be spoiled if they have to wait for Patrick much longer. Patrick arrives half an hour late, beaming about a new personal running record, and Lou tells him to go straight to the table so that her mother can start serving dinner. Patrick and Will size each other up at the table, and Will catches Lou’s eye to tell her that he brought her champagne to go with her birthday dinner. Will then coaches Patrick on opening the champagne properly.
Patrick again shows no concern for the things that are important to Lou, arriving late to her dinner so that he could go on one more training run. Patrick, who had previously not considered a man in a wheelchair to be capable of providing a romantic threat, now has to confront the fact that Will is still handsome and smart. Will also shows himself to be a charming upper-class gentleman, teaching Patrick how to open champagne.
Themes
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With the champagne poured, Lou’s family toast all the changes that have occurred in Lou’s life since she began to work for Will’s family. The dinner gets off to a beautiful start, and Lou even misses Treena and Thomas for once. Granddad enjoys his food sloppily while Lou feeds Will with her fingers, comfortable after long hours in Will’s company. Yet Patrick is embarrassed by the closeness between his girlfriend and her employer, and he begins to advise Will on a physical fitness regime that he should start to improve his condition. Will stays polite but Lou cuts Patrick off sharply, telling Patrick that his job as a physical trainer does not qualify him to comment on Will’s situation.
Now that Lou is starting to achieve some things of her own, she can love her sister more genuinely without feeling jealous of Treena’s ambitions. Patrick, uncomfortable with the emotional bond between Lou and Will, seemingly suggests that Will’s physical injuries are simply a matter of willpower. Lou stands up for Will, reminding Patrick that Will’s handicap is not a result of laziness or any fault on Will’s part.
Themes
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The rest of the dinner passes without incident, as Will tells Bernard about his old job buying and selling companies and Josie coos at having such a handsome young man at the table. Granddad even has a lucid moment, asking for birthday cake. The time for presents arrives. Lou opens a homemade scrapbook from her parents that moves her to tears. Patrick gives her a small star necklace that is decidedly not to Lou’s taste, though she thanks him profusely anyway. Will tells Lou that he has a present for her too, and Lou finds a package in his chair that encloses bumblebee tights. Patrick and her family are confused, but Lou is absolutely ecstatic, bubbling thanks to Will and going to put them on immediately. There’s also a card, which Will instructs Lou to open later.
Will’s money and charm overcome his physical disability in the Clarks’ eyes. While the Clarks’ presents, including Granddad’s celebratory moment, show how much they care for Lou as a person, Patrick’s present seems like an obligatory gift for some nebulous girlfriend. Will’s gift is far more specific to Lou. These tights, recreating the tights that Lou loved as a child, remind Lou to do things that she truly loves. Will gives Lou both the permission and encouragement to follow her passions regardless of what any one else thinks.
Themes
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Will leaves as Bernard thanks him for employing Lou and Josie sends him off with leftover chocolate mousse. Patrick half-heartedly apologizes for the physical advice, saying that he was only trying to help his girlfriend. Will responds that Patrick is lucky to have a girlfriend that gives such good bed baths, a task Lou has taken over as part of Will’s evening care. Lou shuts the door before Patrick can respond.
Will mischievously blurs the line between caregiver behavior and romantic behavior by using one of the tasks that Lou does as part of her job to make Patrick jealous. Yet Lou stays on Will’s side, suggesting that Lou already feels more for Will than she does for Patrick.
Themes
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Patrick and Lou go to Patrick’s apartment where Patrick asks about the bed baths. Lou responds that it is perfectly proper, as Will keeps his pants on, but Patrick is still unnerved. Lou doesn’t even see it as odd anymore, just something nice she can do for someone she cares for. Patrick complains more about how Lou was so hesitant to get physical in the beginning of their relationship, and then he makes love to Lou as if he is trying to prove his superior fitness. Lou stays detached. After Patrick falls asleep, Lou gets up and opens Will’s card. Inside is a 500 pound bonus.
Lou’s hesitancy about physical intimacy seems to be a result of her sexual assault, but Patrick does not know about this history. Lou is unable to forget Will even in what should be an intimate moment for her and Patrick. Patrick too is not engaged in the emotional aspect of their relationship, distracted by his own physical ability and the implied competition he feels over Will’s connection to Lou.
Themes
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Love and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Fitness Theme Icon