Before We Were Yours

Before We Were Yours

by

Lisa Wingate

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Before We Were Yours: Chapter 5 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Avery tells Ian to wait for her in the car when they roll up to the nursing home. Avery walks into the nursing home director’s office and sees her grandmother’s dragonfly bracelet sitting on the desk. Avery and the director talk for a bit and the director tells Avery that May is struggling to adapt to life at the facility. Hearing about May’s struggles makes Avery think about Grandma Judy and how confused she must be in her facility sometimes. Avery asks if May has family that visits and the director tells her that although she has living family, they live far away and don’t visit. Avery asks if she can see May just for a few minutes, but the director thinks it would be a bad idea. However, when Avery is walking out of the facility, she sees May’s name on a door and walks in.
The scandal over poorly managed nursing homes with residents whose needs are not being met has Avery on edge and could be contributing to her desire to make sure May is okay. However, she is also motivated by her basic desire to help May; it is something she’s been thinking about since May first grabbed her hand earlier that day.
Themes
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
May isn’t there, so Avery looks around the mostly bare room, silently comparing it to Judy’s luxurious mini-apartment full of furniture and family pictures. Avery spots a picture and steps forward to get a closer look. Avery justifies her nosiness by telling herself she needs to make sure May is okay; this sense of duty, Avery tells herself, is a Stafford family trait. When Avery gets a good view of the photo, she immediately notices that it’s very old. The picture is of a young couple on the shore of a lake—the man has dark hair, but the pregnant woman has curly blond hair. Avery is struck by how much the woman in the photo looks like Judy and decides to take a picture of it.
If a strong sense of duty is a Stafford trait, then it would explain why Wells is drawn to politics (which enables him to serve the community) and why Avery was drawn to the law (which enables her to help both individuals and groups). The Staffords are a powerful family, so they also believe they have a responsibility to use their power to help people whose lives aren’t so privileged. However, this scene also suggests that Avery might have an ulterior motive for looking at the picture; she might be wondering if there’s anything to May’s insistence that Avery looks like a family member.
Themes
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
Avery struggles to get a good picture of the photo in the dark. May walks in on this and tells Avery that going through someone else’s things is rude. May tells Avery the people in the facility are keeping her in prison, which makes Avery think again of how May wound up in the facility. May points out that Avery has her dragonfly bracelet. Avery tries to explain that it is her grandmother’s and asks if May ever had a bracelet like it. May says she used to before the staff gave it away. May stares hard at Avery and suddenly asks if she can meet Judy. Avery notes a change in May’s attitude and the atmosphere and, to protect Judy from a potentially dangerous woman, tells May it’s not possible for her to meet Judy.
When May mentions feeling like she’s in prison, it plants the seed in Avery’s head that May perhaps belongs in prison—perhaps she actually killed her sister. This thought is the reason Avery is so unwilling to allow May near Judy.
Themes
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
May asks if Judy passed away and Avery explains that Judy had to be moved to a nursing home. May seems really interested and asks if Judy is happy. Avery is struck by the desperate tone of May’s voice and wonders what her life is like. Avery reassures May that Judy is happy, to which May responds that she knows Judy from a bridge club. Avery asks about the photograph, explaining that the woman in it looks like Judy. May admits they have the same hair but doesn’t offer more information. Avery’s phone buzzes and she says she has to go. May tells Avery, “You’ll come back, and I’ll share the story of the photo then,” before leaving the room. Avery quickly snaps a picture of the photo and begins walking out. The nursing director notices but doesn’t say anything; Avery knows it’s because she’s a Stafford.
May’s statement that Avery will come back for answers implies that there is a question and May knows what it is. Avery noticed the resemblance between the woman in the picture and Judy, which means the answers May has likely have something to do with the picture and Judy. 
Themes
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
Related Quotes
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Avery calls Honeybee, who wants to know if Avery can stop at the house and make an appearance at a DAR meeting to start winning over female voters. Avery asks if Judy ever played bridge with someone named May Crandall. Honeybee says Judy only played bridge with close friends and that they don’t know anyone by that name. Avery says she wants to visit Judy, but Honeybee gets her to stop by the DAR meeting—Elliot’s mother, Bitsy, is back in town and wants to see Avery, who knows that, unfortunately, this means she’s about to be grilled about wedding plans. Avery also realizes this means she won’t be able to visit Judy until the next day.
Avery dreads talking about her wedding plans, which is not what one would expect from someone who is excited about getting married. The lack of excitement about wedding plans indicates a larger lack of excitement about being married, calling into question why Avery is marrying Elliot if she’s not excited about it.
Themes
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon