Pinkie and Rose are with Judy and Dallow at the same café where the men convened the afternoon Hale was killed. Dallow is musing about moving to the country, all four of them. Why not? he says; they probably have sixty years of their lives yet to live. The thought is too much for Pinkie. So is the sight of Ida staring at them across the pier. He asks Rose to take a walk with him and they head to the shooting booth where he won the doll. His aim isn’t as good today, though, and he leaves empty handed, suggesting to Rose that they take a ride into the country. He tells the man in the shooting booth that they’re headed to Hastings. The man says he doesn’t care where they go.
Dallow’s suggestion that he, Judy, Rose, and Pinkie all have sixty years left to live is laughable, since the reader knows that Pinkie is bent on seeing Rose die. The day that Hale was murdered, Pinkie’s aim at the shooting booth was true. He couldn’t miss. Today, though, he is less sure. This hints that his scheme for Rose to kill herself and leave him free is flawed and will not go as planned.
Pinkie and Rose get into the car, headed toward Peacehaven. Rose wonders if Ida was telling the truth, if Pinkie doesn’t love her after all. It would be the hardest truth to face. She tells herself it doesn’t matter, because she loves him—that’s what’s important. She tells Pinkie that life isn’t so bad, but he disagrees. It’s prison, he says, and cancer and kids shrieking from windows. He takes the note Rose wrote to him about never betraying or leaving him and he asks her if she meant it. She says yes, knowing that in doing so she is laying down her life.
Rose and Pinkie’s separate visions of the world are essentially incompatible. She believes in love’s power to save. He sees wretchedness and damnation everywhere, even in family life. Still, for all his cynicism, Pinkie depends on Rose’s love and devotion. She, by contrast, knows it would be folly to count on his. Nevertheless, Rose’s self-sacrifice verges on being Christ-like.
Pinkie mumbles the Latin phrase “dona nobis pacem,” and, hearing him, Rose responds that God will never give them peace. She wishes they could just wait a day or even put off attempting suicide until the cops came to take them away, but Pinkie says they have to do it now. He thinks about how, to him, Heaven is just a word but Hell is real. He looks at Rose and sees a mouth hungry for sexual union and breasts ready for a baby. She is a good woman but not good enough; he’s brought her down.
Pinkie is begging for peace even as he is planning Rose’s death. Rose knows that God will always refuse Pinkie’s prayer. Peace is not possible when one lives and dies in mortal sin. Pinkie wants not only to be free of Rose but to destroy her chances of becoming a mother, as if he is averse to creation in general. He prefers destruction.
Rose feels as if Pinkie is a thousand miles away from her. He sees things she does not about damnation and eternal fire. She realizes that what they’re about to commit is the most serious sin of all. The sin of despair cannot be forgiven. Still, she will do it for him. If he is damned, so is she. She vows not to let him face that kind of darkness alone.
Rose has transferred her devotion from her Christian God to Pinkie, confusing worship of him with good deeds. Her love for him knows no bounds.
Pinkie stops at a pub and recognizes the waiter as Piker, a boy he used to torture back during his school days. Pinkie orders two brandies for himself and Rose and demands that Piker give them some music. He would like to celebrate. Piker turns on the radio and Pinkie and Rose stand awkwardly near a fireplace, sipping their drinks, trying to make conversation. Rose attempts a prayer, but she can’t pray; she’s in mortal sin.
For once, Pinkie seeks out music instead of trying to avoid it or tune it out. He is beyond feeling at the moment. He is so focused on his plan that music cannot touch or disturb him. Rose is likewise suspended in a vacuum, but what she is missing is a connection to God, because Pinkie has replaced Him.
Pinkie tells Rose to write a suicide note. It’s what’s always done, he says, and he would like them to do things the proper way. Then he leaves to find the bathroom. Walking down the passage to the men’s room, he thinks about his and Rose’s shared history. He hears the radio program pause to announce the time and the weather report. Storms are on the way. He watches through a window as the sea rolls over the breakers and thinks of how, soon he’ll only have himself to think about. He’ll be free. In the bathroom, he loads two bullets into the chamber of a gun he’s been keeping in his pocket. He can’t help it; he feels a twinge of pity as he readies the weapon.
There is no proper way to commit suicide. Pinkie’s insistence on Rose writing a note is simply his way of buying time to duck out and load the gun—and also make her suicide look “natural.” Time, however, is running out, and the relentless rolling of the waves symbolizes the sea’s indifference to human life. Pinkie’s scheme is no match for the power of nature, and, no matter how hard he tries, his attempts to play God will always fail.