The celebrations begin as soon as the Germans leave, but ELAS immediately steps into the public eye and imposes their rule. They elect themselves to public office and deport people they don't like to concentration camps. They poison wells, tax the people, and create their own newspaper that runs stories about their heroism. ELAS murders British soldiers, Red Cross workers, and civilians alike and destroys factories and railways. They create a hundred thousand refugees and kidnap thousands of children. The narrator notes that there's both irony and tragedy in all of this: the Greek communists could've become the first freely elected communist government in the world if they'd done nothing, but their actions made communism the ideology of madmen.
The narrator's comment about the irony of communism's fate in Greece reminds the reader once again that regardless of one's political leanings, it's almost always terrible when a political group seizes power like this and commits such heinous crimes. Much of what they do mirrors what Hitler and Mussolini did, which continues the novel's project of illustrating how these dictators all resemble each other in a number of ways.
Dr. Iannis, Kokolios, and Stamatis are all taken away, and Pelagia considers committing suicide. She recalls saying that she'd always hate the Nazis, and wonders if she actually needs to hate the Greeks. The narrator mentions that Bunnios, a man who openly professed his love for the Greek people, was invited to a party by Greek communists and shot. Fortunately, Pelagia has Drosoula. Drosoula doesn't hold Pelagia's love for Corelli against her and treats her like a daughter.
The strength and community that Pelagia finds with Drosoula again makes the case that chosen family can be far more powerful than one's own flesh and blood. Now that Pelagia is separated from Dr. Iannis, she will be tested in terms of whether or not she has the skills to truly function in the world as an educated woman.
Drosoula is out when Mandras returns. He doesn't knock and comes upon Pelagia finishing her bedcover, which she decided to make for her bed with Corelli after he left. After she made that decision, she didn't have to rip it out again. She doesn't recognize Mandras; he's fat and ugly. Mandras doesn't recognize Pelagia either as she's thin and already going gray. They stare at each other and Mandras feels his hatred slipping away. He asks for a kiss, grabs Pelagia's wrists, and asks after Dr. Iannis. When she explains that the communists took him, he scoffs that the doctor must've deserved it. She realizes he's one of them.
Pelagia's ability to finish her bedcover now that it's intended for her bed with Corelli suggests again that her relationship with Mandras was doomed from the start, while her relationship with Corelli is far more respectful and suitable for her. Everything Mandras does shows that he believes he's better than Pelagia and is now an expert in intimidating people, and she recognizes that he's dangerous exactly because he thinks he's powerful.
Mandras leans casually against the door to intimidate Pelagia. He asks when they're getting married and notices her tremble. Pelagia tells him that they're not getting married. Mandras rants that he's come home to a "faded slut" and spouts communist ideas of marriage. He throws his packet of letters to her and commands her to read her final letter, threatening to hit her if she refuses. Pelagia finds a different letter and starts to read, but he stops her. She finds the last one and starts to make up something happy. Mandras snatches the letter, reads it to her, and accuses her of being a fascist traitor.
Pelagia's choice to tell Mandras that they're not getting married suggests that she doesn't have much to lose by standing up to him, and it also implies that she recognizes his power is tenuous at best. The fact that Mandras did learn to read thanks to ELAS suggests that they followed through on some of their promises, but only for people like Mandras who pledged undying loyalty to them.
Pelagia stands and tells Mandras to let her out, but he strikes her, flings her onto the bed, and attempts to rape her. Mandras's schooling in communism has taught him that everything, from property to bodies, are rightfully his. Pelagia fights him until the derringer falls out of her apron pocket. She shoots him in the collarbone just as Drosoula enters the kitchen. She pushes into the bedroom and sees Mandras, but runs to Pelagia. She becomes furious while Mandras feels ready to weep. Drosoula disowns Mandras and he slowly leaves the house. He looks around and remembers how things once were.
Drosoula's decision to disown Mandras again shows that chosen family is more meaningful than flesh and blood, especially when one's flesh and blood learns to prioritize political theories over their friends and family. The fact that Mandras is so reduced by Drosoula's reprimand and the non-fatal gunshot shows that he recognizes his power isn't what he thought it was.
Mandras remembers that he used to love the sea. He stands at the shore, kicks off his boots, and carefully undresses. He remembers how happy he was as a fisherman and remembers kissing Pelagia. He remembers Kosmas, Nionios, and Krystal and calls for them as he wades into the sea. When the fisherman finds Mandras’s body later, he sees three dolphins nudging it towards shore.
Because Mandras refused to recognize others' humanity, he gave up his own as well. By committing suicide, he frees himself from having to think about it again. His dolphins, however, show that there is the possibility of redemption from his friends.