In the Skin of a Lion

Patrick Lewis Character Analysis

Canadian protagonist Patrick Lewis grows up in the countryside in Eastern Ontario with his taciturn father Hazen Lewis. Although Patrick enjoys socializing, he later demonstrates some of the reserved characteristics of his father. Throughout his life, he will enjoy solitary activities such as observing moths, reading, or watching other people. Through his romantic relationship with Clara Dickens, Patrick proves enthusiastic and warm-hearted, though he fails to open himself up entirely. It is only once he becomes romantically involved with Alice Gull that his social self reaches its full potential: he proves committed and open with Alice, loving with her daughter Hana, and he becomes curious about the Macedonian community’s language and culture. His moments of political protest demonstrate his indignation about the terrible conditions in which the working class is usually forced to to work. However, his compassionate outlook keeps him from becoming brutal, and he trusts that sharing workers’ stories and making their voices heard is as important as taking a violent political stand. He trusts in the dignity of all human beings and believes that people are often more complex than what they might appear to be from the outside.

Patrick Lewis Quotes in In the Skin of a Lion

The In the Skin of a Lion quotes below are all either spoken by Patrick Lewis or refer to Patrick Lewis. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Working Class vs. the Rich Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of In the Skin of a Lion published in 1987.
Part 1: Chapter 1: Little Seeds Quotes

He sits down at the long table and looks into his school geography book with the maps of the world, the white sweep of currents, testing the names to himself, mouthing out the exotic. Caspian. Nepal. Durango. He closes the book and brushes it with his palms, feeling the texture of the pebbled cover and its colored dyes which create a map of Canada.

Related Characters: Patrick Lewis
Page Number: 9
Explanation and Analysis:
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He was born into a region which did not appear on a map until 1910, though his family had worked there for twenty years and the land had been homesteaded since 1815.

Related Characters: Patrick Lewis, Hazen Lewis
Page Number: 10
Explanation and Analysis:
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To the boy growing into his twelfth year, having lived all his life on that farm where day was work and night was rest, nothing would be the same. But on this night he did not trust either himself or these strangers of another language enough to be able to step forward and join them. He turned back through the trees and fields carrying his own lamp. Breaking the crust with each step seemed graceless and slow.

So at this stage in his life his mind raced ahead of his body.

Related Characters: Patrick Lewis
Page Number: 22
Explanation and Analysis:
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Part 1: Chapter 3: The Searcher Quotes

Now, in the city, he was new even to himself, the past locked away.

Related Characters: Patrick Lewis
Page Number: 54
Explanation and Analysis:
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I loved the piano. It was something to get lost in. My exit, my privacy. He had his money, gambling, he had his winning elsewhere. I had my radio work and my piano. Everyone has to scratch on walls somewhere or they go crazy. And you?

Related Characters: Clara Dickens (speaker), Patrick Lewis, Ambrose Small
Page Number: 70
Explanation and Analysis:
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There was a wall in him that no one reached. Not even Clara, though she assumed it had deformed him. A tiny stone swallowed years back that had grown with him and which he carried around because he could not shed it. His motive for hiding it had probably extinguished itself years earlier. . . . Patrick and his small unimportant stone.

Related Characters: Patrick Lewis, Clara Dickens
Page Number: 71
Explanation and Analysis:
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Patrick believed in archaic words like befall and doomed. The doom of Patrick Lewis. The doom of Ambrose Small. The words suggested spells and visions, a choreography of fate. A long time ago he had been told never to follow her. If Patrick was a hero he could come down on Small like an arrow. He could lead an iguana on a silver leash to its mistress.

Related Characters: Patrick Lewis, Clara Dickens, Ambrose Small
Page Number: 83
Explanation and Analysis:
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Part 2: Chapter 1: Palace of Purification Quotes

Nobody else wants the claustrophobic uncertainty of this work, but for Patrick this part is the only ease in this terrible place where he feels banished from the world. He carries out the old skill he learned from his father—although then it had been in sunlight, in rivers, logs tumbling over themselves slowly in the air.

Related Characters: Patrick Lewis, Hazen Lewis
Related Symbols: Dynamite
Page Number: 107
Explanation and Analysis:
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Patrick felt ashamed they could discover so little about him. He had reduced himself almost to nothing. He would walk home at dusk after working in the lake tunnel. His radio was on past midnight. He did nothing else that he could think of. (…) And suddenly Patrick, surrounded by friendship, concern, was smiling, feeling the tears on his face falling towards his stern Macedonian-style moustache.

Related Characters: Patrick Lewis
Page Number: 113
Explanation and Analysis:
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He thought, l am moving like a puppet. He touched an arm in the darkness not fully realizing it was human. A hand came from somewhere and held his wrist. “Hello, Patrick.” He turned on the flashlight. She was waiting for the light, like a good actress, ready to be revealed.

Related Characters: Patrick Lewis, Alice Gull
Page Number: 120
Explanation and Analysis:
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- Compassion forgives too much. You could forgive the worst man. You forgive him and nothing changes.

- You can teach him, make him aware . . .

- Why leave the power in his hands?

Related Characters: Patrick Lewis (speaker), Alice Gull (speaker)
Related Symbols: Dynamite
Page Number: 123
Explanation and Analysis:
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Come on, Patrick, of course some make it. They do it by becoming just like the ones they want to overtake. Like Ambrose. Look at what he became before he disappeared. He was predatory. He let nothing cling to him, not even Clara.

Page Number: 123
Explanation and Analysis:
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I don’t think I’m big enough to put someone in a position where they have to hurt another.

Related Characters: Patrick Lewis, Alice Gull
Related Symbols: Dynamite
Page Number: 125
Explanation and Analysis:
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He remembers his father once passing the foreign loggers on First Lake Road and saying, “They don’t know where they are.” And now, in this neighborhood intricate with history and ceremony, Patrick smiles to himself at the irony of reversals.

Related Characters: Patrick Lewis, Hazen Lewis
Page Number: 133
Explanation and Analysis:
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“The trouble with ideology, Alice, is that it hates the private. You must make it human.”

Related Characters: Patrick Lewis, Alice Gull
Page Number: 135
Explanation and Analysis:
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In books he had read, even those romances he swallowed during childhood, Patrick never believed that characters lived only on the page. They altered when the author’s eye was somewhere else. (…) Each character had his own time zone, his own lamp, otherwise they were just men from nowhere.

Page Number: 143
Explanation and Analysis:
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His own life was no longer a single story but part of a mural, which was a falling together of accomplices.

Page Number: 145
Explanation and Analysis:
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Part 3: Chapter 2: Maritime Theatre Quotes

- You watch, in fifty years they’re going to come here and gape at the herringbone and the copper roofs. We need excess, something to live up to. I fought tooth and nail for that herringbone.

- You fought. You fought. Think about those who built the intake tunnels. Do you know how many of us died in there?

- There was no record kept.

Related Characters: Patrick Lewis (speaker), Rowland Harris (speaker)
Related Symbols: Dynamite
Page Number: 236
Explanation and Analysis:
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You must realize you are like these places, Patrick. You’re as much of the fabric as the aldermen and the millionaires. But you’re among the dwarfs of enterprise who never get accepted or acknowledged. Mongrel company. You’re a lost heir. So you stay in the woods. You reject power. And this is how the bland fools – the politicians and press and mayors and their advisers – become the spokesmen for the age.

Related Characters: Rowland Harris (speaker), Patrick Lewis
Related Symbols: Dynamite
Page Number: 238
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
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Patrick Lewis Character Timeline in In the Skin of a Lion

The timeline below shows where the character Patrick Lewis appears in In the Skin of a Lion. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1: Chapter 1: Little Seeds
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In early morning, a boy can see groups of loggers out in the cold, anonymous men who carry lanterns and... (full context)
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The men have little contact with the town, and neither the boy nor his father has ever entered the temporary shacks they set up for the winter... (full context)
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During summer nights, the boy loves turning out the lights and, while his father is sleeping, looking at a geography... (full context)
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...around wildly, in turn terrifying the boy. Instead, in the kitchen light, the boy, called Patrick, examines their jaws and wings with fascination. He wonders if they can hear anything and... (full context)
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The region Patrick has grown up in has only recently become official. Even though settlers have been there... (full context)
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Patrick’s father does manual work on a few farms. One day, Patrick and his father search... (full context)
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When Patrick’s father attaches the ropes to the horses, the horses move forward and succeed in pulling... (full context)
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That night, Patrick’s father allows the boy to sleep in the same bed as him, sharing warmth, and... (full context)
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Patrick remembers his father, Hazen Lewis, practicing using dynamite. Hazen would draw the outline of Patrick... (full context)
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When Patrick is fifteen, his father takes the only risk he ever took in his life: he... (full context)
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...of the river need a dynamiter to dislodge them. In these cases, Hazen Lewis and Patrick arrive. After taking off his clothes, Patrick covers himself in oil and swims among the... (full context)
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During river runs, Patrick watches the cook bring loggers food and drift back down the river to camp. In... (full context)
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Later, Patrick realizes that he learned important things during this period, but always through distant observation, by... (full context)
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One winter night when Patrick is eleven, he decides to walk out of the kitchen to follow a moth that... (full context)
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As Patrick walks, he sees the lights become more definite, hears laughter, and finally reaches the lake,... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 3: The Searcher
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When Patrick Lewis arrives in Toronto, he feels as though he is entering a new land that... (full context)
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At the train station, Patrick notices a man with three suitcases screaming in a foreign language for two days in... (full context)
The Working Class vs. the Rich Theme Icon
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...reward that Small’s family offered for information about Small’s location. After one year in Toronto, Patrick Lewis decides to take up a job as a searcher. He becomes interested in the... (full context)
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When Patrick first meets Clara, she tells him she does not want to talk about Small and... (full context)
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...at night, Clara too takes part in this process of seduction. She comes to pick Patrick up at the library, where he is looking through old files to find information about... (full context)
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Another day, Clara helps Patrick carry boxes of files to his apartment. Exhausted, they fall asleep holding hands and, later,... (full context)
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One day, as they lounge naked in the bed, Patrick tells Clara he loves her and asks her about her past lovers, which prompts Clara... (full context)
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...in the morning, behaving like a child, since love makes him feel free and unconstrained, Patrick wakes Clara up to show her a tree frog against the window—a rare sight at... (full context)
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Patrick and Clara spend the next day making love, driving around the country, and talking about... (full context)
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Although Patrick learns about some of Clara’s most intimate, erotic experiences, he does not feel comfortable talking... (full context)
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Reflecting on his feelings for Clara, Patrick wonders if he was attracted to her because she was so unreachable, living a life... (full context)
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When Alice finally arrives, Patrick watches Clara as the two women walk together. Clara recounts a childhood anecdote in which... (full context)
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While Patrick and Clara share episodes from their childhood, Alice prefers to talk about the present, revealing... (full context)
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At night, in the dark, Clara and Alice approach the bed where Patrick is sleeping. They place candles on a chair and, placing paper on the floor, begin... (full context)
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Early the next day, Patrick walks around the house, looking out at the field and inside at the sleeping women,... (full context)
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Alice accompanies Patrick to the kitchen, where he eats a grapefruit and Alice watches him move efficiently in... (full context)
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That night, at the Arlington hotel, Patrick looks at the sketched portraits that Clara shows him but does not believe her when... (full context)
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Sometimes, Patrick takes part in a private activity: he blindfolds himself and moves around his room faster... (full context)
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After trying to convince Clara not to leave, Patrick blindfolds himself, telling her not to move, and begins to leap around the room, avoiding... (full context)
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Reflecting on the novels he has read throughout his life, Patrick realizes that the stories in books always have clear endings—two lovers always have clear motives... (full context)
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Obsessed with Clara’s absence, Patrick imagines writing letters to her, sharing his reflections about her relationship with Ambrose, his dreams,... (full context)
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One day, Patrick opens the door and is shocked to see Alice standing in the doorway. As she... (full context)
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Alice asks Patrick for some coffee and he notes that she looks strong and confident. She says that... (full context)
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Patrick ran into Alice the day before, as she was exiting a theater. He told her... (full context)
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In Patrick’s apartment, after Alice and Patrick make love, Alice mentions that Clara’s mother probably knows where... (full context)
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Clara’s mother mentions that Clara said she had seduced Patrick. She enjoins Patrick to forget her, since it has been over two years since she... (full context)
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When Patrick finds Ambrose Small in the early hours of the morning, both men seem excited by... (full context)
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In the meantime, Patrick sits outside, enjoying the various sounds and sensations of this countryside, in which he grew... (full context)
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 Although Patrick does not feel any pain from being on fire, he has cut his hands with... (full context)
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When Patrick wakes up, he cannot see well out of one eye. He looks out the window... (full context)
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As Clara washes Patrick’s cuts, she asks him how he is and Patrick laughs nervously. Clara finds that Patrick... (full context)
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After the doctor comes, Clara tells Patrick that Small is not actually interested in him, but only wants to protect himself and... (full context)
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As she had said she would, Clara leaves at dawn without waking Patrick and goes to the beach by Ambrose’s house, watching the river and thinking. In the... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 1: Palace of Purification
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Whenever the workers discover large walls of rock, Patrick works alone to dynamite it. He is paid extra for laying charges, in addition to... (full context)
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After work, Patrick walks home from work, recognizing other workers by the holes they have in their shirts—the... (full context)
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Patrick eats most of his meals at the Thompson Grill, where he watches the waitress’s efficient... (full context)
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One day, Patrick, who has spent the past couple of years completely alone, pins a note on his... (full context)
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When Patrick finally explains to the puzzled Macedonian shopkeepers that he needs vetch to feed his iguana,... (full context)
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Patrick is embarrassed to realize that he lives such a monotonous life. He is so overwhelmed... (full context)
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Everyone introduces themselves and, as Patrick tries to remember their names, he introduces himself as well. The Macedonians then invite him... (full context)
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While everyone waits for his reply in silence, Patrick answers that he used to work as a searcher and that he knows how to... (full context)
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...from different nationalities, takes place inside the waterworks because the machines drown out the noise. Patrick follows the crowd to a temporary stage, waving to Kosta when he sees him greeting... (full context)
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...authorities insult and then begin to beat physically, while the puppet only makes pleading gestures. Patrick finds the scene unbearable and cannot look away from the puppet’s face, which has thick... (full context)
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As the audience begins to clap at the same rhythm as the figure’s hand, Patrick finds himself hypnotized by the scene. Desperate to make this terrifying action stop, he stands... (full context)
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Although all Patrick notices is that the actress looks exhausted, she expresses more emotion, showing shock at seeing... (full context)
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Backstage, Patrick searches for the woman everywhere, past actors who are putting on or taking off costumes.... (full context)
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Patrick turns on the flashlight again, feeling as though the woman was waiting for his light... (full context)
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Later, in Alice’s room, where Patrick has just seen Alice’s sleeping daughter, Alice explains that she wasn’t married and that the... (full context)
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Patrick and Alice then begin to talk about politics and injustice, and while Patrick argues that... (full context)
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As Patrick listens to Alice’s angry tirade, he wonders if this might be an acting role, an... (full context)
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Alice then explains that someone always walks on stage to stop her, as Patrick did tonight, but Patrick replies that she will not convert him to her cause. He... (full context)
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...daughter Hana in the fresh air, and passersby wave at them from below, which makes Patrick feel as though Alice and he are playing a role. As a bottle of whiskey... (full context)
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After Patrick lies down, Alice tells him to sit up again to see something beautiful, and Patrick... (full context)
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At five in the morning, Patrick leaves Alice and Hana sleeping on the fire escape to leave for work, stopping by... (full context)
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In the Thompson Grill, Patrick recalls being eighteen, at a formal ball, and experiencing the beauty and wonder of a... (full context)
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Over time, as Patrick begins to feel happy and fulfilled in his relationship with Alice, he finds a job... (full context)
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...on the fact that the men’s colors look as though they represented their different nationalities, Patrick knows that these men have a terrible job, which is bound to make them smell... (full context)
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...rich, who always laugh, never work, and keep the poor in menial jobs. She forces Patrick to remember that the rich will never want to give up on their material superiority. (full context)
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...house, Alice is relaxed with her friends, with whom she speaks, English, Finnish, or Macedonian. Patrick does not understand everything, but knows that they mention the police chief who made public... (full context)
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One day, Alice reads Patrick some of Joseph Conrad’s letters. The writer defends the right of the oppressed to fight... (full context)
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...steam baths, while saluting each other using people’s countries as their names, for example calling Patrick “Canada.” Patrick does not know anything about his fellow workers’ private lives, and keeps his... (full context)
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Later, Patrick joins Alice and Hana and they eat on the fire escape or at the Balkan... (full context)
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Patrick and Hana sometimes go to Hana’s favorite place, Geranium Bakery, where her friend Nicholas Temelcoff... (full context)
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One day, Alice shares with Patrick parts of her love story with Cato. She explains that Cato was his war name... (full context)
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Although Patrick initially wonders if these stories make him feel jealous, he concludes that they do not.... (full context)
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With the photograph of the men on the bridge in his pocket, Patrick reflects that he has always believed that characters have a life on the page, expanding... (full context)
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The next day, at work, Patrick reflects on what he knows about Alice’s past. After work, he goes home and plays... (full context)
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Patrick realizes that he is obsessively looking through Alice’s past because he wants to keep her... (full context)
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After Patrick leaves the bakery, Nicholas keeps on thinking. Although Nicholas never talks about the past, as... (full context)
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Patrick remembers lying on Alice’s stomach and listening to stories about her relationship with Cato. She... (full context)
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One day, Hana hands Patrick a letter Cato wrote to Alice while working as a logger in the winter and... (full context)
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Thinking about his own life, Patrick realizes that he has always been detached from other humans and that, despite being Canadian,... (full context)
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Patrick remembers one Sunday when Alice and he were walking back from the regular gathering at... (full context)
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Recalling other memories, Patrick concludes that he does not want a love story structured by plot and logical consequences,... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 2: Remorse
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In Alice’s room, Patrick recalls his old desire to know Alice when she was old. Lying in bed, where... (full context)
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On Page Island, Patrick visits the Garden of the Blind, where he sits reading a newspaper while hearing the... (full context)
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Patrick tells Elizabeth that he is wanted by the police for destroying property. He plans to... (full context)
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At night, Patrick jumps off the dock and swims toward a night cruise under the moonlight. When a... (full context)
Part 3: Chapter 1: Caravaggio
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At the Kingston Penitentiary, the prisoners Patrick Lewis and Buck are painting the roof of the prison blue, careful not to confuse... (full context)
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...sleeping, Caravaggio experiences a familiar nightmare, the memory of three men attacking him in prison. Patrick, who could see what was going on from his cell opposite Caravaggio’s, began singing to... (full context)
Part 3: Chapter 2: Maritime Theatre
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Patrick is released from prison in 1938, when police units focused on industrial political activity aim... (full context)
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When Patrick reaches Geranium Bakery, Nicholas Temelcoff hugs him vigorously. Patrick then asks about Hana and Nicholas... (full context)
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Suddenly, Hana stands up, showing Patrick how tall she is, and hugs him softly. The two of them walk down to... (full context)
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In their shared apartment, Hana wakes Patrick up to tell him that he needs to answer an urgent phone call from Clara... (full context)
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Clara tells Patrick that Marmora is four hours away from Toronto and that she needs his help. Patrick... (full context)
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Six months earlier, when Patrick left prison, as the Spanish Civil War was evolving in Spain, the upper class became... (full context)
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...try to hit chained monkeys with champagne corks to win a free bottle. That night, Patrick, Caravaggio, and Giannetta step off a motor launch toward the Yacht Club where, thanks to... (full context)
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...made a comment about the rich’s laugh and their obsession with their possessions that reminded Patrick of Alice. (full context)
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...signal, puts a handkerchief with chloroform on the lady’s mouth, at the same time as Patrick chloroforms the husband upstairs.  Caravaggio holds the wife and wonders what she is dreaming of... (full context)
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After meticulously studying the plans of the waterworks that Caravaggio stole, Patrick knows the specific size of each part of the waterworks. Taking off his shirt, he... (full context)
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On this night of July 7, 1938, Patrick crawls through the iron bars, but the difficulty of swimming with a heavy tank makes... (full context)
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Having lost his wire cutters, hanging onto the screen with one arm, Patrick decides to use a small explosion to break through it, although he is not sure... (full context)
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...noise, he walks around the building but does not see anything suspicious. In the meantime, Patrick prepares himself to walk through the puppet-filled hallway where he saw Alice years ago. He... (full context)
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When Patrick enters Harris’s office some time later, the Commissioner sees him walk in, though Patrick is... (full context)
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...begins to speak, explaining that he has worked hard to arrive at his current position, Patrick says that Harris has forgotten them. He tells the Commissioner that the tiles he has... (full context)
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Patrick then asks Harris to turn the light off, because the darkness makes him feel more... (full context)
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Patrick interrupts Harris’s speech to tell him about Alice Gull’s death. When Harris mentions that she... (full context)
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When Patrick goes quiet, Harris calls out to him. In the darkness, Harris realizes that Patrick swam... (full context)
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After making some coffee, Hana wakes Patrick up from his nap, telling him they have to go to Marmora. While they walk... (full context)