In the Skin of a Lion

In the Skin of a Lion Part 2: Chapter 2: Remorse Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
In Alice’s room, Patrick recalls his old desire to know Alice when she was old. Lying in bed, where her smell still lies, he finds that he cannot sleep and fears losing his precise memory of her face. He recalls a conversation in which he asked her why she liked him, and she said he gave her energy and confidence. Patrick leaves Alice’s room with a suitcase and takes the night train to Hunstville, where there is a regatta. Thinking about the equality and justice that Alice believed in, Patrick boards a steamer and finds a deck chair by the dock to sleep in, while clutching his suitcase.
Patrick and Alice’s relationship was based on the act of sharing, as each character derived strength from receiving and giving each other support, in the present and the future. Because of this, Patrick inherits Alice’s beliefs once she is gone, and wants to help her achieve her goals even now that she is dead. He is no longer listening to her political speeches: he has now internalized her mode of thinking, and knows what he is supposed to do to honor it.
Themes
The Working Class vs. the Rich Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
On Page Island, Patrick visits the Garden of the Blind, where he sits reading a newspaper while hearing the birds’ calls. The night before, Patrick poured paraffin in the Muskoska hotel, where many regatta-goers were staying, and dynamited the dock before rowing away. Now, a woman in the Garden of the Blind begins to talk to him, after hearing that he is reading a newspaper and must not be blind. She tells him that her name is Elizabeth and she walks around the garden with him, sharing personal stories about her life.
Patrick’s decision to destroy the Muskoska hotel remains unexplained. Although it clearly meant to deprive the rich of some of their possessions—one of Alice’s revolutionary goals—it remains ambiguous whether Patrick now agrees with Alice’s political views, whether he is angry at the rich for Alice’s death, or whether he meant his action to honor Alice’s goals.
Themes
The Working Class vs. the Rich Theme Icon
Patrick tells Elizabeth that he is wanted by the police for destroying property. He plans to stay at the garden until nightfall and then swim out to a boat. When Patrick sees the woman’s eye, one of which is gone entirely, it reminds him of the intense greenness of moths. They sit down together, and Patrick remembers Alice’s grand cause as well as her death in his arms. When the woman falls asleep against him, Patrick finally moves away and leaves.
The color of the moths reminds Patrick of his childhood and his fascination with beautiful things. Although it appears that this type of beauty has now been replaced by his love for Alice and his embrace of her political cause, his recollection of childhood still gives him an innocent outlook, proving that he has not become a cold, calculating political activist.
Themes
The Working Class vs. the Rich Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Literature, Imagination, and Creativity Theme Icon
At night, Patrick jumps off the dock and swims toward a night cruise under the moonlight. When a sunken log touches him, he feels suddenly scared and alive. Hearing music on the boat, he succeeds in breaking a window and climbing through it, landing on a table in the kitchen. Startled at the noise, the cook turns around but Patrick makes a sign for him to keep quiet and, after cleaning the kitchen, the cook leaves. Hearing the music above him, Patrick takes off his wet clothes, heats them in the oven, and looks for food, ultimately deciding to eat some raw meat while waiting for his clothes to dry.
The contrast between the luxury and entertainment on the boat and Patrick’s current plight highlights the gap between the rich and him. It also suggests that he has made a commitment to fight for justice, not to make money, and that he is not interested in living the kind of life that the people on the cruise are taking part in. Rather, as the episode with the sunken log suggests, it is the knowledge of the fight, with all its dangers, that makes him feel as though his life is worthwhile.
Themes
The Working Class vs. the Rich Theme Icon
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