Me Before You

Me Before You Chapter 21 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Steven, now narrating, tells how Louisa moved in to Will’s spare room that weekend. Steven runs in to Louisa one Saturday morning and is pleasantly surprised, but Camilla only sees the potential downfalls to this situation. Steven wants to cheer up Camilla, but doesn’t know how to talk to her anymore.
Steven still seems to have hope for Will, though Camilla only sees the danger of Lou and Will getting too close. Steven and Camilla’s marriage has deteriorated past any point of real communication, as they are rarely honest with each other about anything.
Themes
Love and Sacrifice Theme Icon
The next Monday, Louisa shows Will, Camilla, and Steven the plans she has made for Will’s grand adventure in California. Steven is impressed with how organized it all is, and the daring of asking Will to take on this travel after he so recently refused to even leave the house. Louisa presents the trip as if all of the activities are for her benefit, because she knows that Will will only agree if he thinks that the trip will broaden her own horizons. Will agrees to everything and Camilla is notably relieved. Steven is profoundly grateful that Lou came into their lives when she did.
Lou’s plan is the height of ambition for a quadriplegic man. Yet Lou frames it as a trip for her benefit, blurring the line between her desires and her desires for Will. At this point, it is impossible to tell what Lou is doing for herself and what Lou is doing for Will, as well as what Will is doing for himself and what Will is doing for Lou.
Themes
Ambition and Achievement Theme Icon
Love and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Quality of Life Theme Icon
Fitness Theme Icon
Steven goes for a drink with his mistress, Della, and tells her all about Will’s holiday. Steven knows that Della would rather he leave Will behind and divorce Camilla, but he is glad that Della chooses not to bring that up. The only way that Steven could ever leave his family behind is if Will died, but Steven remains hopeful that it won’t come to that. Della simply focuses on the possibility that Will might be more independent now. But then, at the worst possible time, Will gets pneumonia.
Steven has also sacrificed his own happiness for Will. In a perfect world, Steven would be able to leave his loveless marriage to Camilla in favor of giving both of them the chance to find real love. Yet Steven’s choices are limited by his responsibility to Will. Della sees a future where Steven can one day leave Will’s life, but Will’s illness reminds them all that there is very little chance of Will ever being truly independent.
Themes
Love and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Quality of Life Theme Icon