Me Before You

Me Before You Chapter 3 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Camilla starts to show Lou around the annex, the wing of Granta House that has been adapted for wheelchair access. As Camilla gives Lou the tour, she tells Lou to feel free to make tea in the kitchen or help with small chores, but emphasizes that her son, Will, can only be left alone for 15 minutes at a time. Camilla gives a despairing glance at Lou’s furry jacket and tells Lou that the most important part of Lou’s job is that Will can think of Lou as a friend. Lou brightens at the thought of watching movies or listening to music with Will.
Camilla seems to take Lou’s unconventional style as a sign that she will not be a professional presence in the house. This is both a blessing and an annoyance for Camilla. So far, Lou’s job seems to be mostly a matter of making sure that Will isn’t lonely, but at the same time, Camilla’s insistence that Will can’t be left alone at all might seem somewhat sinister, as we later learn when it’s revealed that Will is suicidal.
Themes
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Camilla takes Lou in to meet Will and Will’s personal nurse, Nathan. Will is a solidly built man with shaggy unkempt hair. Will starts to groan as Lou timidly tries to introduce herself. Will then stops groaning suddenly and introduces himself as Will Traynor. Nathan scolds Will for using his “Christy Brown” impression as Camilla looks on nervously. Camilla then tells Lou that Nathan will show her Will’s medicine, and she briskly leaves the room.
Will tests Lou’s courage by trying to scare her with an act of low mental ability—a stereotype that people might expect from a man in a wheelchair. Christy Brown was an Irish writer and painter who suffered from cerebral palsy and could only move his left foot. Brown, though an accomplished writer, could not speak for much of his life. Will is able to speak quite well, but pushes people away.
Themes
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Nathan turns the radio on for Will and takes Lou back to the kitchen to the medicine cabinet. Lou is overwhelmed by all the pills that Will has to take but Nathan reassures her that it’s all written down and that he will be in every day at morning, lunch, and evening to take care of most of Will’s physical needs. Nathan then leaves for the morning and Lou goes back to check on Will.
Lou gets a crash course in caring for another person’s physical needs, something that makes her very nervous. Nathan has made a career out of caring for people’s physical needs, but also seems to compartmentalize the emotional side of his work.
Themes
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Lou offers to make Will a cup of tea, but Will snottily refuses, and then ignores her. Lou goes to busy herself with some chores, angry that Will so easily made her feel stupid. She starts to vacuum, and notices a row of photographs in Will’s bedroom. The photos show a handsome young man bungee-jumping, out with friends, and in a jungle. Lou picks up a photo of Will skiing, then jumps when Will appears in the doorway. He tells Lou to feel free to pity him for the life he lost whenever she wants to, and then rolls away.
Lou treats Will kindly, recognizing that Will deserves respect as a person, but Will does not repay Lou the same favor. Lou is attracted to the person that Will used to be, but Will is sure that his life is meaningless now that he can no longer experience the kind of active thrills and adventure that once sustained him.
Themes
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Lou occupies herself all morning with any task she can find and hurries out of the house when Nathan appears to take care of Will’s after-lunch medical needs. Lou sits at the castle bus stop and calls her sister to complain how much Will hates her. Treena just reminds Lou that Will can’t be that bad once they get to know each other, and that the family can’t afford for Lou to quit. Lou goes back in to Will’s room, offering to take him for a drive or bring him his computer. Will just scoffs, jeering that nothing Lou can do will improve his life. Will asks Lou not to be chatty with him, and Lou agrees.
Lou occupies herself by doing small “useful” tasks to give meaning to her days. Will and Lou do not get along at first, as Will resents Lou’s attempts to brighten up the bleak circumstances that he sees in his own life. Trapped in the artificial closeness of caregiver and employer, Lou thinks that she and Will have nothing in common, but Treena suggests that the two may be more similar once Lou gets to know Will.
Themes
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At home that night, Lou hides in her tiny room, though she usually can’t stand to spend time in the small space. Treena comes in and begs Lou not to quit. Treena needs Lou’s wages to care of their parents so that Treena can quit her job and go back to university. Treena feels dead without the mental stimulus that school once gave her, and asks Lou to stay in this miserable job so that Treena can have her dream. Lou can’t believe that her sister is asking her something so selfish, but she swallows her feelings and assures Treena that she will tough out Will’s moods for the paycheck.
Lou’s small room is another sacrifice she has made for her family, as her sister Treena needs the larger room. Treena also needs Lou to sacrifice her temporary happiness and continue working for Will so that Treena can focus on her own ambitions. Treena doesn’t seem to notice the sacrifices that Lou makes for her, but Moyes mostly celebrates Treena’s ambition instead of focusing on Treena’s selfishness.
Themes
Ambition and Achievement Theme Icon
Love and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Quality of Life Theme Icon