Me Before You

Me Before You Chapter 4 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
For the first two weeks, Lou goes in to work at Granta House and stays out of Will’s way as much as possible. She feels awkward when forced into close proximity with Will, like when feeding him his lunch, and rushes out of the house for her break as soon as Nathan arrives each day. Will’s mother, Camilla, and father, Steven, don’t seem to know how to reach Will either, saying little but “hello” to him each day.
Lou’s position as Will’s caregiver forces them into a false intimacy. Lou does things for Will that she would normally never do for a mere acquaintance. Will’s family seems to treat each other as strangers, and they do not openly express any affection at all for each other.
Themes
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Lou wants to have sympathy for Will, knowing that he is in constant pain and that he has a very isolated, limited life now. Yet Will’s sour demeanor and endless complaints make it impossible for Lou to feel anything but exasperation. Camilla too makes Lou uncomfortable, watching her every move so that she can correct any possible mistake. Lou misses her job at the café more than ever.
Lou tries to have sympathy for Will’s physical illnesses, but she does not know how to handle Will’s mental pain. Will’s horrible attitude and Camilla’s general coldness actually make Lou much more uncomfortable than any of the physical requirements of her job.
Themes
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Camilla comes in one morning to let Lou know that Will has friends over, Rupert and Alicia. Lou offers to make them coffee and brings a tray in to Will and his guests. Lou recognizes Alicia from one of Will’s old photographs, and realizes that Alicia and Will used to date. Rupert, Alicia, and Will’s conversation is incredibly stilted, even though Rupert was Will’s best friend before the accident, and Lou leaves the awkward room to get more logs for the fire.
Will’s personal relationships have completely deteriorated, even with the people who were once supposedly his closest friends. The physical isolation caused by Will’s wheelchair has led Will to isolate himself mentally and emotionally as well.
Themes
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As Lou comes back into the house, Lou overhears Rupert and Alicia tell Will that they are planning to get married. Will silently looks at them with contempt as they make excuses about their romance after Will’s accident. Will congratulates them coldly and politely, and Rupert tells “Lissa” that it is time to leave. As Alicia gets her coat, she tells Lou that she did as much as she could in the months after Will’s accident, but “you can only help someone who wants to be helped.”
Rupert uses Will’s old pet name for Alicia, another injury in Will’s realization that his old girlfriend has moved on. Yet Alicia maintains that she did everything she could for Will, and was unable to convince him to change his mind about his new life. Love is not enough to save someone who does not want to be saved.
Themes
Love and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Quality of Life Theme Icon
Get the entire Me Before You LitChart as a printable PDF.
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Lou goes back to check on Will only to find that Will has smashed all of his old pictures in their frames. Lou just tells Will to stay still while she cleans up the glass so he doesn’t puncture a tire, and Will mumbles an apology.
Will takes some physical control over his life by smashing the pictures. Lou’s response is practical—rather than getting upset at what Will has done, Lou simply deals with the mess. Will seems to respect this response, as seen in his apology.
Themes
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Quality of Life Theme Icon
That night, Lou goes to the pub with Patrick and his triathlon training friends. Lou does not enjoy these nights, though she does get slight pleasure in rubbing her unhealthy desserts in Patrick’s fit friends’ faces. Lou tells Patrick about the events at Granta House today, and Patrick laments the awful life that Will must have. Patrick can’t imagine life without the active pleasures he enjoys, and he changes the subject to the Xtreme Viking, his dream triathlon in Norway that he wants to complete this year.
Lou shows that she doesn’t understand why Patrick is so wrapped up in the physical world. Patrick can’t imagine a life where his body is no longer under his control, as Patrick finds meaning in life only through physical pursuits. Moyes hints at the unhealthiness of this perspective.
Themes
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The next morning, Lou comes in to the house to find Will in a worse mood then ever. She gets the broken picture frames out and tries to start salvaging some of them until Will interrupts her. Will tells Lou that he smashed the photos for a reason and Lou isn’t “helping” by ignoring his wishes. Lou feels bad for taking away one of the few choices Will has left, but still can’t stand the way Will treats her. Lou stands up for herself, telling Will that his disability does not give him permission to make other people miserable when they just want to help him. Will seems surprised by Lou’s sudden outburst and tells her to put the photos in the bottom drawer of his dresser.
Will points out that his physical disabilities do not make him incapable of controlling his own life. Lou respects this, but she also stands up for herself with Will in a way that she does not do with anyone else in her life. Will may have suffered, but that does not give him the right to make other people suffer as well. This moment is an important shift in their relationship, now that Will begins to respect Lou as her own person.
Themes
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