The Matron enters Neal’s office and announces that Billy and Mary, who is visibly pregnant, have arrived. Mr. Neal immediately dismisses the Matron, who warns him “that girl is pregnant, and unwell.” Mr. Neal promises he will not touch her.
Neal has no respect for Mary, no respect for pregnant women, and no respect for her unborn baby. The Matron knows this, but is not moved enough to actually protect Mary from her lecherous husband.
Billy brings Mary into Neal’s office but is ordered to wait outside while they talk. Mr. Neal tells Mary she can stay in the nurse’s quarters, but she says she wants to stay with Milly and Sam. He pressures her, but Mary refuses twice more, infuriating Neal. Billy walks in and tells Mary she should cooperate. She refuses, and Neal, with Billy’s help, stretches her over a pile of flour bags and begins to whip her.
Mary recognizes that Neal is sexually interested in her, but has no desire to begin any kind of relationship with him. She, like Joe and Jimmy before her, chooses to resist, even if it means she will have to endure physical punishment. This punishment is carried out as though it is in an official capacity, but it is really an outlet for Neal’s bigotry, rage, and sexual frustration.