After the Givingses leave, Frank takes a large drink of whiskey. He says to April that he knows what April is thinking: that John was right. April agrees. Frank says John is insane and that insanity is the inability to love. April begins to laugh hysterically. When she quiets down, she says that Frank is an amazing talker, and if black could be made white by talking he would do it. She asks if she is crazy because she doesn’t love him; he says she isn’t crazy and she does love him, then moves to touch her. She says she will scream if he comes close to her. Frank approaches and she screams at the top of her lungs. He yells that she is an empty shell of a woman, and that he wishes she had aborted the baby. Storming from the room, Frank congratulates himself on this stinging remark.
April refuses to let Frank convince her that his position is correct or control her. She also will not tell Frank she loves him to boost his ego. April finally sees that Frank is not destined to become someone she would consider exceptional. Instead, she sees, as Pollock does, that his strongest ability is as a salesman, convincing people to believe what he wants them to. No longer trying to convince April that she is angry with him because she is emotionally disturbed and needs psychiatric help, Frank lashes out at her.
Frank locks himself in their room and then hears the kitchen door slam. He fears that April is leaving him and follows her out of the house. She tells him to leave her alone or she will scream. He retreats to the house to watch her. Eventually, she comes back inside and calls Milly, asking her if she can keep the kids overnight. Then April lies down on the couch facing away from him. In the past, Frank would have gone on a drive, but now he feels weak with emotion. He locks himself in their bedroom with the bottle of whiskey and falls asleep to terrible dreams.
Frank feels completely drained by this fight. April is no longer susceptible to his arguments about her mental health. He has shown that he was bluffing when he acted like he disapproved of abortion for moral reasons by saying that he wishes she had given herself an abortion. He feels that he has lost all sense of himself as confident and restrained, as he believes a strong man ought to be. Instead he is utterly susceptible to his emotions about April.
At one point during the night, he thinks he sees April sitting by the bed. He says to her, “oh, my baby, don’t go away,” and she replies, “it’s all right, Frank. Go to sleep.” He wakes up extremely hung over, unsure if this was a dream. He realizes he must go to work, because today is the day of Pollock’s introductory conference.
This moment echoes Frank’s dream (in Part 1, Chapter 3) that his parents are watching him sleep and looking at him tenderly. It shows that Frank desires a similar kind of unconditional love from April as he did from his parents as a young child.
Frank is shocked to see the table set for breakfast for two. April speaks politely to him and asks him to tell her about the conference and the coming work for Pollock. Frank wonders if their fight finally got all their anger out of their systems. He draws a diagram of the way a computer works on a napkin, and April tells him it’s actually sort of interesting. Struggling with his emotions, Frank thanks April for the breakfast. As he leaves, he doesn’t know what to say. He asks April if this means she doesn’t hate him. She says she doesn’t. He leans in hesitantly to kiss her. She looks surprised, but then kisses him back, and he leaves for work.
April shows an interest in Frank’s work that he has always hoped for, and Frank feels happy, surprised and confused at this change. Instead of wondering why she has had this sudden change of personality, Frank approves of April’s behavior, which he sees as appropriate for a wife. He feels hopeful that the blowout fight has allowed them to come together as a couple again. For readers, however, April’s drastic change of behavior signals something ominous.