The Female Persuasion

by

Meg Wolitzer

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The Female Persuasion: Chapter 14 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Greer, freshly unemployed, spends her days wandering Brooklyn and focusing on her first love: reading. She feels very unlike herself sitting in coffee shops all day, but because she has some money saved up, she is taking some time for herself to mourn the end of her journey with Loci—and with Faith. Greer and Zee have exchanged some emails, and things seem to be “thawing” between the two of them.
Greer has lost two of the most important female friendships in her life and now moves through the world mostly on her own. Though reconciliation with Zee seems possible, things with Faith appear to be truly over. Without the guiding light and mentorship of Faith Frank, Greer must figure out on her own who she is and what she wants in life.
Themes
Female Friendship and Mentorship Theme Icon
One afternoon, Cory calls Greer and asks if her offer to let him stay on her sofa bed in Brooklyn is still good. He explains that one of SoulFinder’s investors wants to take Cory to an immersive theatre piece, and Cory is going to be in the city for two nights. Greer tells Cory that he can stay, and when he arrives, the two of them eat takeout from a local Thai restaurant. Cory confides in Greer that because his mother has been doing better, he feels unsure of where he is needed and what he should be doing. Greer apologizes for having judged Cory for moving home, and he apologizes for having shut her out.
As Greer and Cory reconnect, they are forced to process the ways in which they have let one another down over the years. They have both had to learn some hard lessons, and their senses of power and agency in their own lives have been in rapid and unending flux for a long while. Now, they apologize to one another for their small betrayals, and it seems as if a balance between them is restored.
Themes
Family and Community Theme Icon
Sociopolitical Power vs. Personal Fortitude  Theme Icon
Cory congratulates Greer on her speech and reveals that he watched it online. Greer sadly tells him that Loci is “over,” and as she begins to talk with him about it, she realizes that she is feeling grief in addition to anger. She is not grieving the job, or even Loci, but the loss of Faith Frank as an idol. She tells Cory all of this and explains that she feels she’ll “never recover” from the disappointment and sadness. Cory assures her, “with authority,” that she will. 
Cory and Greer are at last brought back to an even playing field by their shared experiences of grief, despite the fact that the losses they are grieving are very different. They can relate to one another more deeply through their experiences of loss, and they realize that they are both struggling with the weight of disappointment and the attempt to move forward—perhaps they can be “twin rocket ships” once again.
Themes
Female Friendship and Mentorship Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Sociopolitical Power vs. Personal Fortitude  Theme Icon
Greer sets up the sofa bed for Cory while he brushes his teeth in the bathroom, ruminating on how she and her friends are all “living extemporaneously,” waiting for the “solid matter” of their real lives to kick in. When Cory emerges from the bathroom, Greer is surprised by his pajamas, which are different from the kind of pajamas he wore when they were together. Cory lies down on the sofa, and Greer gets into her own bed across the room. The apartment is dark and quiet, and though there is a tension in the air, it breaks when Cory speaks up and thanks Greer for having him. As her eyes adjust to the dark, Greer can see Cory settling in for bed.
This final passage of the chapter, as Cory and Greer get ready for bed, reflects the changes in their relationship. It seems that the literal darkness that envelopes them as they get ready for bed echoes the emotional darkness that consumed them in the wake of Alby’s loss. However, as their eyes begin to adjust, they realize that there is hope for them to see each other clearly again after all.
Themes
Family and Community Theme Icon
Sociopolitical Power vs. Personal Fortitude  Theme Icon
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