Lancelot - Chapter 3 Summary & Analysis

This Study Guide consists of approximately 28 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Lancelot.
This section contains 820 words
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Chapter 3 Summary

Lancelot tells Harry how he found money in father's sock drawer once when he was a little boy. This money seemed to prove that his father was a corrupt politician even though his mother swore that they were an honorable family and did not do that sort of thing. Lancelot compares the way he felt then with the way he felt when he learned of Margot's infidelity. Lancelot then continues with his story. That night, Lancelot asked Elgin what time the movie people had come back to Belle Isle after watching the rushes from the week's filming. Elgin said they did not return until after three. Lancelot then asked Elgin if the dumbwaiter beside the fireplace still worked. Lancelot pauses in his story then to tell Harry that Elgin is the son of the family's long time servants and that he is a student at MIT.

That night, Lancelot had dinner with Margot, the director, Janos Jacoby, and the actors, Troy Dana, Raine Robinette, and Merlin. Lancelot reports that the dinner went well, just as it had always gone. Raine flirted with Lancelot, making him feel important in the past but then caused him to wonder if it was out of pity because she knew Margot was unfaithful. Lancelot also recalls growing bored of their movie talking and finding the whole thing pretentious, especially Margot's attempts to prove herself knowledgeable. Lancelot left the table at the same time he normally would, in time to say goodnight to his daughter, Siobhan, where she was watching television with her grandpa, Tex Reilly, before settling down to watch the evening news. However, instead of going upstairs, Lancelot hid in parlor and watched as his wife appeared to be flirting with both Merlin and Janos.

Finally Lancelot went upstairs to say goodnight to Siobhan and Tex. Tex was irritating Siobhan, something Lancelot did not take the time to deal with, and began annoying Lancelot by once again nagging him about a gas well over which he had allowed Margot to rebuild a burned section of Belle Isle. Lancelot dismissed them both and went to the pigeonnier. At this point, Lancelot pauses in his story to tell Harry how he had become complacent in his routine. Lancelot was once a attorney who fought for civil rights and cared about his job. However, after marrying Margot, Lancelot found himself going into the office less and less until he only went in in the mornings. Lancelot gave up golf and other pursuits, finding himself content to sit in the pigeonnier in the afternoons reading and writing the occasional article on New Orlean's role in the Civil War. Lancelot had fallen into a rut that revolved around alcohol and the news. Upon learning of Margot's infidelity, however, Lancelot gave up alcohol and lost interest in the news. Lancelot wondered if he were strong enough to deal with his life, with the rut it had fallen into and the fool his wife was making of him. Lancelot then stops his story to discuss with Harry the girl in the room next door with whom he was trying to find a way to communicate.

Chapter 3 Analysis

As Lancelot continues to grow suspicious of his wife, the reader learns more about his life. Lancelot has become complacent, no longer caring passionately about anything, including his wife and children. Touching on the theme of neglect, the reader sees that Lancelot is aware that his youngest daughter is not happy in the company of her grandfather, Tex, but has chosen to do nothing about it. Lancelot claims that he did not care about his daughter's unhappiness, but this lack of concern existed long before he knew his daughter was not his own. This inability to care reflects the dullness of Lancelot's life, his inability to be passionate about anything, and perhaps giving his wife Margot a motive for infidelity. At the same time, Margot's infidelity has given Lancelot something to be passionate about, a reason to move out of the rut his life has become and to stop drinking. It is ironic that the same thing that has resulted in Margot's infidelity has broken with Lancelot's knowledge of that infidelity.

The mention of the gas well in the basement of Belle Isle is interesting because the reader already knows that the house is destroyed in a fire, suggesting that perhaps Tex has unwittingly given Lancelot the means by which to kill Margot. It is also a foreshadowing of how Lancelot creates the fire.

Finally, Lancelot has repeatedly mentioned the girl in the room next to his. This girl is silent and refuses to respond to Lancelot's attempts at communication by tapping on the wall. Who this girl is and what this relationship means is not something the reader knows right now, but seems to be of some importance to Lancelot. Perhaps this girl symbolizes his passion to begin living again.

This section contains 820 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
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