Lancelot - Study Guide Chapter 4 Summary & Analysis

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Chapter 4 Summary

Lancelot met Margot when she was a belle for the Azalea Festival. Belle Isle was chosen to be on the Azalea Trail and Margot was a belle who welcomed tourists at the door. The night this took place was rainy and Margot was drenched. Lancelot invited her into the pigeonnier to dry off and they found themselves sharing a bottle of whiskey. They lie on a mattress together and talked. Lancelot was drawn in not so much by her beauty as by her overwhelming sexuality. As they spoke, they learned a great deal about each other. Margot also showed an interest in Belle Isle, suggesting renovations Lancelot could do to the pigeonnier to turn it into an apartment.

The memory of meeting Margot leads Lancelot to recall his first meeting with Lucy Cobb, his first wife. The meeting was not as sexually charged, but Lancelot found himself in love just the same. Lucy was playing tennis in North Carolina, at a venue that left Lancelot feeling out of place. Lancelot was reluctant to let his feelings be known, so Lucy had to make the first move. Lancelot tells Harry that his marriage to Lucy was a normal one and that her death must have been tragic, but to him it was simply curious how someone could grow ill and die so quickly.

Lancelot tells Harry that the girl in the room next door answered one of his knocks with one of her own. Lancelot says the girl next door reminds him of Lucy, his virgin bride. Lancelot has learned that the girl next door is in the hospital because she was brutally raped by three men. Lancelot explains that despite this brutal sexual assault, the girl is still like his virginal Lucy because somehow the brutality of her experience has returned her to a more innocent place.

Lancelot then recalls how he waited up for Margot to return from watching the rushes on the night he learned of her infidelity, but she never did. Lancelot went to breakfast at the normal time and found Margot unapologetic. In fact, Margot most likely was not aware that Lancelot knew she did not return until morning because he has been banished to the pigeonnier to make room for the guests. Lancelot went to the office as usual that day and returned at lunch. Lancelot then called for Elgin. Elgin would have done anything for Lancelot because he believed Lancelot had saved his family from a vengeful Grand Kleagle and helped him get a scholarship to MIT. In truth, the Grand Kleagle was a friend of Lancelot's from school with whom he had a civilized chat. Lancelot asked Elgin to go to the Holiday Inn and watch all the rooms occupied by the movie people, claiming that he was afraid Lucy was doing drugs. After figuring out a position from which he could watch all the rooms, Elgin agreed.

Chapter 4 Analysis

Lancelot recalls how he met each of his wives and compares them to one another. Lancelot makes it clear that his attraction to Margot was sex from the very beginning, but his attraction to his first wife, Lucy, was something deeper. Lucy was a virgin and Lancelot valued this in her. Margot was not and her sexual knowledge made their lives together exciting. However, as Lancelot compares the girl in the room next to his own with Lucy, it becomes clear to the reader that he values virginal moralities more than Margot's sexual knowledge. In fact, Lancelot comes close to calling Margot a woman with loose morals while Lucy and the girl in the next room were pure, innocent.

Lancelot begins unveiling the plan he put into place as he describes to Harry how he had Elgin go to the hotel to watch his wife and the movie people. Margot and her friends go to the Holiday Inn each night to watch the day's rushes, and Margot often does not return home until late, if at all. This suggests to Lancelot that they are doing more than watching the day's rushes, making him think that an affair is still going on under his very nose. Lancelot wants proof, and he is using a family servant to get it, clearly unable or unwilling to do it himself. This speaks to Lancelot's character, suggesting he is not the chivalrous man his family history and his name might suggest.

This section contains 738 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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