Lancelot - Chapter 8 Summary & Analysis

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Lancelot continues with his story by reporting on the movies Elgin made for him. Elgin delivered the tapes and left Lancelot to watch them. One tape showed his daughter, Lucy, having sex with both Troy and Raine. Another showed Margot in bed with Janos. However, the quality of the tapes was poor and it was not completely clear who the actors were, but Lancelot felt as though he had his proof.

After watching the tapes, Lancelot made a list of things he needed to buy to complete his revenge. Before going to the hardware store, Lancelot went to see Tex and Siobhan. Lancelot convinced Tex to take Siobhan to Texas in order to avoid the hurricane. Lancelot then encounters Merlin, who was deeply afraid of the storm and decided to move on as well. Lancelot encouraged him to do so because Lancelot discovered he liked Merlin. Lancelot then went to the bank and removed seventy-five thousand dollars, telling the bank manager he was giving it to the Negro College Fund. Instead, Lancelot gave it to Elgin to complete his college career. Then Lancelot told Elgin to take his family and leave Belle Isle. Finally, Lancelot convinced Lucy to return to school to help calm the freshman girls left in the dorms.

The remaining guests, Raine, Troy, and Janos, were going to watch the storm blow in in the belvedere with Margot. Raine gave Lancelot a pill and it began to work as he spoke to Margot in the hallway. Once more Lancelot tried to convince Margot to go away with him, but again she refused. Lancelot went back to the pigeonnier where he fell asleep under the spell of the drug. When he woke, Lancelot thought he saw a woman sitting at his desk. At first she was a stranger, then she was his mother. It is at this point that Lancelot confesses he knew his mother was having an affair with a family friend when he was a child and that his father most likely knew about it as well. In fact, Lancelot believes the whole town knew, except for him.

Lancelot has a strong family history of chivalry, but his own son refused to go to Vietnam. Lancelot tells Harry that he has asked Anna to join him in his new world and that she has agreed. In fact, Anna has just inherited land in Virginia and has agreed to let Lancelot begin his new world there. Lancelot then goes into another speech about the immorality of modern women and how that will be different in his new world.

Lancelot returns to his story, describing how the woman at the desk simply disappeared. Lancelot took a knife and the things he had bought at the hardware store and went into the basement of the newly built section of the house. The gas well is there. Lancelot rigs a pipe to the well so it will take gas up into the bedrooms occupied by the movie people and Margot. Then Lancelot takes two oil lamps upstairs. First Lancelot stops in Raine's bedroom. Raine is there with Troy, but Troy is passed out on the bed. Raine flirts with Lancelot and they end up having sex on the bed beside Troy. When it is done, Lancelot lights the lamp, leaving the shade on it, and leaves the room.

Lancelot goes to Margot's room. It is dark and he cannot see well, but he believes he can see two bodies writhing on the sheets. Lancelot lights the lamp, leaving the shade off this time. Lancelot then lies on the bed and smoothers Margot with her lover's body. Janos convinces Lancelot to get up and they begin to fight. Lancelot gets the better of Janos and gets him in a head lock. Janos attempts a truce, but Lancelot pulls the knife from his pocket and slits Janos's throat. Janos knocks the knife away in his death throes. Lancelot then lies in the bed with Margot and they talk quietly until the gas reaches the lamp's flame and an explosion tosses Lancelot from the house. Lancelot returns to the house to find the knife.

Lancelot finds the proof he needs to prove to himself that Margot has been unfaithful to him. However, this proof is grainy and not conclusive. Not only this, but this evidence also shows that his daughter, Lucy, is having sex with two of the actors, a crime that should be just as outrageous as Margot's actions, but Lancelot does not even react to this realization. All Lancelot can see is Margot's actions, once again showing the reader how focused he was on Margot and how neglectful he was of reality. This adds to the overall sense that Lancelot is already insane when he learns of Margot's infidelity.

The reader begins to better understand why Lancelot has become so obsessed with Margot's infidelity when he admits that his mother cheated on his father throughout his childhood. These deceptions by both his parents coupled with his mother's insistence that they were an honorable family must have confused and traumatized the young boy Lancelot once was. Lancelot has clearly lost sight with reality at this point, between his realization of his mother's deceptions and his wife's deception, and he begins to see people who do not exist. It is interesting that the image Lancelot sees is female.

Lancelot kills the movie people and Margot but not before he first has sex with Raine. It is interesting again that Lancelot does not feel that he must be faithful to his marriage vows, but Margot should. This reflects on the chivalry of Lancelot's heritage, a chivalry that he feels has died. Lancelot finds Margot in bed with Janos, at least this is what he tells Harry, and Lancelot kills Janos with a knife before the gas can ignite the entire house. Lancelot is thrown free—another irony since everyone else was killed. This leads the reader to wonder if perhaps Lancelot was in the house at all when the fire began. Lancelot then went into the house, claiming he went inside to find the knife; however, the press reports that Lancelot went in in an attempt to save his wife. The reader begins to wonder if perhaps Lancelot is not responsible for these deaths at all, but that it was an accident caused by the hurricane. This possibility seems logical, except that Lancelot claims he found excuses to send everyone else out of the house before the storm. However, it is possible that Lancelot sent everyone away for the exact reasons he claimed and that he then fell asleep in the pigeonnier due to the drug Raine gave him and woke after the explosion. The reader might never know for sure, but it is clear that due to Lancelot's insanity, it is impossible to trust him as a reliable narrator.

This section contains 1,147 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
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