Chapter 31: The Guest of Honor
  • Mulvey’s reliability (285).
  • The ship itself is playing an active role in the plot (286).
  • POV switch inside the chapter.
  • Mention of race (289).
  • Crossing boundaries—physical and societal?
  • New forms (Q&A, etc).
  • When did Mulvey get the H carved into his chest? During his beating before boarding?
  • The food. The power to refuse food (the children), the pacing of Mulvey eating (305).
  • How does O’Connor kick up the suspense in this chapter?

Chapter 32: From “The Blight”
  • Another form: this one, “fragment of an abandoned novel”—yet based on the facts from Mangan’s notes. Accounts for the name changes (which aren’t that much different).
  • How many times is the physical body referred to in geographical terms?
  • We have a diagnosis here—why does this matter? What purpose does this serve in terms of the narrative?
  • Interesting use of touch in this chapter, especially considering “Queensgrove” and his aversion to touch (Mary Duane, etc. in real life).

Chapter 33: The Border
  • “Starboard near the bow” and watching the stars—for guidance?
  • Curious: Dixon and Mulvey, Mulvey making his accent more Irish than it was. Playing a character still?
  • Flashback to Dixon’s life in Mississippi: race, religion, class, socioeconomics.
  • Compare and contrast between Mississippi and Ireland—not just the content of these pages, but what’s the purpose? Why does O’Connor draw these parallels?
  • Ironic that it’s language that reveals Mulvey’s identity to Dixon.
  • Pay attention to the subtle ways that Mulvey’s speech changes the longer he talks to Dixon, before and after Dixon questions his identity—and where do we finally feel like we get Mulvey’s true voice?
  • Intrusion of the Latin?
  • What is the role of cold (and how does it appear in the text) in this chapter?
  • What are the realities of Merridith’s condition?
  • And the new information at the end of the chapter?

Chapter 34: The Doctor
  • Use of language here—the doctor’s language—with no translation for the reader (and no reason for it, given that they are the doctor’s notes for himself).
  • Development of Mary’s character?
  • Another chapter that ends with surprising information?

Chapter 35: The Warning Beacons
  • The ship considered as human.
  • How the captain’s voice has changed from his beginning journal entries.
  • The weather matching the plot?

Chapter 36: The Anchorage
  • How are the boundaries drawn (and destroyed) in this chapter?
  • Suspense: the small boat that inquires about Mulvey and Merridith’s health.
  • The readers knowing what the characters do not.

Chapter 37: The Murder
  • “It is not in the material, but the way it is composed” (361).
  • Merridith changing into peasant clothes?
  • Family, naming, identity

Chapter 38: The Discovery
  • Discovery of the body, moving the deceased bodies to a barge, going out further, and burial at sea.
  • Loss of the lifeboats.
  • The captain’s decision to leave the sea.

Chapter 39: From A Miscellany of the Ancient Songs of Ireland
  • Boston, 1904.
  • Role of music and memory.
  • Form of the song

  • Where are those intersections of horizontal and vertical planes of the narrative?
  • What do we know, given this epilogue? What mysteries are solved? Which are not?
  • Why give so much page time to Seamus Meadowes?
  • What constitutes a reliable narrator, then?
  • Bookending of the narrative, with Mary as a ghost at the end, with Pius as the Ghost at the beginning?
  • Mulvey murdered?
  • The disguise of the Majarajah.
  • What is revealed about Dixon’s race.
  • Contemporary sensibilities about Jonathan Merridith.
  • And the last is dated Easter Saturday, 1916.