Summary: Chapter 51

Elaine’s art history class covers the Medieval and Renaissance periods, which include a lot of paintings of the Virgin Mary. The girls find the depictions of breast-feeding uncomfortable and swear that they will bottle-feed. Elaine explains that breast-feeding was a way to portray the Virgin Mary as humble because she didn’t use a wet nurse. She speculates about baby Jesus’s bodily functions, which disgusts the other girls.

Elaine suspects Susie’s having an affair with Mr. Hrbik. In Elaine’s mind, Mr. Hrbik has fallen in love with Susie, whom Elaine believes is merely toying with him. When Susie realizes everyone knows about the affair, she stops trying to hide it. She tells everyone what she knows about Mr. Hrbik, whom she now calls Josef. Marjorie and Babs encourage Susie’s romance, but the boys in the class treat her rudely. Elaine decides she must rescue Mr. Hrbik from Susie.

Summary: Chapter 52

Elaine still lives in her parents’ house in order to save money, but she moves into the cellar to avoid sleeping in her childhood room. 

Her father has been upset because Mr. Banerji has returned to India because the University would not promote him. He feels that scientists should be beyond human prejudice.

Stephen gets arrested in California for accidentally trespassing into a military testing zone while chasing butterflies. Fortunately, the graduate program he’s attending bails him out. In his letters to Elaine, Stephen doesn’t mention his arrest. Instead, he mocks the other students at his school, and ponders the nature of the universe. 

Elaine realizes that what she once saw as bravery in Stephen may actually be naivety. Stephen thinks that just because he’s honest, he can act with no consequence.