Mary must sit through a trial, which would determine whether or not she is going to be allowed to leave the island of North Brother. While she hopes and waits, each doctor seems to have their own theory, their own ideas of whether or not she is dangerous. But as time drags on, Mary is determined to win her freedom, and get off the island. When the verdict from the judge is returned, and she is told she has to return to the island for the time being, she is upset. She is tired of being used as an experiment. Doctors, such as Dr. Soper are using her to make a name for themselves. No one seems to care that she is a human being, someone with feelings. The surgery that they had tried to force on her, to get her gallbladder removed, has been determined to be unnecessary. The doctors, by their own admissions are not sure which part of the body the typhoid germs hide in, and why sometimes the samples come back negative, and why sometimes they are positive. With a new director for the Department of Health soon to be installed, Mary gets her first real glimmer of hope. The new director is sympathetic to her case, and has determined that she should not be held, especially when there are many others that are roaming the streets with the same issues – they have never been sick, but they carry the typhoid strain.
While she awaits news on the island, she learns that her boyfriend is already seeing another woman and has become engaged to be married. It seems to Mary that while her life has been on hold, and everything around her micromanaged, everyone else seems to have forgotten her and moved on with their lives. While she made friends with the gardener on the island, she is ready to move off and get her life started again on the outside. She is being pressured to promise that she will never cook again, something that she loves and that she is good at. Mary will do anything to get off the island, but will she uphold her end of the bargain??
This week we are reading Chapters 7-13
- Why are the doctors so divided on what to do with her?
- Mary is anxious to get off the island. Do you think you would have held up as well in her shoes?
- John has been a good friend to Mary while on the island. Do you think there is the potential to be more there?