It's now January, a week before Esther's exit interview, which will determine whether she's ready to be discharged. Dr. Nolan prepares her for life after the asylum. Back at school, still on Philomena Guinea's scholarship, Esther would have to face her peers' sometimes unfriendly attention.
Esther receives a visit from Buddy. Esther digs his car out of the snow because Buddy so recently had tuberculosis.
Their visit is friendly, even comical when Buddy asks Esther whether something in him drives women to go "crazy," like Esther and Joan. Esther laughs.
Later, Esther gives Irwin a call asking him to pay her emergency room bill. He agrees, and asks if he can see her again. Esther rejects him.
Esther then attends Joan's funeral. She recognizes some of her friends from high school and college, as well as DeeDee and Nurse Kennedy from the asylum.
It is now the day of the exit interview. The board room door opens, and Esther sees all of the doctors and nurses prepared to examine her. The novel closes as Esther steps into the room.