Study Guide

A Great and Terrible Beauty Chapter 9

By Libba Bray

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Chapter 9

  • Gemma wakes to a beautiful morning and wants to get revenge for Felicity's trick.
  • Up already, Ann is there and tells her she wiped up the mud she tracked in—when asked, Gemma lies and says she wandered about alone because she couldn't sleep.
  • Gemma asks for Ann's help with tightening her corset, and Ann spots a smudge on her neck. Oops.
  • By chance, Gemma sees that Ann's arms are covered in cuts, which she calls an accident (yeah, right)—and then, to change the subject, Ann says she hopes there are strawberries for breakfast and mentions that she read they're good for your skin. 
  • On her way to the dining hall, Gemma leaves something for Felicity in revenge, eats a cold breakfast, and runs off to her first French class.
  • She finds the snobby quartette is already in class, and they stop her when she tries to find a seat, asking about her night. She plays it off pretty cool and tells Felicity that she left the bottle of alcohol on her seat in the great hall for her. Ha. The clique freaks out.
  • Ann asks what they were talking to Gemma about and when she blows that question off too, Ann guesses that they locked her in the chapel like they always do to new girls.
  • As class begins, Gemma realizes that she doesn't know squat about French, but everyone else does.
  • After class, her teacher, Mademoiselle LeFarge, lets her know that she either needs to learn French fast or get bumped down into a lower class with young girls.
  • Gemma notices that Ann sings well.
  • The rest of her week is routine, and she is merely ignored by the mean girls—but then she gets a note from Kartik that scares her into trying to block out visions.
  • Miss Moore's art class is Gemma's favorite because the girls are expected to think and form opinions about art.
  • In one class, the girls read Tennyson's "The Lady of Shalott" and look at a picture drawn about the poem. (For more about this poem, check out what we have to say about the epigraph in the "Analysis" section.)
  • Miss Moore tries to get the girls to find some meaning or feeling from the drawing, but it is hard for them—Ann thinks that no matter what, the Lady of Shalott will die because no one will let her win, but Gemma can't think of anything to say and Pippa thinks it is romantic to die for love.
  • During this conversation, Gemma begins feeling tingling again but pushes away the vision.
  • Then Miss Moore announces that she will take them to see some caves that have old pictures drawn on the walls. 
  • Everyone is happy about this but Gemma, who feels nervous about going back to the cave where she found Mary's diary.
  • After class, Gemma runs to her room to get the diary and bumps into Brigid, who scolds her and reacts oddly to her green eyes.

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