Study Guide

The Displaced Person Section 3

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Section 3

  • The priest and Mrs. McIntyre are sitting on her porch.
  • He's been telling her about "Purgatory," but she wants to talk about firing Mr. Guizac.
  • She finally blurts out that Mr. Guizac isn't working out, and doesn't "fit in" (3.4).
  • Father Flynn pauses.
  • He is about eighty years old and the only priest Mrs. McIntyre has ever known.
  • She met him when she went to find out how she could get a Displaced Person.
  • Now he was trying to use that relationship to convert her.
  • The priest tells her that Mr. Guizac will eventually "fit in," and then he asks about the peacock (3.6).
  • When Father Flynn spies the bird, it makes him happy.
  • She explains that while she thinks Mr. Guizac is a good worker, her other workers don't like him. Furthermore, he seems ungrateful.
  • The priest begins to make an exit, telling her that he knows she won't kick the Guizacs out over small matters.
  • She says that she didn't make things this way. It isn't her fault.
  • The priest notices the peacock, raising and spreading his tail.
  • Awed, he says "Christ will come like that!" (3.12).
  • Mrs. Guizac is embarrassed. She doesn't like to talk about Jesus they way her mother didn't like to talk about sex.
  • Mrs. McIntyre doesn't think too highly of Father Flynn, and tells him that Mr. Guizac isn't her responsibility
  • Watching the peacock, the priest says, "The Transfiguration." (The Transfiguration is said to be the moment when Christ, upon a mountain top, was Transfigured, or transformed into a being giving off divine light, like the sun.)
  • Not understanding the allusion, Mrs. McIntyre says that Mr. Guizac "didn't have to come here" (3.14).
  • Father Flynn tells her that "he [Mr. Guizac and/or Christ] "came to redeem us."
  • Then he leaves her.
  • A few weeks later Mr. Shortley comes back to the farm.
  • When she sees his car, Mrs. McIntyre realizes she has been missing Mrs. Shortley and their conversations.
  • She asks Mr. Shortley where she is, he tells her that she's dead, that she had a stroke on the day they left. (See the end of Section 1.)
  • Mr. Shortley claims she was probably killed by Mr. Guizac, whom Mrs. Shortley believed was the devil.
  • Mrs. McIntyre agrees to rehire Mr. Shortley (even though she really only wants Mrs. Shortley) and to give Mr. Guizac a month's notice, after which Mr. Shortley could be the dairyman again.
  • Astor and Sulk are happy to be again under the direction of Mr. Shortley, who wasn't as demanding as Mr. Guizac.
  • Mrs. McIntyre thinks that without Mrs. Shortley, Mr. Shortley is an even lazier worker than he was before.
  • By contrast, Mr. Guizac seems to be working harder and more efficiently than ever.
  • Still, Mrs. McIntyre wants to see him gone.
  • Before she fires him she wants to explain to the priest that her "moral obligation" is not to people like the Guizacs but to people like Mr. Shortley, who fought for the US in World War I (1.28).
  • But, the priest hasn't been around, so she keeps putting off the firing.
  • Mr. Shortley isn't happy about this and thinks she's stalling out of a sense of responsibility for Mr. Guizac.
  • The priest has been purposely avoiding the place, but now that he sees Mr. Guizac still working, he decides to come back, to continue teaching Mrs. McIntyre on religious matters.
  • While he is doing so, Mrs. McIntyre gets irritated.
  • For the first time, calls the priest by his name, Father Flynn.
  • She explains that she intends to fire Mr. Guizac, and that she does not have a responsibility. She also tells him how poor she is, and how bad all the workers she's had are.
  • When the priest leaves, she doesn't feel as satisfied as she would have liked to, but nonetheless resolves to give Mr. Guizac notice.
  • She tells Mr. Shortley but he doesn't believe it.
  • Mrs. Shortley was the only woman who was true to her word.
  • He thinks that Mrs. McIntyre is being controlled by the priest in some dark way, and pressures her continually to fire Mr. Guizac.
  • She intends to, but something holds her back.
  • At night, she can't sleep for dreaming of him and of the priest talking to her about concentration camps.
  • After one such dream she decides to fire the man that morning.
  • She goes to him and tells him that she has bills to pay, but somehow can't bring herself to actually tell him to go.
  • Mr. Shortley is not pleased and from then on tells everyone in town how he's being pushed out in favor of foreigners.
  • Soon, word of this gets back to Mrs. McIntyre. Apparently the town disapproves of her conduct and feels she has a "moral obligation" to fire Mr. Guizac.
  • The pressure gets to her, and on a chilly Saturday morning she goes over to where Mr. Guizac is working on the small tractor.
  • Sulk was helping Mr. Guizac, and Mr. Shortley was preparing to take the larger tractor out.
  • Mrs. McIntyre wants them to leave so she can do the firing without an audience.
  • Mr. Guizac is under the small tractor, and she can see his rubber boots sticking out.
  • Mr. Shortley is on the big tractor and seems to be headed in the direction of the smaller one.
  • He puts on the breaks and jumps off.
  • Mrs. McIntyre hears the break slip on the big tractor, and sees Sulk move away from the small one.
  • The big tractor is moving toward the small one.
  • She was about to yell out to Mr. Guizac, but is silent.
  • The big tractor rolls over Mr. Guizac, breaking his back.
  • Mrs. McIntyre faints.
  • Later she sees Mr. Guizac's family and the priest bent over Mr. Guizac as he is being carried to the ambulance.
  • Mr. Shortley leaves that night, and Sulk soon follows.
  • Only Astor remains and he can't work the place himself.
  • Mrs. McIntyre has a nervous collapse and is hospitalized.
  • When she sees she won't be able to run the farm anymore she auctions her cows and decides to retire on her savings.
  • Her only company is a black woman who takes care of her.
  • She soon loses her sight and her voice.
  • The only person who visits her is Father Flynn.
  • He feeds breadcrumbs to the peacocks and then sits by her bed, and continues providing her with a religious education.

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