Study Guide

Gone Girl Chapter 38

By Gillian Flynn

Chapter 38

Amy Elliott Dunne—Eight Days Gone

  • Amy (Nancy? Lydia?) has been hanging out a lot with Greta and Jeff, doing stuff you can only do in a decrepit cabin complex in the mountains, like having bumper boat races out on the lake and playing mini golf on the complex's barely functional course. She seems to be having fun with this, or maybe it just relieves her boredom from being holed up watching multiple episodes of Ellen Abbott.
  • In reality though, Amy's starting to get nervous. She's recently made a huge change to her plot: She's decided not to kill herself, because it's not fair that she has to die for Nick's stupidity. The problem with this though, is that she's spending money too fast, and if she's going to stay alive, she'll need more.
  • Amy talks to Dorothy about this, who advises her to get a job around the complex, like cleaning or babysitting. This is a whole new world for Amy, whose parents never taught her how to budget money and who's never had to live without the support of either their money or Nick's. She's got enough money for now, but eventually, this is going to create problems.
  • After a busy afternoon of playing Broken Obstacle Mini Golf, Amy really just wants to go back to her cabin and crash while watching 1970s and 1980s television reruns, and of course, Ellen Abbott. Just when she's about to settle in for the evening though, Greta and Jeff show up again. She turns off the television—Amy suspects that her new friends may be picking up on her true identity and doesn't want to appear too interested in the show.
  • Greta and Jeff's visit makes her really uncomfortable. For one thing, they're blocking the bedside table where she hides her money belt stuffed with her thousands of dollars of cash, and for another, Greta seems intent on getting her to watch Ellen. Amy starts to feel really stupid for making friends when she's supposed to be dead. Originally she thought she could control them the way she controls everyone else, but that doesn't seem to be happening.
  • Amy tells Greta and Jeff that she doesn't feel well and politely asks them to leave. When they're gone, she listens to Ellen Abbott from Greta's cabin and thinks about how dangerous getting involved with these people was. If her secret ever got out, Amy would go from being the revered, adored murdered darling to the most hated woman in America. She's done some research on the penalties for faking your own death or framing your spouse, but can't find anything definite—regardless, she can't allow herself to be caught.
  • A few hours later, Jeff shows up and says Dorothy told him Amy was looking for work; he invites her to go on a job with him for a couple of hours to earn fifty bucks. Amy doesn't want to, but she's too desperate to say no.
  • Here is where all Jeff's fish come from: He smuggles them from the water below a restaurant called Catfish Carl's. The catfish tend to hang out there because there's a machine on the deck overhead where customers can pay money to feed the fish. Jeff steals the fish, kills them, puts them on ice, and then resells them to suckers around the cabin complex.
  • Amy's job is to throw dry cat food in the water, then scoop up the catfish in a giant net when they come after it. Jeff tells her she should probably take off her dress to do this, but Amy refuses—after all, she does have thousands of dollars in cash in the money belt hidden under it. Jeff seems kind of ticked by this.
  • Still though, she gets in the water and does her job. She then watches in horror as Jeff does his: grabbing the fish one by one and bashing their heads in until blood explodes all over the dock. He tells her he does this because he can't stand to see them suffer.
  • Again Jeff instructs Amy to get in the water, this time to rinse the fish gunk off. She refuses, but he makes it clear she's not getting in his car unless she does. Amy obliges, carefully folding her dress around the money belt, then jumps in. She goes underwater, and when she comes up, she sees Jeff making a mad dash for the dock. She has to swim super fast to beat him there. Something smell fishy to you, Shmoopsters?

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