Study Guide

Me Before You Disappointment

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"I don't do anything, Miss Clark. I can't do anything anymore but sit. I just about exist." (3.122)

Will has trouble adapting to his spinal injury because it removes his ability to do the things he once enjoyed. Imagine if you could never do any of your favorite hobbies ever again. That'd be rough.

"He's not going to walk again, Louisa. That only happens in Hollywood movies." (5.150)

Another big contributor to Will's sense of disappointment is his complete lack of hope for recovery. Hope can be a powerful thing, and Will doesn't have that luxury.

"Everyone does. God's little joke." (6.128-129)

We get the sense that Will might be happier if he had been injured during an extreme sport exploit, but he has to contend with the fact that he's been paralyzed due to pure random chance.

I was so furious, you see, that all around me were things that could move and bend and grow and produce, and my son [...] was just this thing. (8.55)

Camilla Traynor is devastated by her son's injury, not just because of its profound effect on her life as his caretaker, but because she's forced to see all of his hopes and dreams for the future squashed. That's an unimaginable thing for any parent to go through.

I couldn't talk to him. I found it difficult even to meet his eye. It was like finding out your boyfriend had been unfaithful. (9.22)

On the flipside, Lou is incredibly disappointed when she learns of Will's plan to commit assisted suicide at Dignitas. Why has she been coming in and taking care of him? Why has she been growing emotionally attached to him? It's a hard thing to wrap her mind around.

"You decided what you thought you'd like me to do, and you went ahead and did it. You did what everyone else does. You decided for me." (11.185)

Will struggles with his lost sense of independence, as we see here in the aftermath of Lou's ill-advised trip to the horse races. It's bad enough that he's not allowed to do the things he loves anymore, but he also has to contend with others' belief that he can't make his own decisions anymore.

It was Will's accident that had curtailed our plans for a life together, after all. (21.37)

Will's injury has a wide range of unexpected effects. For example, it prevents his father from marrying his mistress and leaving the family. Might not be all bad, actually?

"There have been times [...] when his defenses are down and it's all a bit raw, he literally can't bear the thought of never doing it again. He can't bear it." (22.105)

Will puts on a strong front when he's around Lou, but in his darkest moments he's devastated by the memory of all of the things he'll never be able to do again—things he took for granted before the accident. Ultimately, it's this pain that leads him to choose assisted suicide.

"I can't be the man I want to be with you [...] This kiss becomes...another reminder of what I am not." (23.133)

Although Will is clearly in love with Lou, physical intimacy only heightens his feeling of disappointment. It's a brutal catch-22: he's enriched by their relationship but unable to enjoy it without feeling a great deal of inner pain.

"It's not enough for me. This—my world—even with you in it." (23.155)

This is a terrible thing for Lou to hear: her love is not enough to keep Will from wanting to end his life. It's a brutal disappointment, especially coming so soon after the closest moment the two ever shared.

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