Study Guide

You Should Have Known Chapter Four: Fatally Softhearted

By Jean Hanff Korelitz

Chapter Four: Fatally Softhearted

In this edition of the book, Chapter 4 is pages 69-78.

  • It's the evening of the ritzy fundraiser auction. Grace is stationed by the check-in table. 
  • She's reminiscing about a time when the school fundraisers were not so ritzy but were a little more fun. 
  • She thinks Miguel Alves attends Rearden on scholarship (which is a good thing, she has to remind herself) like the students they're raising money for. 
  • Grace's clip-on earrings start to hurt—they were a gift from her father Frederich to her mother Marjorie.
    • She remembers how her dad always chose flashy jewelry even though her mom was very elegant.
    • She thinks it's sweet that her dad tried so hard to show his love—and equally sweet for her mom to pretend to like them. 
  • Grace takes the earrings off. 
  • Only five people are no-shows—two couples Grace doesn't know...and Jonathan, whose eight-year-old patient died two days ago, and he has to pay a shiva call to her family. 
  • Grace remembers discussing the fundraiser with Jonathan, who asked if she couldn't just leave the party planning to women with more time on their hands. 
  • But Grace has to participate in something with the school; they aren't wealthy enough to compensate for her non-participation. 
  • They've apparently discussed this many times. 
  • Grace mentally prepares a response for anyone who asks where Jonathan is, remembering how hard it has been for them to make friends with people who understand his career.  
  • Grace thinks about their life and considers her husband "fatally softhearted" (4.77), unable to separate his emotionally draining work from the rest of his life.  
  • She both admires him for and worries about his desire to join an unfair fight against cancer.

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