The Silent Patient
Alex Michaelides

by

Karim Chandra

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Part 3
Summary

The main aspect of this part revolves around Alicia’s diary, which reveals that she was being watched. In her writing, she describes a man who hides behind a tree and watches their house from the other side of the road. This makes her feel frightened and concerned for her personal safety. Alicia observes the man several other times, and decides to inform Gabriel about it, albeit unsuccessfully as he sounds busy with work. But upon returning home, Alicia tells him about the man and he shows his concern. Gabriel believes the prying man could be Jean-Felix, but Alicia dismisses his theory. Alicia similarly informs her neighbor, Barbie Hellman, and advises her to talk to her husband about her fears. Disappointedly, Gabriel assumes that Alicia is simply fantasizing about the apparition of the man.

The diary also describes the “Alcestis” play that Jean-Felix and Alicia attend. Although Alicia intends to use the play to tender her farewell to her long-term colleague, Jean-Felix, he brings up some of their past experiences in a bid to nudge Alicia from her intentions. Despite being sickened by this, she still enjoys the play — because she feels like the female heroine has experienced a similar injustice to that of hers. At the end of the play, Jean-Felix gives her a mysterious warning and walks away abruptly: “You’re way too trusting. The people around you … you trust them. Don’t. Don’t trust them” (Michaelides, 178).

When Alicia insists that she is being watched, Gabriel advised her to go see Dr. West. During the visit, Alicia decides to act deceptively and fools both the doctor and Gabriel that she is keen on following her medication. She leads them into thinking that her theories of the prying man are a phantom of her thoughts. Alicia begins to exhibit signs of paranoia and hides her diary in the floorboard because it contains record of the prying stranger. She also feels abandoned since she lacks the confidence to share her fears with anyone else, and stays in the house for three days without going outside. Gabriel, however, manages to convinces her to go out on a dinner with Max and Tanya. At the restaurant, Alicia confronts Max while assuming that he is the one who has been watching their house; Max manages to disprove Alicia’s allegations. Thrilling suspense is created by the emphasis of the mystery of the prying man. The third part of the novel ends with Alicia hearing somebody breaking into the house. She assumes that the prying stranger has gotten into her house. However, Gabriel does not find any intruder.

Analysis

The fear of being pried on by a stranger drives Alicia to the edge. Although she is constantly anxious and terrified, she chooses to act as though everything is normal. From her paranoid behavior and secrecy, it is evident that she exhibits similar mannerisms to Theo. The fear of the prying man, for instance, makes her develop agoraphobic tendencies. Theo also grows paranoid when he suspects that his wife is cheating on him. Moreover, both Theo and Alicia choose to hide their concerns from their spouses — parallelism stylistics used by the author to show how both characters lie to their spouses because they are afraid of being left alone.

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