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Questions (spoilers)


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Showing 1-16 of 16 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 24, 2009 5:17:10 PM PST
So I really loved this book and thought the ending was fantastic. I can't get this book out of my head and now I'm on pins and needles waiting for the movie. But just a few questions I had came up and I was wondering what others who read the book thought.

1. Teddy and Chuck are interviewing patients at the hospital. Teddy asks each if they know Andrew Laeddis and they all say no, even though that is Teddy himself and he has been a patient for two years. I know everyone was in on it, but how can you make insane people understand to say "no I don't know who that is" when asked about that?

2. Along the same lines, why did the one patient (I think her name was Bridget) writes in Teddy's notebook to "run"?

3. When Teddy is looking at his gun given to him by Cawley, the intials on it are "ED". Shouldn't they be AL?

3. What do you make of the last few pages? Teddy understands who is and what he did, but Cawley said they had the same breakthrough months back and he regressed. He says he won't regress, yet at the end he is back to being Teddy, thinks Chuck is there and says something like "you think they're onto us?" Maybe I'm overthinking it but this threw me off!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 9, 2009 12:49:07 PM PST
Donna R says:
These answers are my opinion only:
1. Everyone at the hospital was "coached" for a long time - the prisoner (can't remember his name) who he had previously beat up said "This is all for you."
2. She empathized with his plight - the murder of his wife was somewhat "justifiable" - he was a good man and she realized that if this play-acting experiment didn't pan out, he was to be lobotomized.
3. He was given the gun at the hospital where he placed his initials on it based on the persona he had created.
4. The last few pages are actually a second twist. Basically, (even based on your statement above), he had "regressed" again and the book ends with them coming towards him with a straitjacket in order to subdue him for a lobotomy. The reason I call it a second twist is that you think he has turned the corner at the end of the previous chapter, but has reverted into the defensive shell of Teddy again.

Posted on Dec 21, 2009 2:21:19 PM PST
C. M. Long says:
Along these lines...why does Trey tell him how to escape? (to hide in the ferry or to wait for that other supply ship) Is it because he liked Teddy/Andrew and didn't want him to get the lobotomy?

Posted on Jan 10, 2010 3:25:08 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 10, 2010 3:32:48 PM PST
Kristina - I had the same problem. All told there are, I think, ~200 people on the island. (66 patients besides Teddy, and at some point he estimates ~2 staff for each patient.) How do you get 200 people in on the act? Especially when 1/3rd of them are delusional and psychotic. I agree with Chris that they would have to be "coached" - but how can you guarantee that the patients will "stay in character"?

C.M. - yes, Trey is another issue. As Cawley says in a later chapter, the job of everyone on the island is to keep Teddy *off* the ferry; so is Trey "breaking character" with Andrew or is he trying to help Teddy?

Don't forget the escaped patient that Teddy meets in the cave. Was she also coached? An actor? Was she a real patient who had been coached, and just happened to escape her cell, but stayed in character none-the-less?

I think at the end of the book, we as readers (who see and know only what Teddy sees and knows), are supposed to see both versions of the story.

Posted on Jan 13, 2010 4:49:50 AM PST
I think that Trey and the patient that told him to run were trying to help Andrew/Teddy because they knew what would happen to him if the play experiment didn't work. At the end, I believe he does regress back to Teddy because, come on, what's a safer, easier to deal with reality? Andrew's? Where he killed his wife because she was crazy and killed their three kids and he blames himself for it? Or Teddy, who was the sympathetic widower?

The escaped patient in the cave wasn't there! Rachel Solando didn't exist and Teddy made up that whole conversation!

Posted on Jan 24, 2010 7:44:40 PM PST
Z. Sadler says:
I don't think there was any patient coaching going on. I don't think anyone had any intentions other than to play the characters as Teddy imagined them. Remember, Cawley says at the end: "This was a pageant, Andrew. A play. You wrote it, we helped stage it." In Teddy's delusion that he communicated in detail over his 2 years at the prison, most everyone was against him. But you have to imagine in his mind several would try to help him. Trey was one of those, so was the cave Rachel. They simply played their parts.

It doesn't contradict the story to believe everyone Teddy comes in communication with was acting --- even the patients he interviews --- I don't think they were patients at all. We have no indication he was just mingling with any of the patients he wanted to. On the contrary, until the hurricane when Cawley's plans go a little haywire and he has a few run-ins at Ward C, it seems his interactions are setup by doctors.

Posted on Feb 22, 2010 1:17:36 PM PST
N. Loftis says:
What is the law of 4?

Posted on Feb 25, 2010 11:30:38 AM PST
Kathy says:
When did the "play" start? Was he ever actually on the ferry coming to Shutter Island with his Dr./partner at all?

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 25, 2010 4:26:55 PM PST
My understanding of the patient that Teddy meets in the cave is that she is Teddy's hallucination.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 28, 2010 7:57:51 PM PST
B. McDowell says:
I have a different take on the ending. I think he was faking the regression in order to get the lobotomy so he would "die a good man" on his own terms, fearing he could not live with indirectly killing his children and would regress eventually. He wanted to "die" (get lobotomized) on his own terms. It was a form of suicide.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 2, 2010 8:34:56 PM PST
SandyCB says:
The four people involved -- Andrew and Rachel and their alternate reality versions of Teddy and Dolores.

Posted on Mar 14, 2010 4:41:36 PM PDT
" have a different take on the ending. I think he was faking the regression in order to get the lobotomy so he would "die a good man" on his own terms, fearing he could not live with indirectly killing his children and would regress eventually. He wanted to "die" (get lobotomized) on his own terms. It was a form of suicide. "

Very interesting point BM....Cawley did mention that suicide was not a matter of 'if' but 'when."

Posted on Jun 11, 2010 11:48:52 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 11, 2010 11:49:14 AM PDT
So the room where "Teddy" found the note about "law of 4" and "who is 67?" was actually his own room at the hospital since Rachel didn't actually exist? If Teddy (Andrew) wrote the note, why would he refer to the four characters involved in his alternative reality?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2010 11:58:20 AM PDT
KAREN SHAW says:
I thin you are the only person so far that I agree with. Karen

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 25, 2010 2:04:51 PM PDT
Are you really B.McDowell or Steven M. Mabry?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 25, 2010 9:55:18 PM PDT
Steven M. Mabry quoting B.Mcdowell.
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Discussion in:  Shutter Island forum
Participants:  15
Total posts:  16
Initial post:  Nov 24, 2009
Latest post:  Jul 25, 2010

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Shutter Island
Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane (Paperback - April 15, 2003)
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