51 pages 1 hour read

Miriam Toews

Women Talking

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2018

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Part 4Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 4: “June 7: Minutes of the Women Talking”

Part 4 Summary

August and the women, minus Mariche and Autje, are back in the loft before dawn. The women are anxious. They have told the other women of the colony their plans to leave that evening and are concerned the “Do Nothing” women will betray them. They keep busy chatting and recounting dreams as they wait for Mariche and Autje to arrive, but the unspoken fear that Klaas has found out their plans hangs over the loft. The discussion begins to drift toward subjects from the day before—e.g., whether heaven is real.

Eventually Mariche and Autje arrive. As Autje helps her mother climb the ladder, it is clear they are both injured—Mariche more severely than Autje. Mariche assures the women that Klaas is gone—“Would I be here now if he wasn’t?” (150)—and they begin to enact their plans. Nothing is said about the injuries.

Agata takes control of the meeting by saying that while the day before was for talking, this day is for action, noting that the men will return the following day. The women reaffirm their decision to leave by outlining their wants: to ensure their children’s safety, to be steadfast in their faith, and to think.