In the Skin of a Lion

Remorse Question

Why does Patrick set fire to the Muskoka Hotel in Chapter 2 Book 2 Remorse? I mean the rich didnt kill Alice, so why set fire and kill the rich?

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Through the fire and explosions  we are fully inside Patrick’s sensory mind, not his thoughts, nor the narrator’s thoughts. The fact that what becomes important to Patrick in the Garden of the Blind is “not sound but smell,” indicates that Patrick is opening up a new way of being and experiencing the world. The quiet garden full of beautiful flowers and plants, the sweet acceptance of Elizabeth, who laughs away his revelation to her that he is a criminal, all provide a soothing contrast to the violent event Patrick just caused and lived through. We know he did it to avenge Alice’s death, for he keeps remembering Alice’s hatred of wealth and her feeling of unfairness of the rich compared to the poor. He commits this crime even though it seems he will be caught. He is calm when he motions for the cook to be quiet on the Cherokee steamer, and he takes the time to let his clothes dry and enjoy the food he eats, indicating that he is fully willing to endure the consequences of his actions, come what may.