Literature Study GuidesWolf HallPart 6 Chapter 3 Summary

Wolf Hall | Study Guide

Hilary Mantel

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Wolf Hall | Part 6, Chapter 3 : To Wolf Hall, July 1535 | Summary

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Summary

Thomas More's trial is a quick and dramatic affair. More insults the Solicitor General, Richard Riche, and maintains such a contemptuous attitude that the jury finds him guilty in just a quarter of an hour. More is beheaded, and his severed head is displayed on London Bridge.

Cromwell reviews the plans for a trip across England, with Anne, the king, and their attendants. Everyone still hopes Anne will become pregnant again—this time with a son she can carry to term. As part of the trip, Cromwell schedules a five-day visit to Wolf Hall, home of the Seymours.

Analysis

The novel ends as Thomas More, a formidable force in the early part of the novel, is executed. There is a finality to this—More's story is at an end. Cromwell does not attend the execution. Rather, he goes over his plans for the king's travels. The juxtaposition of Cromwell's attention to the future while More fades into the past—into history—is a fitting final image for the practical and forward-thinking Cromwell.

Throughout the novel Mantel's voice seems to bubble up through Cromwell's consciousness, and in the final pages of the book he seems to speak for her as he considers the writing process that spawned this novel: "It's the living that turn and chase the dead ... we edit their writings, we rewrite their lives."

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