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Free Study Guide-The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde-Free BookNotes
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CHAPTER 5

Summary

Sibyl Vane is exclaiming to her mother about how much in love she is with her Prince Charming, as she calls Dorian Gray, not knowing yet what his name is. Her mother warns her that she must keep her focus on acting since they owe Mr. Isaacs fifty pounds. Sibyl is impatient with her mother and tries to get her mother to remember when she was young and in love with Sibylís father. Her mother looks pained and Sibyl apologizes for bringing up a painful subject.

Her brother Jim comes in. Itís his last night on shore. He is booked as a sailor on a ship headed for Australia. When Sibyl leaves the room, he asks his mother about the gentleman he has heard has been coming to the theater to see Sibyl every night. His mother tells him the man is wealthy and it might be a good thing for Sibyl. Jim is not convinced.

When Sibyl comes back, she and Jim go for a walk in the park together. While there, Jim questions her about the man who has been calling on her. She only says how much she is in love with the man and how she is sure heís trustworthy. Jim says that if he comes back and finds that the man has hurt her, heíll kill the man. They walk on and return home after a while.


Alone again with his mother, Jim asks her if she was married to his father. She has been feeling like he has been on the verge of asking this question for weeks. She is relieved to get it out in the open. She says she was never married to the man. He was married, but loved her very much. He would have provided for her and her family, but died. Jim tells her to keep the gentleman away from Sibyl. She tells him that he need not worry because Sibyl has a mother, but she herself didnít. He is touched by her sincerity and they embrace. Soon, though, he has to get ready to leave for his ship. Mrs. Vane thinks about his threat to kill Sibylís Prince Charming, but thinks nothing will ever come of it.

Notes

This chapter takes the reader to an entirely different social scene. The world of the Vanes. It serves to humanize Sibyl for the reader by showing her in her roles as daughter and sister. She is innocent as Dorian told Lord Henry she was. She knows nothing of the position which her social class puts her in relation to Dorian Gray. Her brother and her mother do know. For her brother, she will be used and discarded by a rich man. For her mother, she might be lucky enough to get money out of the rich man before he gets tired of her. The chapter closes with the revelation that James and Sibylís father was an aristocrat himself and that their parents never married.

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