free booknotes online

Help / FAQ




<- Previous Page | First Page | Next Page ->
MonkeyNotes-Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version

Chapter 32

Isabel is waiting for Caspar Goodwood. She feels older after her travels, as if in some sense she is "worth more." She has been dreading the scene she expects with Caspar Goodwood. He comes in "straight, strong, and hard." He tells her he came as soon as he got her letter telling him she was engaged to marry Gilbert Osmond. She tells him only he and Madame Merle know of the engagement. She feels angry at points in the conversation. His questions about Gilbert Osmond irritate her. She tells him Gilbert Osmond is a nobody, from no where, who does nothing. Caspar says he came all the way to see her just so he could see her and hear her voice. He reminds her that she told him two years before that she would probably never marry and he had believed her sincerity. She says she couldnít have foreseen her choice then and insists that she never made him any promises. He tells her heíd prefer that she never married than to marry another man. He admits his selfishness. Finally, he leaves and when he does, Isabel bursts into tears.


Notes

In his usual oblique way, Henry James announces Isabel Archerís engagement to Gilbert Osmond with a scene between her and the sad but stiff Caspar Goodwood. The oblique way pays off in several respects. First, the reader sees Isabel Archerís ambivalence about Caspar Goodwood. She feels guilty for rejecting him. She feels as if she has betrayed him, though she knows that in a strict sense of things, she hasnít really done so.

Second, the reader gets another description of Gilbert Osmond. This description is special since it is told to Caspar Goodwood, his exact opposite. Isabel says over and over again that Gilbert Osmond is a nothing, that he does nothing, that he thinks nothing of America, and that he is from nowhere. Such an odd description of oneís finance warrants some attention. Why would someone of Isabelís lively temperament be so taken with someone whom she describes as a nonentity? Perhaps the answer can be found in the contrast between Gilbert Osmond and Caspar Goodwood. Caspar Goodwood is often described as having such a forceful personality that Isabel feels weighed down by him, even oppressed by his presence. For someone who wants to exercise self-determination, a man who doesnít exert such a force, but is instead a vague gentlemen, who wants to make art out of life and stand picturesquely on his hill on the outskirts of Vienna with his perfect daughter at his side, is the more likely choice.

Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version


<- Previous Page | First Page | Next Page ->
MonkeyNotes-Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
Google
Web
PinkMonkey

Google
  Web PinkMonkey.com   

All Contents Copyright © PinkMonkey.com
All rights reserved. Further Distribution Is Strictly Prohibited.


About Us
 | Advertising | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Home Page
This page was last updated: 5/9/2017 8:53:22 AM