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

Notes

For a man who was never married, Henry James certainly knows how to describe one. In this chapter, ten chapters after she announces her engagement to Caspar Goodwood, James finally gives a full narrative treatment to the marriage. It is another of Isabelís vigils, so famous in the novel and so important for signaling a change from one state of being into another. Here, she sits up alone in the parlor until four in the morning. She is sent into this state of meditation by two things. First, she canít get the image of Madame Merle and her husbandís intimate pose out of her mind. This insight she dwells on but doesnít come to resolution about. The second thing that keeps her up is the agitation produced in the encounter sheís had with her husband over the Warburton-Pansy match. It is this agitation that sends her into retrospection on the course of her marriage and which provides Henry James with the narrative excuse for summarizing the marriage thus far.


It is a horrible one. Since Isabel is stuck in it, itís even worse. Her conviction that Gilbert hates her might at first seem melodramatic, but by the end of the chapter seems an understatement. The force of the description of the marriage comes not in the relation of incidents which demonstrate the ugliness of the feelings dominating the marriage, but in the images James uses to describe it and in the contrast between what Isabel imagined of Gilbert and what he turned out to be.

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 9:53:23 AM