What Happened to Isabel?

12 Feb

Marriage Happened.

Guess that “Thumbs Down” from Ralph and others was very wise.   Ralph has not seen much of Isabel since her marriage, so in Chapter 39, he is shocked to see such changes in his cousin.   Let me sum up his great descriptions:

Isabel Before Marriage:  cared for pure truth, delighted in good-humored argument and intellectual play, curious, beautiful, free and keen.

Isabel After Marriage:   showed a violence and crudity in her experiments, spoke faster, moved faster, breathed faster, fell into exaggerations, thought nothing of people’s opinions, indifferent, beautiful in an insolent way, quite another person.

Ralph tells us she seemed to represent something.  What could it be?  Oh yes, she represents Gilbert Osmond.   “Good heavens, what a function!” he woefully exclaims.

I suppose that in marriage, one does come to represent the other partner, but hopefully not in such a one-sided way as this.   I would hope that a good marriage would change both partners.  For the better!   And despite Isabel’s representation of her husband, she is still convinced that he hates her.    That was a shocking revelation in Chapter 42!

Anyone else a bit shocked at the sudden awful unhappiness and the way James springs it on us?

1 Comment

Posted by on February 12, 2013 in The Portrait of a Lady


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One response to “What Happened to Isabel?

  1. Patty Sessions

    February 12, 2013 at 11:06 pm

    I was! I didn’t like the idea of Isabel getting married at all, but I was shocked at how suddenly everything went all horrible.


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