The Portrait of a Lady: Chapter 34 - Summary & Analysis

Also Read

Chapter XXXIV


      Returning for lunch one day, Isabel meets Ralph in the garden of the villa. They enter a conversation in which Ralph expresses his surprise at her “getting caught” and being put into “a Cage”. She retorts that her travel and contacts have indicated that it is more important to select a smaller plot than to try and cultivate the whole world. He admits that Osmond may be “the incarnation of taste”, but he has the sensibilities of “sterile dilettante”. Isabel is now aroused and defends Osmond’s dignity and indifference to the materialistic world. Ralph knows that she is wrong but grants that “it was wonderfully characteristic of her that, having invented a fine theory about Gilbert Osmond, she loved him not for what he really possessed but for his very poverties dressed out as honors”. The cousins soon part company.

Critical Analysis

      Isabel continues to present a bold front as she ignores Ralph’s estimate of Osmond and actually finds virtues in Osmond. Notice, how during the interview Ralph compares her with a bird again and again.

Previous Post Next Post