The Portrait of a Lady: Chapter 35 - Summary & Analysis

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Chapter XXXV


      Almost everybody—Ralph, Mrs. Touchett Henrietta—opposed Isabel’s move to marry Osmond but Isabel was firm in her belief that she was in love with Mr. Osmond who knew perfectly that their union enjoyed little favor with Isabel’s relations. He was thankful that Madame Merle has given him a present (much like a silver plate) of such an incalculable value. James’s language beautifully captures the structure of Osmond’s mind.

      Pansy receives the news of the marriage with pleasure. Osmond decides to send Pansy back to the convent to finish her education. Pansy shares her excitement with Isabel when they meet next. The Countess Gemini also expresses her congratulations to Isabel and expresses the hope that someday they would be better friends than the young lady believed.

Critical Analysis

      In this chapter, we are given a peep into the “rationalizing” mind of Isabel and the ‘"rational” mind of Osmond. We also see the change in Isabel in that she is critical of the manners, of her aunt. Isabel’s self-deception is now complete.

      When Osmond muses about the “gift” he has received from Madame Merle, the language, the tone and the objective appraisal of the present reveal the posture which Isabel will have to assume in the new household.

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