The Portrait of a Lady: Chapter 37 - Summary & Analysis

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Chapter XXXVII


      Against Madame Merle’s instruction Rosier attends a soiree at the Osmonds. He talks to Mr. and Mrs. Osmond but he is defeated in his object. When Madame Merle finds him there— he has broken the promise—she dismisses him but tells him to see her the next day. Mr. Rosier then seeks help from Mrs. Osmond who tells him that he is not rich enough for Pansy, and that she could not help him though she would like to.

Critical Analysis

      This chapter introduces the subject of Rosier’s marriage with Pansy. We must further consider the fact that none of the marriages in the novel - Mr. and Mrs. Touchett’s, Mr. and Mrs. Osmond’s, Mr. and Mrs. Ludlow’s, Mr. and Mrs. Keyes’ etc—is really a happy or successful marriage.

      From the imagery point of view this chapter is again important. Most interesting in this chapter is the brutal parallel which exists between the pursuit of Isabel by Osmond and Rosier’s pursuit Pansy. We also start hearing the notes of the slow process of non-entitization—plus-stagnation which Isabel is undergoing.

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