The Portrait of a Lady By Henry James Summary and Analysis Chapter 52

Summary

Before leaving for England, Isabel makes one visit to see Pansy. At the convent she meets Madame Merle, who has just been with Pansy. She tries to explain her reasons, but Isabel is not interested.

Pansy is changed. She has had enough of the convent and would like to come out. She now knows that she must obey her father in anything or else there will be harsher consequences. She is frightened because Isabel is leaving and asks Isabel to come back and help her. Isabel promises not to desert her. As Isabel is leaving, Pansy mentions that Madame Merle was there to see her, saying that she doesn't like Madame Merle.

As Isabel departs, she meets Madame Merle again. This time Madame Merle tells her that it was Ralph who was responsible for her inheritance. Isabel simply tells Madame Merle that she never wants to see her again.

Analysis

After the interview with Pansy, Isabel knows that Pansy is now more her daughter than she is Madame Merle's. It is rather pathetic, that Pansy dislikes her true mother and is so attached to her stepmother. Knowing Pansy's plight, Isabel promises to come back to help the girl.

This chapter ends Madame Merle's association with Isabel. The older woman is now a rather lonely and forlorn person who must go to another land and begin over again.

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