Monday, January 28, 2013

The End for Isabel Archer; or is it?

Chapter 51 – 55

            After receiving Mrs. Touchett’s letter requesting Isabel come to England immediately because Ralph is dying, Isabel informs Osmond that she must go to him; Osmond viciously threatens her not to go.  Feeling defeated, she tells the Countess her situation, and the Countess, considering there may be some gain in it for Isabel, reveals the whole truth to her:  Madame Merle, while married, had an affair with Osmond and became pregnant with Pansy.  Her husband would not accept Pansy, but Osmond did.  To hide her indecency, she relinquished all responsibility to Pansy over to Osmond.  Osmond, who relocated to hide the truth, raised Pansy as if she were his first-wife’s child, who had died before Pansy’s birth.
And if you don't like it, tell it to Mr. James.

            Isabel bravely decides to go to London, but first stops to see Pansy at the convent.  Madame Merle is there also, and suspects that Isabel knows her secret.  Merle then reveals that it was Ralph who convinced his father to leave him part of his inheritance.

            In London, Isabel spends Ralph’s last day with him.  Ralph refers to Isabel as an angel, too: the angel of death.  Ralph relents that he has ruined Isabel by “making her rich.” 

            The next day, Isabel thinks she sees his ghost, just as Ralph had once told her that she might see the ghost of the house if she suffered enough.  Ralph has passed on.  He left many of his possessions and money to others, but for Isabel he left her into the care of Mr. Goodwood.  When Goodwood visits Isabel, he tells this, and pleads with her to trust him.  She tells him to go away and returns to Rome to her prison. 

Really.  That’s how it ends.


Fanda Classiclit said...

It's the end of the story, but I choose to believe it's not the end of Isabel. I guess she will return to Rome as a new person. She'll be still imprisoned by her husband physically, but not in mind. She won't be frightened to him anymore, at least.

Considering the era when she lived, it's almost impossible for an honorable woman to just leave her husband and marry with another man, don't you think?

Prison is tormenting when you long for freedom you're impossible to get. But when you accept the condition and know that nobody can control your mind, you'd live differently.

Well...James did not put it explicitly of course, but I choose to think that way.. :)

Fanda Classiclit said...

Btw, I have made the review, both my thoughts and WEM inquiries, and now look forward to read yours :)

Ruth said...

Yesterday, I finished writing my rhetorical questions, so I was able to read your final inquiries last night. It's so funny, but I had trouble with the rhetorical question, and I ended up with several more questions.

I saw that you were able to come to a conclusion, which I completely agree on. I think it is evident that women were in a rock and a hard place during the 19th century, which is what gratefully caused the events at the turn of and well into the new century.

I did come to the conclusion that she went on to live out her mistake, and in doing so, she gained her freedom again by taking responsibility. So I definitely made that connection.

I probably will post my written inquiries this week.