Book Notes Chapter 2 Notes from The Picture of Dorian Gray

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The Picture of Dorian Gray Chapter 2

Basil and Lord Henry enter the studio and find Dorian Gray. He tells Basil he does not want to sit for the painting today, but then he notices Lord Henry, Basil introduces them, and they talk about Aunt Agatha. Dorian forgot to meet her when he was supposed to last week, and is afraid that she is upset with him, but Lord Henry promises that she couldn't be mad at him.

Topic Tracking: Beauty 2

Basil asks Lord Henry to go away so that he can paint, but at Dorian's insistence, he allows him to stay. Although he has another engagement this afternoon, Lord Henry consents to stay. Basil warns Dorian that Lord Henry is a bad influence, and starts to paint, completely tuning out the conversation. Lord Henry says that all influence is bad because one's duty is to oneself, not to the ideas and beliefs of someone else. Dorian listens while Henry talks about his philosophies on life: "The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself, with desire for what its monstrous laws have made monstrous and unlawful." Chapter 2, pg. 21

Topic Tracking: Hedonism 1

All at once, Dorian tells him to be quiet for a while so he can process what he has been hearing. He thinks about how clear things have become; he knows much more now than he did earlier, but is curious about so many things. He tells Basil, after ten minutes or so, that he wants to go out in the garden. Lord Henry goes with him; Basil, oblivious to what Lord Henry has been saying and very pleased with his painting, stays to paint the background.

In the garden, Dorian stops to smell some of the flowers, and Lord Henry comments that "You are a wonderful creation. You know more than you think you know, just as you know less than you want to know." Chapter 2, pg. 23 One reason Dorian thinks he likes Lord Henry so much is that their conversation has produced a change in him; his friendship with Basil had never changed him this way.

Topic Tracking: Influence 3

They begin to speak about beauty; Lord Henry says that Dorian should take full advantage of his beauty now, because later in life he will have lost it. Youth is the most important thing in the world.

Topic Tracking: Beauty 3
Topic Tracking: Hedonism 2

Basil comes out and tells them to come inside the studio again. On the way in, Lord Henry says that Dorian is glad to have met him; Dorian says he is, for now, though he cannot say that he will always be so. Basil finishes the portrait in fifteen minutes and Lord Henry and Dorian look at it; Lord Henry exclaims how wonderful it is, and Dorian seems, upon the sight of the painting, to fully realize his beauty for the first time. He thinks about the truth of Lord Henry's words. After quite a while, he says: "How sad it is! I shall grow old, and horrible, and dreadful. But this picture will remain always young. It will never be older than this particular day of June. . . . If it were only the other way! If it were I who was to be always young, and the picture that was to grow old! For that--for that--I would give everything! Yes, there is nothing in the whole world I would not give! I would give my soul for that!" Chapter 2, pg. 29 He turns on Basil and says that when he loses his beauty, Basil will forget about him. He asks Basil why he had to paint it, this beautiful painting that will mock him someday.

Topic Tracking: Beauty 4

Basil says that this outrage is Lord Henry's fault, for staying, but Lord Henry says that can't possibly be true. In order to prove that he cares for Dorian more than the painting, Basil goes to get a knife to tear it up, but Dorian stops him and says that he must have the painting. Lord Henry says that Basil should give it to him instead, but Basil says that it always belonged to Dorian. Henry proposes going to the theatre tonight, and Dorian says he would love to go, but Basil says he will stay with the "real" Dorian, referring to the painting. On their way out, Basil tells Lord Henry again that he trusts him.

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