The Golden Bowl - Volume Two, Book Third, Chapters 5-8 Summary & Analysis

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Volume Two, Book Third, Chapters 5-8 Summary

As Charlotte visits with the Prince, they discuss their days, how they can to be where they are, and their feelings about their missing spouses. When asked what she will tell her husband about the way she spent her day, Charlotte replies that she will tell him the truth; she has been with the Prince. Charlotte tells the Prince she believes things might had been different if she and Mr. Verver had a child together, but implies that will never happen. At the conclusion of this chapter the two make a vow together to stand together in the lack of their spouses. The chapter closes with the two sharing the passion of physical affection.

In chapter six the author discusses the Prince's current feelings toward Fanny Assingham. As Fanny continues to be involved in the situation, she notices Charlotte's absence from her own home, and Maggies continual presence there. Charlotte takes over Maggie's visiting duties while Maggie takes care of her father's home. Meanwhile Fanny keeps a watchful eye on the situation. Only once is a dinner party held at Mr. Verver's home. It is during this party that the Prince realizes how much everyone there still regards his wife as Maggie Verver, and not the Prince's husband.

A new problem is introduced to the Prince in chapter seven. As the quartet plays, Fanny arranges to talk to him alone on one of the couches. She mentions to the Prince that Maggie and Mr. Verver have decided not to go to the Matcham's party after all. It is during this discussion that the Prince notes that Fanny lies to him for the first time. However, the Prince and Charlotte do attend the Matcham party without their spouses. They had, after all, been looking for an opportunity to spend some time together away from their spouses.

In chapter eight the Prince questions Fanny as to how his and Maggie's spouses would have gotten along at the Matcham party. Although he is enjoying the party, he believes Mr. Verver and his daughter would not have enjoyed it. Meanwhile the Prince and Charlotte are snatching moments of time to spend together when they will not be noticed by the others. The only one who might give their secret away is Fanny and Charlotte insists to the Prince there is nothing Fanny can say that would hurt them without discrediting herself. Although Charlotte is supposed to travel home from the party with the Assinghams, it is arranged that she and the Prince stay at the party longer than the Assinghams. They do so they can travel together and have some private time after the party.

Volume Two, Book Third, Chapters 5-8 Analysis

In this section, the relationship between the Prince and Charlotte grows. As their spouses pay less attention to them the Prince and Charlotte become more interested in and evenly physically active with each other. In fact, they finally arrange to attend an out of town party without their spouses. It is during this party that they are finally able to arrange to find private time with each other without the fear of their spouses finding out what they are doing.

In fact, the Assinghams, Fanny in particular, are the only people present who seem to pay much attention to the developing relationship between Charlotte and the Prince. Ever since the night of the first party where she discovered the pair alone together without their spouses, Fanny has been monitoring the situation closely even though her husband has advised her not to be involved in it. Regardless, Fanny has noted the behaviors taking place in both homes and has been present to see how the couples are interacting with each other. Apparently Fanny feels herself responsible for the outcomes of these relationships because she helped to put them together. As Charlotte notes, however, Fanny cannot say anything to Mr. Verver or Maggie about the relationship between the Prince and Charlotte without making herself out to be a fool. She encouraged the original marriages based on the positive qualities of each person's character; to try to portray them as frauds and adulterers now would make her appear a liar.

This section contains 710 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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