The Golden Bowl - Volume Two, Book Fourth, Chapters 4-6 Summary & Analysis

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Volume Two, Book Fourth, Chapters 4-6 Summary

In Chapter four Maggie believes the Prince is causing her anxiety and enjoying this anxiety as a way of getting in the last word on their conversation about the trip. She also feels as if he is punishing her for pulling away from him as she did. However, the four of them are having a good time together. Since Maggie indicated she and her father wanted to go with Charlotte and the Prince, they are going almost all the time. Maggie has instigated this change, and must see it through to its end.

Maggie throws a dinner party at her home, and is crowned and applauded for her efforts. It is the first time Maggie can remember that she has lived up to the expectations people had for her as a princess. After this party Maggie tries to discuss Charlotte with her husband but cannot do so without seeming as if she is jealous of her stepmother's relationship with her father. One day when the baby is sick, Maggie's father comes to visit her alone. Maggie is also alone without the Prince and wonders if the Prince and Charlotte are meeting together. More than this, however, she is afraid of this solitary meeting with her father.

In Chapter five Maggie and her father enter the park together and find a pair of quiet chairs where they can talk. One of the things they discuss is the proposed trip Maggie wants the Prince and her father to take. Also during the conversation her father brings up the idea that they are a selfish group that might become even more selfish by making their planned trip to the Fawns. He expects they will have more visitors there this year than in years past. When they return home, they find Charlotte and the Prince seated together on a balcony. The group returning from the park, including the Principino and his nanny, gape at the couple on the balcony.

Maggie decides to call on Fanny's aid in Chapter six. In order to do this, Maggie works up Fanny's involvement in the relationship between her and the Prince since its beginning. After Maggie tells Fanny of the strangeness she sensed in the Prince and Charlotte after their return from the Matcham party, Fanny turns to respond to her. For a moment Maggie sees an expression similar to fear on her friend's face. When Maggie directly asks Fanny what she knows about the Prince and Charlotte, Fanny turns white. Maggie explains she speaks from ideas that have been tormenting her for some time. Maggie feels she has been orchestrating her life and the lives of her immediate family. She feels as if even Charlotte and the Prince have noticed the changes in her, noticed that she has been aware of their new relationship. Fanny, however, tells Maggie she believes there is no indecent relationship between the Prince and Charlotte.

Volume Two, Book Fourth, Chapters 4-6 Analysis

In this section the changes Maggie has made in her life begin to reflect in the lives of her father, her husband and her stepmother. Instead of being two couples, the four of them begin to associate and actually have a good time together. Although Maggie and her father feel hurried and jarred by the pace of the new social life, they hold up to it as best they can.

Maggie's main issue in this section is deciding how to go about finding out if there is an improper relationship between the Prince and Charlotte without her father learning what she is up to. It is important to keep in mind that at this point, Maggie still does not know that Charlotte and the Prince were once involved with each other. In her attempt to find someone to bear her heart to, Maggie seeks out Fanny for consolation. Remember that Fanny is aware of Charlotte and the Prince's past relationship and is having doubts herself as to the morality of the couple's current behavior.

Instead of supporting Maggie's fears, however, Fanny assures Maggie there is no wrong doing going on between Charlotte and the Prince. Fanny instead tells Maggie she is surprised at the amount of character and personality Maggie is showing by bringing up the suggestion. While Fanny indicates she must now change her view of Maggie, she stresses to Maggie that she does not believe there is anything going on between the Prince and Charlotte. If Fanny had voiced her own suspicions to Maggie, she would have had to reveal her knowledge of the former relations between the two, a point she does not want to have to make to Maggie.

This section contains 788 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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