The Golden Bowl - Volume Two, Book Fifth, Chapters 1-5 Summary & Analysis

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This section contains 849 words
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Volume Two, Book Fifth, Chapters 1-5 Summary

In chapter one of this book, all invited parties have gathered at Fawns. Maggie chance to meet with Fanny and tells her that while she is in the dark concerning the Prince's actions, she does not believe he has told Charlotte that Maggie knows about their affair. Maggie does, however, believe the Prince has recognized the change in her and is accepting it because he has left both Maggie and Charlotte alone. At the conclusion of the chapter Maggie sees Charlotte in a cage made by Charlotte's own delusion.

In chapter two Maggie, the Prince, Charlotte, Mr. Verver, and the Assinghams are alone at Fawns. As the others play bridge, Maggie wanders out onto the terrace. She suddenly has a thought that all of the others want her to take responsibility for the affair that has occurred. They want to use her as their scapegoat. As Maggie walks, she notices that Charlotte has left the card game and is looking for her. It is at this point that Maggie realizes what she is most afraid of is the idea that Charlotte will feel the need to confess to Mr. Verver and in this way let him know what has happened.

Instead, Charlotte asks Maggie if she has done anything to offend her or if she has failed her in any way. In this question Maggie follows Amerigo's lead and tells Charlotte that she has done nothing to offend her. As Amerigo has covered for Maggie, Maggie now covers for him. Maggie finds it hard to comply when Charlotte asks Maggie to kiss her cheek for proof that there are no hard feelings held. Maggie does so only to find the rest of the party have stopped their card game and are watching to two ladies.

In chapter three Maggie and her father spend an afternoon together just as they did before he was married. In this conversation Maggie tries to prove to her father that she is jealous. Mr. Verver threatens to take Charlotte and go back to live at American City if Maggie does not stop speaking of her jealousy. In the conclusion of the chapter Maggie tells her father she still believes in him, and they embrace.

Chapter four returns to the prior action of Maggie's kiss to Charlotte. Although the Assinghams and the Prince had all witnessed the action, none of them had made a comment about its meaning. As this chapter describes the day to day life at Fawns, images of Charlotte as being bound are seen. For instance, she is described as being led by her husband by a silken rope. As company visits the home, Charlotte more and more takes them on a tour of her husband's gallery of art and collectibles. As this performance is repeated over and over again, her voice becomes to Maggie like a cry of pain. The Prince, in fact, escapes to London, Maggie believes, to keep from hearing Charlotte's voice.

In chapter five the group at Fawns is having lunch with Father Mitchell. Charlotte has not attending lunch as the result of a headache. After the meal is finished and the group begins to leave Maggie feels as if the priest is telling her to go to Charlotte. Maggie meets with Fanny briefly who asks if Maggie is sure she wants them to stay on at Fawns. Maggie asks her to stay as part of her support circle. Fanny tells Maggie that she has been successful in her venture because she feels Mr. Verver is going to relocate himself and his wife to American City. Fanny believes it is the idea of this move that has caused Charlotte to act as she is. Later that day Maggie sees Charlotte walking in the garden and goes to her under the guise of giving her a book. Charlotte tells Maggie that she has decided the Charlotte and Mr. Verver need to go back to America. She says that she wants Mr. Verver to make a break with his daughter. Charlotte also accuses Maggie of having caused her problems in her marriage.

Volume Two, Book Fifth, Chapters 1-5 Analysis

The most interesting aspect of this section of the novel is the way in which Maggie acts as she is waiting for her husband to come to some sort of decision about their future. Although she could have lashed out at others and called blame, she instead acts as normally as possible. Ironically, it is Charlotte who becomes angry with Maggie for interfering in her marriage. Charlotte tells Maggie that she believes Maggie loathed the idea of Charlotte marrying her father from the first, and set about causing problems for them. At this point, however, Maggie knows that her father plans to take Charlotte back to American City, an idea Charlotte is not pleased with but pretends for Maggie's benefit the move was her idea. Charlotte plans to use this move to permanently separate Maggie from her father, just as Charlotte will be permanently separated from the Prince.

This section contains 849 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
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