The Passion - Study Guide Chapter 2, The Queen of Spades, pg. 46-62 Summary & Analysis

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The perspective shifts to a new character: Villanelle. She characterizes Venice as a maze of rivers and bridges, where one is either lost or found. In Venice, Villanelle explains, the boatmen have webbed feet, and when their wives are pregnant, the expectant mother is required to undergo a ritual to ensure that daughters are born pure of heart and sons with webbed feet. Boatmen are never permitted to remove their boots.

Villanelle relates that she is the daughter of an impoverished boatman who removed one boot in exchange for a tourist's coin. The next day her father's boat was found unmanned save for one stark raving tourist. Soon after, Villanelle's mother learned she was pregnant and, despite the absence of her husband, sought to undergo the ritual necessary for a boatman's wife. Villanelle's mother, however...

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