by George Eliot
Daniel Deronda Chapter 51 Summary
- Daniel goes to meet his mom at her apartment in the hotel.
- Hi mother (also called "the Princess") looks him over and tells him that he's beautiful. She seems vaguely foreign.
- She's pretty blunt and to the point. She says she knows that he can't possibly love her, but she's not at all emotional about it.
- She tells Daniel that she was once a singer and actress. She didn't want a child when she had Daniel.
- We find out, though, that she was married to Daniel's father. She didn't want to get married, either. She figured that by getting married she'd be able to get some freedom because she figured she could rule over her husband. (Wait, Gwendolen, is that you in there? Just kidding.)
- And now for the big reveal: she tells Daniel that she gave him up to save him from the life he'd be stuck with as a Jew. Yep, that's right. It took us over six hundred pages to get there, but we finally know that Daniel is Jewish.
- We also find out, by the way, that Daniel's father was his mother's cousin.
- Daniel says that he is glad to hear all of this. The Princess is taken aback by the news – she made sure that he'd grow up to be an English gentleman, and he wants to be Jewish after all?
- All of a sudden, Daniel gets really mad at his mother for making such a big decision on his behalf.
- Daniel asks his mom why she waited so long to tell him all of this. She's like, "Well, if I'm going to die soon, I might as well set things right sooner rather than later."
- We find out that Sir Hugo has been writing to her for years, so she's gotten tons of updates about Daniel all this time.
- The Princess tells Daniel that she hated all of her father's strictness about what she should do and not do, or love and not love; she felt like a lot of what she hated about her father was intertwined with the fact that they were Jewish. She wanted to break out of the life that she was "supposed" to lead as a proper Jewish woman.
- Daniel is like, "Oh I can totally understand how hard it was to have your ambition stifled." His mom is like, "No way—you're not a woman, so you just don't get it."
- Daniel's mom gives the full scoop on where his grandparents were from.
- Then she goes on about her resentment towards her father some more.
- The Princess tells Daniel that Joseph Kalonymos, her father's friend, informed her that he saw Daniel and found him to be an Englishman with no interest in his Jewish heritage. We find out that Joseph Kalonymos is that old guy that Daniel met in the synagogue in Frankfort.
- We also find out that "Deronda" is not Daniel's real last name.
- Daniel asks his mother if he can take care of her. She says no, because guess what? There are more secrets! She has a family – a husband and five kids – and none of them know about Daniel.
- Daniel's mom tells him to go to Mainz, in Germany, to get a chest of stuff left to him by his Grandfather. Hopefully Joseph Kalonymos will be there to take care of everything.
- They say goodbye.
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