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The Portrait of a Lady

The Portrait of a Lady


by Henry James

The Portrait of a Lady Men and Masculinity Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #1

One of these was a remarkably well-made man of five-and-thirty, with a face as English as that of the old gentleman I have just sketched was something else; a noticeably handsome face, fresh-coloured, fair and frank, with firm, straight features, a lively grey eye and the rich adornment of a chestnut beard. This person had a certain fortunate, brilliant exceptional look – the air of a happy temperament fertilized by a high civilization – which would have made almost any observer envy him at a venture. (1.4)

Lord Warburton is the vision of ideal English manhood, whose privilege as an upper-class member of an upper-class Empire is enviable.

Quote #2

"He’s a very good nurse, Lord Warburton."

"Isn’t he a bit clumsy?" asked his lordship.

"Oh no, he’s not clumsy – considering that he’s an invalid himself. He’s a very good nurse – for a sick-nurse. I call him my sick-nurse because he’s sick himself."

"Oh, come, daddy!" the ugly young man exclaimed.

"Well, you are; I wish you weren’t. But I suppose you can’t help it." (1.8)

Ralph is portrayed as a somewhat feminized character. He plays a role that is traditionally female, that of the nurse, and his use of the word "daddy" also makes him seem child-like and weak.

Quote #3

Even philosophers have their preferences, and it must be admitted that of his progenitors his father ministered most to his sense of the sweetness of filial dependence. His father, as he had often said to himself, was the more motherly; his mother, on the other hand, was paternal, and even, according to the slang of the day, gubernatorial. (5.1)

In the Touchett household, gender roles are interestingly reversed; Mr. Touchett, in his retirement, has taken on the role of the stay-at-home-mom, while Mrs. Touchett is brusque, busy, and more fatherly.

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