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The Portrait of a Lady

The Portrait of a Lady

by Henry James

Possession Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #10

"One’s daughter should be fresh and fair; she should be innocent and gentle. With the manners of the present time she is liable to become so dusty and crumpled. Pansy’s a little dusty, a little dishevelled; she has knocked about too much." (50.17)

Osmond never thinks about Pansy’s feelings or desires – in fact, he doesn’t even acknowledge the fact that she has any. Instead, he continues to push her into the idealized mold he envisions for the perfect daughter doll.

Quote #11

His kiss was like white lightning, a flash that spread, and spread again, and stayed; and it was extraordinarily as if, while she took it, she felt each thing in his hard manhood that had least pleased her, each aggressive fact of his face, his figure, his presence, justified of its intense identity and made one with this act of possession. (55.24)

Finally, Isabel feels real, all-encompassing, powerful passion. Everything she ever disliked about Caspar Goodwood now makes sense to her, and she gives in, just for a moment, to a sensual, glorious sensation of being possessed by a strong man – perhaps the right man.

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