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The Portrait of a Lady

The Portrait of a Lady


by Henry James

The Portrait of a Lady Pride Quotes

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

Quote #4

"I'm much obliged to you," said the girl quickly. Her way of taking compliments seemed sometimes rather dry; she got rid of them as rapidly as possible. But as regards this she was sometimes misjudged; she was thought insensible to them, whereas in fact she was simply unwilling to show how infinitely they pleased her. To show that was to show too much. (6.4)

Not all of Isabel’s perceived arrogance is actually pride – sometimes, it’s actually humility.

Quote #5

Poor Isabel found ground to remind herself from time to time that she must not be too proud, and nothing could be more sincere than her prayer to be delivered from such a danger: the isolation and loneliness of pride had for her mind the horror of a desert place. If it had been pride that interfered with her accepting Lord Warburton such a bêtise was singularly misplaced; and she was so conscious of liking him that she ventured to assure herself it was the very softness, and the fine intelligence, of sympathy. (12.23)

Isabel is quite aware of her over-active self-confidence, and constantly reminds herself not to get too far up on her high horse.

Quote #6

"Don’t think me unkind if I say it’s just that – being out of your sight – that I like. If you were in the same place I should feel you were watching me, and I don’t like that – I like my liberty too much. If there’s a thing in the world I’m fond of," she went on with a slight recurrence of grandeur, "it’s my personal independence." (16.24)

One of Isabel’s greatest points of pride is her famed independence; she’s so caught up in the idea of it that she doesn’t even notice at first when it’s taken away by Osmond…

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