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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 #10

"You won’t confess that you’ve made a mistake. You’re too proud."

"I don’t know whether I’m too proud. But I can’t publish my mistake. I don’t think that’s decent. I’d much rather die."

"You won’t think so always," said Henrietta.

"I don’t know what great unhappiness might bring me to; but it seems to me I shall always be ashamed. One must accept one’s deeds. I married him before all the world; I was perfectly free; it was impossible to do anything more deliberate." (47.4)

Henrietta recognizes what’s holding Isabel to Osmond, even if Isabel doesn’t herself – it’s her pride. Having committed to her marriage, she is too ashamed to admit that she was in the wrong, and Isabel is all too aware of the grim fact that you can never unmake a mistake, no matter how hard you try.

Quote #11

"You are nearer to me than any human creature, and I'm nearer to you. It may be a disagreeable proximity; it's one, at any rate, of our own deliberate making. You don't like to be reminded of that, I know; but I'm perfectly willing, because – because – " And he paused a moment, looking as if he had something to say which would be very much to the point. "Because I think we should accept the consequences of our actions, and what I value most in life is the honour of a thing!" (51.28)

Osmond turns Isabel’s own values against her by playing the pride card. He knows that by provoking her sense of honor and responsibility, he will keep her in thrall.

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