| Quote #1
She had had the best of everything, and in a world in which the circumstances of so many people made them unenviable it was an advantage never to have known anything particularly unpleasant. It appeared to Isabel that the unpleasant had been even too absent from her knowledge, for she had gathered from her acquaintance with literature that it was often a source of interest and even of instruction. Her father had kept it away from her – her handsome, much-loved father, who always had such an aversion to it. (4.5)
Isabel’s dashing, ne’er-do-well father only wanted to protect his little girls from the world – and, as a result, Isabel feels as though she hasn’t really seen life at all.
| Quote #2
As he said to himself, there was really nothing he had wanted very much to do, so that he had at least not renounced the field of valour. At present, however, the fragrance of forbidden fruit seemed occasionally to float past him and remind him that the finest of pleasures is the rush of action. Living as he now lived was like reading a good book in a poor translation – a meagre entertainment for a young man who felt that he might have been an excellent linguist. (5.4)
Part of Ralph’s suffering is the sad fact that he can’t really take part in life – although he suspects that he would love it if he could.
| Quote #3
Ralph shook his head sadly. "I might show it to you, but you'd never see it. The privilege isn't given to every one; it's not enviable. It has never been seen by a young, happy, innocent person like you. You must have suffered first, have suffered greatly, have gained some miserable knowledge. In that way your eyes are opened to it. I saw it long ago," said Ralph.
Isabel feels somewhat uneasy about suffering; she has not suffered yet, and the part of her that wants to experience everything doesn’t back away from it. However, she also doesn’t think that suffering is necessarily fundamental to life.