Study Guide

Daniel Deronda Chapter 23

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Chapter 23

  • The chapter begins with Gwendolen telling her mom to go to church because she wants to speak with Klesmer alone.
  • Gwendolen thinks about how impressed Klesmer was with her acting that one time.
  • She thinks about how beautiful she looks.
  • Klesmer arrives. They make their pleasantries. Then Gwendolen says she needs his advice.
  • Gwendolen says she wants to be a singer – oh, and also to study singing. You know, as an afterthought. Klesmer doesn't say anything. Gwendolen suggests that maybe he can teach her to be a great singer.
  • Klesmer still doesn't say anything.
  • Then Klesmer guesses that Gwendolen has never actually considered an artistic career in the past.  Gwendolen is like, hey I've acted before – remember that time we played charades?
  • Klesmer tells Gwendolen, as nicely as possible, that she's only lived a life of ease and praise so far, and that is exactly the opposite of what it means to be an artist.
  • Gwendolen is like, "Whoa, I thought you'd think this was an honorable idea."
  • Klesmer basically tells her she's romanticized the whole thing. He says she'd have to unlearn everything she knows now and be taught from the beginning.
  • Gwendolen is hurt; she feels like he's saying that she's too old to start off as an actress and that she has no talent.
  • Klesmer suggests that Catherine Arrowpoint might be able to support her. Gwendolen thinks this is a recipe for humiliation.
  • The narrator tells us that, even though Klesmer seems mean, he has the best of intentions in warning Gwendolen.
  • Klesmer tells Gwendolen that if she wanted to go onstage, she'd either have to pay as an amateur or go take lessons. This makes Gwendolen really mad, and her pride is shot.
  • Klesmer leaves, telling her that he only wishes her to be happy. Gwendolen, in the meantime, has never felt so miserable in her life.
  • Gwendolen tells Mrs. Davilow to go move to Sawyer's Cottage; she'll go tutor the bishop's daughters.

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