Study Guide

Daniel Deronda Chapter 4

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Chapter 4

  • The narrator talks about how Mr. Gascoigne thinks that Gwendolen will find a good husband. He wants people in the neighborhood to have a favorable view of her.
  • Then the narrator tells us about Gwendolen's perspective on things. She figures that she'll have to get married at some point, and she won't have to settle for a mediocre match.
  • Still, marriage isn't the be-all and end-all for Gwendolen. In fact, the narrator points out that Gwendolen sees marriage as dreary and limiting.
  • According to Miss Merry, the governess, Gwendolen "will not rest without having the world at her feet" (4.3). In other words, this girl is out to get what she wants.
  • The narrator outlines some of Gwendolen's strengths – she's well-read and good at French – and makes it clear that Gwendolen feels ready to take on the world.  
  • We also find that a lot of things bore Gwendolen, and that everyone goes out of their way to make sure that she's always happy and comfortable. She always gets the hottest coffee and crispest toast!
  • The narrator wonders why she gets treated like she's such hot you-know-what. She's charming and beautiful, for one thing.
  • The narrator also notes how Mrs. Davilow seems to act in an apologetic, permissive way around Gwendolen – maybe because of her second marriage, which Gwendolen wasn't too jazzed about.
  • We also find out that, even when people fear Gwendolen, they also love her. She's a complex girl, that Gwen.

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