I for Isobel

by

Amy Witting

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Madge Character Analysis

Mrs. Bowers’ daughter, Madge, is kind and soft spoken but has disappointed her mother by taking up with a religious cult. Madge becomes engaged to Arthur, a kind man she met through her new religion, but Mrs. Bowers is so disapproving of the pair that Madge and Arthur leave the boarding house hastily in the dead of night. In watching Madge and Mrs. Bowers’ relationship suffer, Isobel comes to realizes that she has replaced Madge, to some extent, as Mrs. Bowers’ daughter figure, and she feels both triumphant and contrite about that fact.

Madge Quotes in I for Isobel

The I for Isobel quotes below are all either spoken by Madge or refer to Madge. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Mothers, Daughters, and Self-Discovery Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Text Publishing edition of I for Isobel published in 1989.
Chapter 4 Quotes

You left the house thinking of freedom, of being a different person, seeing the world ahead of you, but you didn't go on, you went back. To fight the old fight and this time to win, to have the verdict set aside, to be the favored child.

Any rag will make a doll for the idiot in the attic.

Auden had a general in his head. (“But they've severed all the wires, and I don't know what the general desires.'”

Isobel had an idiot in the attic.

[…]

Back in her room, she sat on her bed and reflected. She was in a different position from Auden; she knew what the idiot desired, all right, and had to watch to see it didn't get it.

[…]

The idiot played its games with the real world and- and what was worse-it played them behind Isobel's back. Not any more, now that she knew. Could she do this, watch a part of herself and control it, fight against it all her life?

She was not too discouraged, the new knowledge giving her a feeling of strength. At least she knew where she was going wrong-no wonder the others disliked her, watching her suck up to Mrs. Bowers, taking what ought to be Madge's.

Idiot wants a mother.

Idiot can't have one.

Life is very difficult.

Related Characters: Isobel Callaghan, Mrs. Bowers, Madge
Page Number: 120-121
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire I for Isobel LitChart as a printable PDF.
I for Isobel PDF

Madge Character Timeline in I for Isobel

The timeline below shows where the character Madge appears in I for Isobel. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4: Glassware and Other Breakable Items
Mothers, Daughters, and Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Poverty, Abuse, and Violence Theme Icon
Transience and The Search For Belonging Theme Icon
...dinner is at six, residents must change their linens on Sundays, and that her daughter, Madge, will show her around. (full context)
Mothers, Daughters, and Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Poverty, Abuse, and Violence Theme Icon
Storytelling, Fiction, Narrative, and Escape Theme Icon
Transience and The Search For Belonging Theme Icon
Mrs. Prendergast asks if Madge is “still in with those people,” and Mrs. Bowers answers only that it “doesn’t do... (full context)
Mothers, Daughters, and Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Poverty, Abuse, and Violence Theme Icon
Transience and The Search For Belonging Theme Icon
...introducing herself as Maeve, but decides against it. Isobel sits between the older woman and Madge, who does not look at all flighty. An elderly gentleman sits at the end of... (full context)
Mothers, Daughters, and Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Poverty, Abuse, and Violence Theme Icon
Transience and The Search For Belonging Theme Icon
...to silence the other boarders. After dinner, Betty offers to show Isobel around so that Madge can “get away,” and Madge nods gratefully. Betty shows Isobel the ropes, giving her tips... (full context)
Storytelling, Fiction, Narrative, and Escape Theme Icon
Transience and The Search For Belonging Theme Icon
...the work goes fast. That night, at dinner, Betty is not present, and after dinner Madge disappears and only Mr. Watkin remains downstairs. Isobel finally gets the chance to read for... (full context)
Mothers, Daughters, and Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Storytelling, Fiction, Narrative, and Escape Theme Icon
Transience and The Search For Belonging Theme Icon
...for some sweets. Isobel joins her, and Mrs. Bowers tells her all about her daughter Madge’s fascination with a “strange religion.” Mrs. Bowers has told Madge that she cannot practice the... (full context)
Mothers, Daughters, and Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Transience and The Search For Belonging Theme Icon
Madge has gotten engaged, and brings her fiancée Arthur to the boarding house to meet Mrs.... (full context)
Mothers, Daughters, and Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Transience and The Search For Belonging Theme Icon
...is lured into the kitchen, where she must sit and listen to Mrs. Bowers laments Madge’s “folly.” She calls Arthur a “religious crackpot” and believes that Madge, who has always been... (full context)
Mothers, Daughters, and Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Poverty, Abuse, and Violence Theme Icon
Transience and The Search For Belonging Theme Icon
...wait until after dinner. Mrs. Bowers returns to the kitchen, and the rest of the boarders—Madge included—can hear her talking to Mrs. Prendergast derisively about Arthur. Madge approaches the kitchen and... (full context)
Mothers, Daughters, and Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Transience and The Search For Belonging Theme Icon
Isobel hears Madge’s footsteps and voice outside, and decides to go and see what Madge is up to.... (full context)
Mothers, Daughters, and Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Poverty, Abuse, and Violence Theme Icon
...the boarders all move gingerly, afraid of upsetting Mrs. Bowers, who has been angry since Madge’s departure. (full context)
Mothers, Daughters, and Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Poverty, Abuse, and Violence Theme Icon
Transience and The Search For Belonging Theme Icon
...angry with Isobel. Isobel accepts her landlady’s ire passively, thinking that after all, she wanted Madge’s place—and now she has got it. (full context)