The French Lieutenant’s Woman

The French Lieutenant’s Woman

by

John Fowles

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Mary is a maid at Mrs. Tranter’s house. She comes from an impoverished country family. She knows she’s pretty, and she’s not above making Ernestina jealous of her looks. She falls in love with Sam and marries him. Fowles uses Mary to point out that the stereotype of the sexually repressed Victorian doesn’t take into account the frequent sexual activity of the lower classes.
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Mary Character Timeline in The French Lieutenant’s Woman

The timeline below shows where the character Mary appears in The French Lieutenant’s Woman. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 11
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...and didn’t feel happy. Even the flowers Charles sent had irritated her. She had heard Mary flirting with Sam at the front door, and she worried it had been Charles there... (full context)
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Soon after Sam left, Ernestina rang for Mary, who came in smiling with the flowers. Ernestina frowned at her. The narrator thinks that... (full context)
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Mary got a job with Mrs. Poulteney because she’s related to Mrs. Fairley, but Mrs. Poulteney... (full context)
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Mary put the flowers on Ernestina’s bedside table, but Ernestina made her move them farther away.... (full context)
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Ernestina warned Mary that Sam is a womanizer and demanded that she report it if he made advances... (full context)
Chapter 14
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Mrs. Poulteney asks whether Mary is being troublesome to Mrs. Tranter, but Mrs. Tranter says she’s a wonderful servant. Mrs.... (full context)
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Sam is sitting in Mrs. Tranter’s kitchen. When he met Mary that morning, he asked if he could deliver the soot in an hour. Now they’re... (full context)
Chapter 15
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...that since they themselves have fallen in love, they can’t be angry with Sam and Mary for doing the same. She says she can’t bear to wait until their wedding, and... (full context)
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...room Ernestina is laughing and asks whether she can give one of her dresses to Mary. After Mary includes Ernestina in her prayers that night, she tries on the dress again.... (full context)
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...here, which Sam denies. Charles says he doesn’t want Sam to have to interact with Mary anymore. Sam explains that he’s reconciled with her. When Charles insists that he should leave,... (full context)
Chapter 17
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At that moment, Sam is marveling at how much Mary does understand. Their backgrounds are incredibly different, one coming from London and one from a... (full context)
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Sam has fallen for Mary because she’s so different from the prostitutes he’s slept with before. He’s physically attractive, though... (full context)
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...he felt that he had never told anyone such personal things before. He asked whether Mary had a suitor, but she said she didn’t. He said he’d never known anyone like... (full context)
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The narrator doesn’t know whether Sam and Mary met the next morning. But when Charles came out of Mrs. Tranter’s house that day... (full context)
Chapter 19
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...their disgust of sex in order to get it. After she saw a stableboy kiss Mary and Mary seem to enjoy it, Mrs. Poulteney thought Mary would become a prostitute. (full context)
Chapter 21
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Sarah stands against a tree, and Charles looks through the leaves to see Sam and Mary coming towards them, Sam’s arm around Mary. They’re clearly young lovers. Sam kisses Mary and... (full context)
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...to ask, where are all the trappings of society now? The smile excuses Sam and Mary and undermines everything that’s happened between Sarah and Charles. It shows a much deeper understanding... (full context)
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...must never meet alone again. She nods and turns away. Charles watches Sam bent over Mary, filled more and more with feelings he tries to reject. Suddenly Mary pushes Sam away... (full context)
Chapter 26
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Sam loves Mary both because of who she is and because of her role in his dreams. He... (full context)
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...thinking about the word because he has guessed who Charles is supposedly trying to help. Mary has mentioned Sarah to him, and Charles is acting strangely. Sam taps his nose. He’s... (full context)
Chapter 32
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...went to Aunt Tranter’s house. When Aunt Tranter came down to the kitchen, she found Mary weeping and soon found out the reason. She gave Mary the morning off until Ernestina... (full context)
Chapter 33
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Sam and Mary are as astonished to see Charles as he is to see them. They’re all frozen... (full context)
Chapter 34
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...that she made of deferring to Charles in every way. But she’s heard through Sam, Mary, and Mrs. Tranter that Charles is leaving Lyme that day, and he hasn’t told her... (full context)
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Mary is standing at the door with red cheeks. Charles makes sure she understands about what... (full context)
Chapter 35
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Mary is not in fact an innocent country virgin, because peasants are rarely innocent. The view... (full context)
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The reader can probably guess now why Sam and Mary were heading to the barn, and Mary was crying because they had been there before.... (full context)
Chapter 42
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...arrangements, he can have the afternoon off. Sam announces that he’s going to propose to Mary, or he would if he didn’t have such a good job with Charles. Charles demands... (full context)
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...astonishment, he says he wants to have a draper’s and haberdasher’s shop, but he and Mary still need to save a lot more money. Charles drinks his tea and eventually asks... (full context)
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Sam is terribly disappointed. Charles assures him that he’ll pay him more if he marries Mary, but Sam isn’t cheered. Charles realizes that Sam knows something of his wealth, and probably... (full context)
Chapter 44
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...His sons and grandsons take it on after him. No one cares about Sam and Mary; they do what people of their class do. Dr. Grogan and Aunt Tranter live into... (full context)
Chapter 49
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Sam is outside the door of Aunt Tranter’s kitchen, talking to Mary, who’s flabbergasted by what he’s telling her. She asks what Ernestina will do, and Sam... (full context)
Chapter 50
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...He’s terrified, but he can’t turn back now that he’s sent his letter to Sarah. Mary answers the door for him, and Ernestina appears behind her. Charles follows her into the... (full context)
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...doesn’t seem quite real. He says he’ll write to Mr. Freeman, and he rings for Mary. Charles meets her in the hall, saying he’s going to get Dr. Grogan and she... (full context)
Chapter 51
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...it’s true. Charles admits that it is. Sam asks what will happen to him and Mary, but Charles brushes him off. He gets out a sheet of paper, but Sam remains,... (full context)
Chapter 52
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Aunt Tranter comes home to disaster. Mary greets her with distress, and Aunt Tranter runs upstairs, where she finds Dr. Grogan. He... (full context)
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When Grogan leaves, Mrs. Tranter goes up to Ernestina’s room, where Mary is sitting with her. Ernestina is asleep, looking very peaceful. Mrs. Tranter notices that Mary... (full context)
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When Mary stops crying, she says that Sam has quit and they don’t know what they’ll do.... (full context)
Chapter 57
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Sam says he can hardly believe what Mary saw, but part of him almost expected it to happen. He knows what Charles did... (full context)
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...that he’ll soon pay for what he’s done. Furthermore, the only secret between him and Mary is what he did with Charles’s letter. He still wants to start a shop of... (full context)
Chapter 59
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In the three months since Mary saw Sarah, she’s given birth to a son. One peaceful evening, Sam is playing with... (full context)