Washington Square


Henry James

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Washington Square: Chapter 20 Summary & Analysis

Morris visits the next day and tells Catherine she has been “cruel” to keep him waiting for so long. He asks Catherine if she will marry him at once, and Catherine haltingly hopes that Dr. Sloper might yet come around to accepting Morris. Morris suggests that Catherine’s fear of Dr. Sloper is stronger than her love for him. They talk about the probability that Catherine will be disinherited if they get married. Catherine, overwhelmed, finally promises to marry Morris as soon as he likes.
If Catherine had hoped to find Morris comforting and understanding, she is disappointed. He doesn’t show sympathy for the impossible conundrum in which Catherine finds herself; he is mainly focused on how Catherine’s dilemma affects him, confirming Dr. Sloper’s perception of him as selfish. Nevertheless, Catherine clings to Morris as her lifeline, weary from standing up for herself against her father and at a loss for what else to do.
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