Washington Square

by

Henry James

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Catherine Sloper Character Analysis

Catherine is the protagonist of Washington Square. She is named after her mother, Mrs. Catherine Harrington Sloper, who died soon after giving birth to her. To her father, Dr. Sloper, the young Catherine is “an inadequate substitute” for both her deceased older brother and her elegant, accomplished mother. Catherine is plain, obedient, truthful, modest, and extremely shy. She enjoys expressing herself through fancy clothing, to her father’s embarrassment. She has an inheritance of almost ten thousand dollars from her mother and will inherit almost twice the amount on Dr. Sloper’s death. She has never attracted suitors, so when Morris Townsend begins to court her, Dr. Sloper assumes he is motivated by money; however, Catherine is in love and, after their engagement, even defies her father to continue writing to and meeting with Morris. She remains faithful to Morris even after Dr. Sloper takes her to Europe as a distraction and angrily confronts her in the Alps. Upon her return to Washington Square, Catherine is far more confident and determined to pursue her own happiness. She is devastated after Morris callously breaks their engagement, and she is never again interested in marriage. Her trust in both her father and her meddlesome Aunt Penniman is also permanently damaged. However, Catherine builds a life as an “admirable old maid” devoted to charitable works. She is reunited with Morris at the end of the novel, and though she’s forgiven him, she refuses to be friends with him again.

Catherine Sloper Quotes in Washington Square

The Washington Square quotes below are all either spoken by Catherine Sloper or refer to Catherine Sloper. 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:
Gaining Independence Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Oxford University Press edition of Washington Square published in 2010.
Chapter 1 Quotes

For a man whose trade was to keep people alive he had certainly done poorly in his own family; and a bright doctor who within three years loses his wife and his little boy should perhaps be prepared to see either his skill or his affection impugned. Our friend, however, escaped criticism: that is, he escaped all criticism but his own, which was much the most competent and most formidable. He walked under the weight of this very private censure for the rest of his days, and bore forever the scars of a castigation to which the strongest hand he knew had treated him on the night that followed his wife’s death.

Page Number: 5
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 2 Quotes

Save when he fell in love with Catherine Harrington, he had never been dazzled, indeed, by any feminine characteristics whatever; and though he was to a certain extent what is called a ladies’ doctor, his private opinion of the more complicated sex was not exalted. He regarded its complications as more curious than edifying, and he had an idea of the beauty of reason, which was on the whole meagrely gratified by what he observed in his female patients. His wife had been a reasonable woman, but she was a bright exception; among several things that he was sure of, this was perhaps the principal. Such a conviction, of course, did little either to mitigate or to abbreviate his widowhood; and it set a limit to his recognition, at the best, of Catherine’s possibilities and of Mrs. Penniman’s ministrations.

Page Number: 7
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 3 Quotes

Her great indulgence of it was really the desire of a rather inarticulate nature to manifest itself; she sought to be eloquent in her garments, and to make up for her diffidence of speech by a fine frankness of costume. But if she expressed herself in her clothes it is certain that people were not to blame for not thinking her a witty person. It must be added that though she had the expectation of a fortune—Dr. Sloper for a long time had been making twenty thousand dollars a year by his profession and laying aside the half of it—the amount of money at her disposal was not greater than the allowance made to many poorer girls. In those days in New York there were still a few altar-fires flickering in the temple of Republican simplicity, and Dr. Sloper would have been glad to see his daughter present herself, with a classic grace, as a priestess of this mild faith. It made him fairly grimace, in private, to think that a child of his should be both ugly and overdressed. For himself, he was fond of the good things of life, and he made a considerable use of them; but he had a dread of vulgarity and even a theory that it was increasing in the society that surrounded him.

Related Characters: Catherine Sloper, Dr. Austin Sloper
Page Number: 11
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7 Quotes

“He is not what I call a gentleman. He has not the soul of one. He is extremely insinuating; but it's a vulgar nature. I saw through it in a minute. He is altogether too familiar—I hate familiarity. He is a plausible coxcomb.”

“Ah, well,” said Mrs. Almond; ‘if you make up your mind so easily, it’s a great advantage.”

“I don’t make up my mind easily. What I tell you is the result of thirty years of observation; and in order to be able to form that judgment in a single evening, I have had to spend a lifetime in study.”

“Very possibly you are right. But the thing is for Catherine to see it.”

“I will present her with a pair of spectacles!” said the Doctor.

Related Characters: Dr. Austin Sloper (speaker), Aunt Elizabeth Almond (speaker), Catherine Sloper, Morris Townsend
Page Number: 35
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 12 Quotes

“And therefore, you mean, I am mercenary—I only want your daughter’s money.”

“I don’t say that. I am not obliged to say it; and to say it, save under stress of compulsion, would be very bad taste. I say simply that you belong to the wrong category.”

“But your daughter doesn’t marry a category,” Townsend urged, with his handsome smile. “She marries an individual—an individual whom she is so good as to say she loves.”

“An individual who offers so little in return!”

“Is it possible to offer more than the most tender affection and a lifelong devotion?” the young man demanded.

“It depends how we take it. It is possible to offer a few other things besides, and not only is it possible, but it’s usual. A lifelong devotion is measured after the fact; and meanwhile it is customary in these cases to give a few material securities. What are yours? A very handsome face and figure, and a very good manner. They are excellent as far as they go, but they don’t go far enough.”

Related Characters: Dr. Austin Sloper (speaker), Morris Townsend (speaker), Catherine Sloper
Page Number: 56
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 14 Quotes

The Doctor eyed her a moment. “You women are all the same! But the type to which your brother belongs was made to be the ruin of you, and you were made to be its handmaids and victims. The sign of the type in question is the determination—sometimes terrible in its quiet intensity—to accept nothing of life but its pleasures, and to secure these pleasures chiefly by the aid of your complaisant sex. Young men of this class never do anything for themselves that they can get other people to do for them, and it is the infatuation, the devotion, the superstition of others, that keeps them going. These others in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred are women. What our young friends chiefly insist upon is that someone else shall suffer for them; and women do that sort of thing, as you must know, wonderfully well.” The Doctor paused a moment, and then he added abruptly, “You have suffered immensely for your brother!”

Page Number: 66
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 15 Quotes

She only had an idea that if she should be very good, the situation would in some mysterious manner improve. To be good, she must be patient, respectful, abstain from judging her father too harshly, and from committing any act of open defiance. […] She could not imagine herself imparting any kind of knowledge to her father, there was something superior even in his injustice and absolute in his mistakes. But she could at least be good, and if she were only good enough. Heaven would invent some way of reconciling all things—the dignity of her father’s errors and the sweetness of her own confidence, the strict performance of her filial duties and the enjoyment of Morris Townsend’s affection.

Page Number: 72
Explanation and Analysis:

Mrs. Penniman’s real hope was that the girl would make a secret marriage, at which she should officiate as brideswoman or duenna. She had a vision of this ceremony being performed in some subterranean chapel—subterranean chapels in New York were not frequent, but Mrs. Penniman’s imagination was not chilled by trifles—and of the guilty couple—she liked to think of poor Catherine and her suitor as the guilty couple—being shuffled away in a fastwhirling vehicle to some obscure lodging in the suburbs, where she would pay them (in a thick veil) clandestine visits, where they would endure a period of romantic privation, and where ultimately, after she should have been their earthly providence, their intercessor, their advocate, and their medium of communication with the world, they should be reconciled to her brother in an artistic tableau, in which she herself should be somehow the central figure. She hesitated as yet to recommend this course to Catherine, but she attempted to draw an attractive picture of it to Morris Townsend.

Page Number: 72
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 18 Quotes

Catherine sat alone by the parlour fire—sat there for more than an hour, lost in her meditations. Her aunt seemed to her aggressive and foolish, and to see it so clearly—to judge Mrs. Penniman so positively—made her feel old and grave. She did not resent the imputation of weakness; it made no impression on her, for she had not the sense of weakness, and she was not hurt at not being appreciated. She had an immense respect for her father, and she felt that to displease him would be a misdemeanour analogous to an act of profanity in a great temple: but her purpose had slowly ripened, and she believed that her prayers had purified it of its violence. The evening advanced, and the lamp burned dim without her noticing it; her eyes were fixed upon her terrible plan.

Page Number: 85
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 21 Quotes

“[…] The two things are extremely mixed up, and the mixture is extremely odd. It will produce some third element, and that’s what I am waiting to see. I wait with suspense—with positive excitement; and that is a sort of emotion that I didn’t suppose Catherine would ever provide for me. I am really very much obliged to her.”

“She will cling,” said Mrs. Almond; “she will certainly cling.”

“Yes; as I say, she will stick.”

“Cling is prettier. That’s what those very simple natures always do, and nothing could be simpler than Catherine. She doesn’t take many impressions; but when she takes one she keeps it. She is like a copper kettle that receives a dent; you may polish up the kettle, but you can’t efface the mark.”

“We must try and polish up Catherine,” said the Doctor. “I will take her to Europe.”

Related Characters: Dr. Austin Sloper (speaker), Aunt Elizabeth Almond (speaker), Catherine Sloper
Page Number: 100
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 22 Quotes

“I sometimes think that if I do what you dislike so much, I ought not to stay with you.”

“To stay with me?”

“If I live with you, I ought to obey you.”

“If that’s your theory, it’s certainly mine,” said the Doctor, with a dry laugh.

“But if I don’t obey you, I ought not to live with you—to enjoy your kindness and protection.”

This striking argument gave the Doctor a sudden sense of having underestimated his daughter; it seemed even more than worthy of a young woman who had revealed the quality of unaggressive obstinacy. But it displeased him—displeased him deeply, and he signified as much. “That idea is in very bad taste,” he said. “Did you get it from Mr. Townsend?”

“Oh no; it’s my own!” said Catherine eagerly.

“Keep it to yourself, then,” her father answered, more than ever determined she should go to Europe.

Related Characters: Catherine Sloper (speaker), Dr. Austin Sloper (speaker), Morris Townsend
Page Number: 107
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 23 Quotes

Her father’s displeasure had cost the girl, as we know, a great deal of deep-welling sorrow—sorrow of the purest and most generous kind, without a touch of resentment or rancour; but for the first time, after he had dismissed with such contemptuous brevity her apology for being a charge upon him, there was a spark of anger in her grief. She had felt his contempt; it had scorched her; that speech about her bad taste made her ears burn for three days. During this period she was less considerate; she had an idea—a rather vague one, but it was agreeable to her sense of injury—that now she was absolved from penance, and might do what she chose. She chose to write to Morris Townsend to meet her in the Square and take her to walk about the town. If she were going to Europe out of respect to her father, she might at least give herself this satisfaction. She felt in every way at present more free and more resolute; there was a force that urged her. Now at last, completely and unreservedly, her passion possessed her.

Page Number: 108
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 24 Quotes

After a while the Doctor descried a footpath which, leading through a transverse valley, would bring them out, as he justly supposed, at a much higher point of the ascent. They followed this devious way and finally lost the path; the valley proved very wild and rough, and their walk became rather a scramble. […] Then, abruptly, in a low tone, he asked her an unexpected question—“Have you given him up?”

The question was unexpected, but Catherine was only superficially unprepared. “No, father!” she answered.

He looked at her again, for some moments, without speaking. “Does he write to you?” he asked.

“Yes—about twice a month.”

The Doctor looked up and down the valley, swinging his stick; then he said to her, in the same low tone—“I am very angry.”

She wondered what he meant—whether he wished to frighten her. If he did, the place was well chosen; this hard, melancholy dell, abandoned by the summer light, made her feel her loneliness.

Related Characters: Catherine Sloper (speaker), Dr. Austin Sloper (speaker), Morris Townsend
Related Symbols: The Alps
Page Number: 114
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 25 Quotes

“You were angry last year that I wouldn’t marry immediately, and now you talk about my winning my father over. You told me it would serve him right if he should take me to Europe for nothing. Well, he has taken me for nothing, and you ought to be satisfied. Nothing is changed—nothing but my feeling about father. I don’t mind nearly so much now. I have been as good as I could, but he doesn’t care. Now I don’t care either. I don’t know whether I have grown bad; perhaps I have. But I don’t care for that. I have come home to be married—that’s all I know. That ought to please you, unless you have taken up some new idea; you are so strange. You may do as you please; but you must never speak to me again about pleading with father. I shall never plead with him for anything; that is all over. He has put me off. I am come home to be married.”

Page Number: 122
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 26 Quotes

“I wouldn’t say such a thing without being sure. I saw it, I felt it, in England, just before he came away. He talked to me one night—the last night; and then it came over me. You can tell when a person feels that way. I wouldn’t accuse him if he hadn’t made me feel that way. I don’t accuse him; I just tell you that that’s how it is. He can’t help it; we can’t govern our affections. Do I govern mine? mightn’t he say that to me? It’s because he is so fond of my mother, whom we lost so long ago. She was beautiful, and very, very brilliant; he is always thinking of her. I am not at all like her; Aunt Penniman has told me that. Of course it isn’t my fault; but neither is it his fault. All I mean is, it’s true; and it’s a stronger reason for his never being reconciled than simply his dislike for you.”

Page Number: 125
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 28 Quotes

[…] [S]he had accustomed herself to the thought that, if Morris should decidedly not be able to get her brother’s money, it would not do for him to marry Catherine without it. […] She had grown first to regard [this idea] with an emotion which she flattered herself was philosophic, and then to have a secret tenderness for it. The fact that she kept her tenderness secret proves, of course, that she was ashamed of it […] In the first place, Morris must get the money, and she would help him to it. In the second, it was plain it would never come to him, and it would be a grievous pity he should marry without it—a young man who might so easily find something better. After her brother had delivered himself, on his return from Europe, of that incisive little address that has been quoted, Morris’s cause seemed so hopeless that Mrs. Penniman fixed her attention exclusively upon the latter branch of her argument. If Morris had been her son, she would certainly have sacrificed Catherine to a superior conception of his future; and to be ready to do so as the case stood was therefore even a finer degree of devotion. Nevertheless, it checked her breath a little to have the sacrificial knife, as it were, suddenly thrust into her hand.

Page Number: 132
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 29 Quotes

“When persons are going to be married, they oughtn’t to think so much about business. You shouldn’t think about cotton, you should think about me. You can go to New Orleans some other time—there will always be plenty of cotton. It isn’t the moment to choose—we have waited too long already.” She spoke more forcibly and volubly than he had ever heard her, and she held his arm in her two hands.

“You said you wouldn’t make a scene!” cried Morris. “I call this a scene.”

“It’s you that are making it! I have never asked you anything before. We have waited too long already.” And it was a comfort to her to think that she had hitherto asked so little; it seemed to make her right to insist the greater now.

Related Characters: Catherine Sloper (speaker), Morris Townsend (speaker)
Page Number: 139
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 30 Quotes

“Is it you then that have changed him and made him so unnatural?” Catherine cried. “Is it you that have worked on him and taken him from me! He doesn’t belong to you, and I don’t see how you have anything to do with what is between us! Is it you that have made this plot and told him to leave me? How could you be so wicked, so cruel? What have I ever done to you; why can’t you leave me alone? I was afraid you would spoil everything; for you do spoil everything you touch! I was afraid of you all the time we were abroad; I had no rest when I thought that you were always talking to him.” Catherine went on with growing vehemence, pouring out in her bitterness and in the clairvoyance of her passion (which suddenly, jumping all processes, made her judge her aunt finally and without appeal), the uneasiness which had lain for so many months upon her heart.

Related Characters: Catherine Sloper (speaker), Morris Townsend, Aunt Lavinia Penniman
Page Number: 148
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 32 Quotes

Catherine, at the time of these events, had left her thirtieth year well behind her, and had quite taken her place as an old maid. Her father would have preferred she should marry, and he once told her that he hoped she would not be too fastidious. […] Catherine, however, became an admirable old maid. She formed habits, regulated her days upon a system of her own, interested herself in charitable institutions, asylums, hospitals, and aid-societies, and went generally, with an even and noiseless step, about the rigid business of her life.

Related Characters: Catherine Sloper, Dr. Austin Sloper
Page Number: 157
Explanation and Analysis:

From her own point of view the great facts of her career were that Morris Townsend had trifled with her affection, and that her father had broken its spring. Nothing could ever alter these facts; they were always there, like her name, her age, her plain face. Nothing could ever undo the wrong or cure the pain that Morris had inflicted on her, and nothing could ever make her feel towards her father as she felt in her younger years. There was something dead in her life, and her duty was to try and fill the void.

Page Number: 158
Explanation and Analysis:
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Catherine Sloper Character Timeline in Washington Square

The timeline below shows where the character Catherine Sloper appears in Washington Square. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Class, Wealth, and Social Status Theme Icon
...circles in New York. He has led a fortunate life—as a young man, he married Catherine Harrington, a charming woman whose substantial dowry had helped Dr. Sloper establish his practice. Aside... (full context)
Loss and Idealization Theme Icon
Women’s Limited Freedoms Theme Icon
...boy, died at age three, despite Dr. Sloper’s best medical efforts. Two years later, Mrs. Catherine Harrington Sloper gave birth to a daughter, Catherine, “an inadequate substitute” for the son, and... (full context)
Chapter 2
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Reason, Romanticism, and Blind Spots Theme Icon
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When Catherine is about 10, Dr. Sloper invites his sister, Lavinia Penniman, who has been left a... (full context)
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Catherine herself is healthy and plain, but not beautiful. She is good, obedient, modest, and truthful.... (full context)
Gaining Independence Theme Icon
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By the time Catherine is 18, Dr. Sloper has largely reconciled himself to his disappointment in his daughter and... (full context)
Chapter 3
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While she is inarticulate, Catherine enjoys expressing herself through a somewhat ornate wardrobe—“[making] up for her diffidence of speech by... (full context)
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...and her large family live uptown in an area which still retains some “rural picturesqueness.” Catherine grew up close to her nine Almond cousins and enjoyed boisterous games with them. Now,... (full context)
Chapter 4
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At the party, Catherine’s cousin, Marian Almond, introduces her to a young man, the cousin of her own fiancé,... (full context)
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Catherine continues to find Morris’s conversation very amusing. She thinks he talks “the way a young... (full context)
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Later, when Dr. Sloper asks Catherine if she has enjoyed the party, Catherine “dissembles” for a second time, saying only that... (full context)
Chapter 5
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A few days later, Arthur and Morris Townsend pay a visit to Washington Square. Catherine tells Arthur that his cousin Morris seems “like a foreigner,” and Arthur says that some... (full context)
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After the young men leave, Aunt Penniman tells Catherine that she believes Morris is “coming a-courting.” Given that Morris has “barely heard the sound... (full context)
Chapter 6
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...Aunt Penniman thinks, “That’s the sort of husband I should have had!” This time, though, Catherine sees him alone. Morris talks in a friendly way and asks Catherine about herself while... (full context)
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That night, Dr. Sloper teases Catherine, asking her if Morris proposed to her that day. Catherine wishes she had a readier... (full context)
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Mrs. Almond defends Catherine, pointing out that she has her own style, but that she seems older than her... (full context)
Chapter 7
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...quickly of having mercenary motives, and he is curious whether a young man might love Catherine for her “moral worth.” He tells Mrs. Penniman to invite Morris to dinner the next... (full context)
Gaining Independence Theme Icon
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...great “powers of invention.” Morris can tell Dr. Sloper doesn’t care for him and tells Catherine, who replies that she never contradicts her father and that his opinion matters to her... (full context)
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Later, when Dr. Sloper talks with Mrs. Almond, he says that Catherine will have to get over her feelings for Morris, because he is “not a gentleman,”... (full context)
Chapter 8
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Morris visits Catherine more and more, and Catherine is very happy. Though she is in love, she has... (full context)
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...fortune would suit him to perfection!” Aunt Penniman is disgusted by this statement, asserting that Catherine is not a “weak-minded woman.” (full context)
Chapter 9
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...at Aunt Almond’s house, the Slopers are visiting their relatives, and Morris joins the party. Catherine, aware that Dr. Sloper doesn’t like Morris, shrinks from his gaze as Morris sits by... (full context)
Gaining Independence Theme Icon
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Meanwhile, Morris asks Catherine if she will meet him somewhere in private, as he has something particular to say... (full context)
Chapter 10
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The next day Morris comes to the Slopers’ house as expected. Having told Catherine that he loves her, he now tells her that they must settle things. Catherine knows... (full context)
Chapter 11
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That evening Catherine goes to Dr. Sloper’s study and tells him that she is engaged to Morris. Dr.... (full context)
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Catherine says that Dr. Sloper thinks Morris “mercenary,” and Dr. Sloper concedes that this is true,... (full context)
Chapter 12
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...visit. He tells Morris that he ought to have spoken to him before proposing to Catherine. Morris replies that he had thought Catherine to be “her own mistress.” Dr. Sloper replies... (full context)
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...a profession, or prospects, and it would be completely imprudent for Dr. Sloper to let Catherine, “a weak woman with a large fortune,” marry him. (full context)
Class, Wealth, and Social Status Theme Icon
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...call Morris “mercenary,” but that he does belong to “the wrong category.” Morris protests that Catherine isn’t marrying a category, but an individual. Dr. Sloper replies that he’s an “individual who... (full context)
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Reason, Romanticism, and Blind Spots Theme Icon
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...go back and forth about Morris’s past dealings with money and their possible impact on Catherine. Morris admits that he was wild and foolish in his previous spending, but says that... (full context)
Chapter 13
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Dr. Sloper continues to rely on the belief that Catherine’s longstanding admiration for him will win out over her newfound love for Morris. Aunt Almond... (full context)
Chapter 14
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...gentleman.” He asks Mrs. Montgomery to tell him about Morris’s character for the sake of Catherine, who is “such an easy victim.” He explains about Catherine’s inheritance from her mother and... (full context)
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...much. He explains that although Morris seems like excellent company, he appears ill-suited to be Catherine’s caretaker and protector. He is “in the habit of trusting [his] impression,” though Mrs. Montgomery... (full context)
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...to explain that men like Morris exploit the devotion of women like Mrs. Montgomery and Catherine in order to pursue their own pleasures in life. (full context)
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...Mrs. Montgomery financial support if she will help put a stop to his marriage to Catherine. (full context)
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...pressure to speak ill of Morris’s character, but she finally bursts out with, “Don’t let [Catherine] marry him!” Dr. Sloper leaves with a feeling of moral satisfaction. (full context)
Chapter 15
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Dr. Sloper is puzzled and almost disappointed by Catherine’s passive, unemotional response to his rejection of her engagement; he assumes she will do as... (full context)
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Catherine obeys Dr. Sloper’s orders not to see Morris, but she exchanges letters with him. She... (full context)
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...meanwhile, is not much help. She can only daydream about a fantasy scenario in which Catherine and Morris are secretly married, with herself playing some heroic role in the arrangements. She... (full context)
Chapter 16
Class, Wealth, and Social Status Theme Icon
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...tries to convince him that Dr. Sloper will never be reconciled to his romance with Catherine; he must marry Catherine first and tell Dr. Sloper after the fact. (“The woman’s an... (full context)
Chapter 17
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That evening, when Aunt Penniman tells Catherine about her meeting with Morris, Catherine feels angry for almost the first time in her... (full context)
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Aunt Penniman thinks that she has never seen such a “dark fixedness in [Catherine’s] gaze.” Catherine says that she doesn’t think her aunt really knows her. Aunt Penniman doesn’t... (full context)
Chapter 18
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That evening Catherine sits in front of the fire for more than an hour, thinking. Recognizing Aunt Penniman’s... (full context)
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To Catherine’s surprise, Dr. Sloper greets her confession with an embrace. He explains that if she wishes... (full context)
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Catherine tries not to show emotion, since her goal is “to effect some gentle, gradual change... (full context)
Chapter 19
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...Dr. Sloper speaks with Aunt Penniman, saying that anything she does by way of “giving [Catherine] aid and comfort” in her efforts to see Morris will be “treasonable,” which is “a... (full context)
Chapter 20
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Morris visits the next day and tells Catherine she has been “cruel” to keep him waiting for so long. He asks Catherine if... (full context)
Chapter 21
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Aunt Almond finds Dr. Sloper cold-blooded in his amusement at Catherine’s determination to “stick.” Dr. Sloper says that he has never expected Catherine to provide him... (full context)
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...Mrs. Penniman is inconsistent, and that it would be awkward to back out now, as Catherine has already agreed to a private marriage. Aunt Penniman is pleased at this news and... (full context)
Chapter 22
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Morris avoids setting a date for a private wedding. He doesn’t want to risk losing Catherine and her possible fortune from Dr. Sloper altogether, but he also doesn’t want to act... (full context)
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Catherine, meanwhile, trusts Morris so completely “that she [is] incapable of suspecting that he [is] playing... (full context)
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After a period of tension in the Slopers’ home, Dr. Sloper tells Catherine to put off her marriage for six months; he would like to take her to... (full context)
Chapter 23
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Dr. Sloper’s contemptuous dismissal of Catherine’s words cause, for the first time, “a spark of anger in her grief.” She begins... (full context)
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...no effort to befriend Mrs. Montgomery. She becomes increasingly convinced that Morris ought to enjoy Catherine’s inheritance. (full context)
Chapter 24
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...about his daughter’s engagement, and she is his “docile and reasonable associate” throughout their sightseeing. Catherine continues to secretly correspond with Morris behind her father’s back; still stung by his response... (full context)
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One day, toward the end of the summer, Dr. Sloper and Catherine are hiking in a remote Alpine pass and lose their way. Abruptly, Dr. Sloper asks... (full context)
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Catherine wonders if Dr. Sloper has had some plan in bringing her here—either to frighten her... (full context)
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Dr. Sloper reiterates that he is furious. He says that if Catherine marries Morris, she will be left to starve in a place as desolate as the... (full context)
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...months, until they’re in Liverpool, the night before they embark for New York. He asks Catherine to give him three days’ warning before she “goes off” with Morris to marry him.... (full context)
Chapter 25
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The night they arrive back in New York, Aunt Penniman chatters away to Catherine about how well she has gotten to know Morris in the past year. Catherine is... (full context)
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Aunt Penniman asks whether Catherine succeeded in her efforts to sway Dr. Sloper while they were abroad, and Catherine explains... (full context)
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Catherine abruptly asks why Aunt Penniman seems to change her mind so much, at one time... (full context)
Chapter 26
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Catherine and Morris are reunited the next day. Catherine is excited and imagines that their troubles... (full context)
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When Morris continues to press the issue, Catherine calmly dissuades him, explaining that it’s now clear to her that her father isn’t fond... (full context)
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Catherine entreats Morris to be kind to her because of how much she’s given up for... (full context)
Chapter 27
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Dr. Sloper complains to Aunt Almond that Catherine has come home as immovable as he is on the subject of Morris; Aunt Almond... (full context)
Chapter 28
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...light of Dr. Sloper’s immovable attitude, he must “know when he is beaten” and give Catherine up. Aunt Penniman is not shocked, as she had already concluded that Morris must not... (full context)
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Morris, however, is ashamed. He asks Aunt Penniman to let Catherine down easily, explaining that he’s acting this way because he can’t bear to step between... (full context)
Chapter 29
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As it turns out, Aunt Penniman shrinks from the task of telling Catherine of Morris’s plan, which means that Morris finds himself paying numerous uncomfortable visits to Washington... (full context)
Chapter 30
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Catherine gives herself over to her grief; “it seemed to her that a mask had suddenly... (full context)
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When Aunt Penniman mentions something about a “separation,” Catherine suddenly realizes the full extent of her aunt’s “meddlesome folly,” and she unleashes her anger... (full context)
Chapter 31
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A few days later, Catherine receives an eloquent letter from Morris, explaining that he doesn’t want to come between her... (full context)
Chapter 32
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As time goes on, Catherine remains “deeply and incurably wounded,” but Dr. Sloper has no way of knowing this—“his punishment... (full context)
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In the coming years, Catherine “[recovers] her self-possession,” but she chooses never to marry again, even though she has opportunities:... (full context)
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As far as Catherine is concerned, the two major events of her life are that “Morris Townsend had trifled... (full context)
Chapter 33
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Dr. Sloper eventually retires, and one day, to Catherine’s surprise, he asks her to promise that she won’t marry Morris—who has apparently been in... (full context)
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...that his will consists of two parts—a first part leaving most of his wealth to Catherine, and a second, more recent addendum, reducing Catherine’s inheritance to one-fifth of what it had... (full context)
Chapter 34
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One summer evening some years later, Aunt Penniman surprises Catherine with the news that she’s lately seen Morris at Marian’s house. She says that Morris... (full context)
Chapter 35
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A week later, Aunt Penniman again asks if Catherine is willing to see Morris. Though Catherine has long since forgiven her aunt’s meddling, she... (full context)
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Just then, the doorbell rings, and before Catherine can leave the room, Morris Townsend is announced. When Catherine finally turns to look at... (full context)
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...they can be friends again and says that he has never ceased to think of Catherine. Catherine tells him that although she’s forgiven him, she will not consent to be friends... (full context)