Washington Square

by

Henry James

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Mrs. Montgomery Character Analysis

Mrs. Montgomery, a widow with five children, is Morris Townsend’s sister. Dr. Sloper visits her to learn more about Morris’s character. Mrs. Montgomery resists Dr. Sloper’s pressure to give him evidence against Morris, but admits that he’s caused her to suffer financially and finally tells him, “Don’t let him marry [Catherine].”

Mrs. Montgomery Quotes in Washington Square

The Washington Square quotes below are all either spoken by Mrs. Montgomery or refer to Mrs. Montgomery. 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 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:
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Mrs. Montgomery Character Timeline in Washington Square

The timeline below shows where the character Mrs. Montgomery appears in Washington Square. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 9
Class, Wealth, and Social Status Theme Icon
Reason, Romanticism, and Blind Spots Theme Icon
...New York for opportunities elsewhere. Morris explains that he has obligations to his widowed sister, Mrs. Montgomery , helping to bring up her children. Dr. Sloper resolves to meet Mrs. Montgomery. (full context)
Chapter 13
Reason, Romanticism, and Blind Spots Theme Icon
...so, but to give him the benefit of the doubt, he will meet Morris’s sister, Mrs. Montgomery . (full context)
Chapter 14
Class, Wealth, and Social Status Theme Icon
Reason, Romanticism, and Blind Spots Theme Icon
Women’s Limited Freedoms Theme Icon
Dr. Sloper meets with Morris’s sister, Mrs. Montgomery , at her house, whose exterior suggests she is a “thrifty and self-respecting” person. He... (full context)
Reason, Romanticism, and Blind Spots Theme Icon
Women’s Limited Freedoms Theme Icon
Mrs. Montgomery thinks for a while and asks what makes Dr. Sloper dislike her brother Morris so... (full context)
Reason, Romanticism, and Blind Spots Theme Icon
Women’s Limited Freedoms Theme Icon
When Mrs. Montgomery hesitantly admits that her brother can be selfish, Dr. Sloper says, “You women are all... (full context)
Class, Wealth, and Social Status Theme Icon
Reason, Romanticism, and Blind Spots Theme Icon
Women’s Limited Freedoms Theme Icon
Dr. Sloper imagines that Mrs. Montgomery has “suffered immensely” because of her brother, and she admits this. Dr. Sloper explains that... (full context)
Reason, Romanticism, and Blind Spots Theme Icon
Women’s Limited Freedoms Theme Icon
Almost in tears, Mrs. Montgomery resists Dr. Sloper’s pressure to speak ill of Morris’s character, but she finally bursts out... (full context)
Chapter 23
Loss and Idealization Theme Icon
Class, Wealth, and Social Status Theme Icon
Reason, Romanticism, and Blind Spots Theme Icon
...disapproves of her sister’s friendship with Morris, and Aunt Penniman makes no effort to befriend Mrs. Montgomery . She becomes increasingly convinced that Morris ought to enjoy Catherine’s inheritance. (full context)