Free Study Guide for The Picture of Dorian Gray: Book Summary |
This chapter takes the reader to an entirely different social scene. The world of the Vanes. It serves to humanize Sibyl for the reader by showing her in her roles as daughter and sister. She is innocent as Dorian told Lord Henry she was. She knows nothing of the position which her social class puts her in relation to Dorian Gray. Her brother and her mother do know. For her brother, she will be used and discarded by a rich man. For her mother, she might be lucky enough to get money out of the rich man before he gets tired of her. The chapter closes with the revelation that James and Sibylís father was an aristocrat himself and that their parents never married.
Lord Henry greets Basil Hallward as he arrives at the Bristol for dinner. He tells him the news about Dorianís engagement to Sibyl Vane. Basil is surprised and canít believe itís true. He canít believe Dorian would do something as foolish as to marry an actress in light of his "birth, and position, and wealth." Lord Henry acts nonchalant about the news and Basil is quite worried.
Finally Dorian arrives elated to tell the others of his news. Over dinner he tells them that he proposed to Sibyl on the previous evening after watching her as Rosalind. He kissed her and told her he loved her and she told him she wasnít good enough to be his wife. They are keeping their engagement a secret from her mother. Dorian tells Lord Henry that she will save him from Lord Henryís "wrong, fascinating, poisonous, delightful theories" about life, love, and pleasure. Lord Henry says they arenít his theories but Natureís. Basil Hallward begins to think the engagement will be a good thing for Dorian after all.
As they leave, Lord Henry tells Hallward to take a separate conveyance to the theater since his is large enough only for him and Dorian. As he rides in the carriage behind Lord Henryís, Basil Hallward feels a strong sense of loss, as if Dorian Gray will never again be to him all that he had been in the past. He realizes that life has come between them. He feels, when he arrives at the theater, that he has grown years older.
This chapter plays a structural role in the plot, brining the three men back together before their parting again to go their own ways. Basil seems out of the loop of Dorianís affections almost completely. This status is underlined as he is told to take his own conveyance to the theater alone while Dorian rides with Lord Henry. The engagement to Sibyl seems to be Dorianís last hope of regaining the innocence of youth which he has lost to Lord Henryís theories.
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. 09 May 2017