The Bostonians Chapters 3 and 4 Summary and Analysis

Henry James

Chapters 3 and 4 Summary and Analysis


At dinner with Olive, Basil Ransom observes that her home is decorated in the sense of “organised privacy.” He believes this organization, and this privacy, are the signature characteristics of Boston and that Olive Chancellor is the epitome of the unmarried woman. Just as Olive has a public vision of reform, Basil has a private vision, to reform the reformers.

Olive had invited Basil to attend with her a meeting at the home of Miss Birdseye, an pre-Civil War abolitionist and one of the leading reformers for women’s rights. Now, however, having come to know him a bit better, Olive regrets asking him, as she is fairly sure that he will not be sympathetic. She asks him if he does...

(The entire section is 869 words.)