The French Lieutenant's Woman Chapters 10-11 Summary
by John Fowles

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Chapters 10-11 Summary

The Ware Commons is a small wilderness area outside of Lyme that is filled with trees and bluffs. No one lives in these woods. The forest is thick enough and large enough that some people have been lost inside it. There is little flat land, so walkers must be strong enough to hike its steep hills. Few people wander into this forest because the land offers such a challenge. Sudden, hidden crevices make traversing the land very dangerous.

Charles has wandered into the Ware Commons after searching for fossils on the beach. He climbs up a steep slope and finds a path. After following it for a while, he stops and looks about him. Down below him, lying in the grass, he sees a woman asleep in a meadow. His first instinct is to turn away, but his curiosity brings him closer. The position of the woman’s body, stretched out on her back with her arms splayed out to either side, arouses a physical passion in him. When he walks to the side to see her face, he is surprised to recognize her as Sarah, the woman he saw standing on the Cobb. He wonders why she chose such a wild place to take a nap. He knows no other woman who would have dared. He moves closer to see her better, and she opens her eyes.

For those first few minutes, they can only stare at one another. Charles wants to step back, but there was no way he can hide himself from her. Instead, he holds his ground and apologizes, explaining that he came upon her by accident. He then turns and walks away. Although Charles leaves the woman’s side, he cannot take his mind off her.

Charles feels thirsty from his hike, so he stops at a creamery and buys some milk. As he is drinking, he sees Sarah walk by. When he finishes, he walks quickly behind her and finally catches up to her. Again he apologizes for having startled her in the woods. He tells her that he was concerned she might have become ill....

(The entire section is 530 words.)