The French Lieutenant's Woman Chapters 27-29 Summary
by John Fowles

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Chapters 27-29 Summary

Charles arrives at Dr. Grogan’s office. He must speak to someone about Sarah and his involvement with her. Dr. Grogan listens as Charles relates his meetings with Sarah in the woods and the things she has told him about herself. After listening, Dr. Grogan, a man with many years of experience with human nature and all its contortions, makes up a scenario for Charles’s benefit. Pretending to be Sarah, Dr. Grogan improvises a storyline as if he were stating Sarah’s thoughts. He recounts, as Sarah, how she has found an attractive and intelligent man who has empathy for her plight. She is taken by this man, as she had previously been taken by the French lieutenant. Through this man, she hopes to gain a better life.

After he finishes his interpretation of what Sarah must be thinking, Dr. Grogan tells Charles that he had gone to Mrs. Poulteney’s house (where Sarah was employed) and heard what had happened. While there, Mrs. Fairley (Mrs. Poulteney’s head servant) told the doctor that she had been at the dairy and had seen Sarah walking boldly out of the woods. Because Mrs. Poulteney had strictly forbidden her going to the woods, the old woman had no choice but to fire Sarah for her defiance and expel Sarah from the house. The doctor questions why Sarah would have allowed herself to be found out in this way unless it was part of a scheme to solicit more empathy from Charles. The doctor than assures Charles that Sarah is not an evil woman; rather, she is a mentally ill one. She needs help—but not the kind Charles can offer.

Dr. Grogan next challenges Charles to admit his feelings for Sarah. At first Charles is unwilling to do so. However, he finally confesses that he has fallen for Sarah, almost to the point that he feels compelled to care for her. Grogan suggests that Charles go away and let him take care of Sarah. Grogan will go to the woods to meet with her and tell her that Charles has been called away. Grogan also encourages Charles to tell Ernestina about his involvement with Sarah. Before Charles leaves his office, Dr. Grogan gives him a book to read. Then he tells Charles about a special hospital for those with mental problems like Sarah’s. He will try to get her to go there. Charles tells Grogan that he will pay for the cost of Sarah’s treatment.

Charles goes home but cannot sleep. He reads the book Grogan has given him. In it are stories of women whose suppressed emotions...

(The entire section is 670 words.)