The French Lieutenant's Woman Chapters 57-59 Summary
by John Fowles

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Chapters 57-59 Summary

The novel now jumps ahead almost two years. The scene involves Sam and Mary, who are now married and have one child and another on the way. They are living in a rental house in London, and Sam is working for Ernestina’s father, Mr. Freeman. Sam still dreams of owning his own business, but Mary insists that he wait.

Sam had appealed to Mrs. Tranter immediately after he quit his job with Charles. He played on Mrs. Tranter’s good nature and willingness to help people in trouble. Eventually Sam revealed (though he pretended to be reluctant at first) Sarah’s name in association with Charles’s having broken his engagement to Ernestina. This endeared him somewhat to Mr. Freeman, who shortly afterward offered Sam a job. Mr. Freeman discovered that Sam gained some polished habits from spending so much time under Charles’s influence: he dresses sharply, is well mannered, and deals appropriately and kindly with the store’s customers. Furthermore, Sam possesses a natural flourish when it comes to window dressing. His displays at the front of Mr. Freeman’s store attract many new customers. For this, Sam is well paid. His salary has steadily risen, which more than pleases Mary.

Charles, in the meantime, has spent his time traveling all over Europe. His travels do not offer much relief from his depression. Although he does not feel as suicidal as some of the poetry he reads, he is often lost in melancholy. He has hired detectives to continue to look for Sarah but with no success.

The one aspect of being outside of England that suits Charles the most is that the foreign languages and cultures provide women who do not resemble Sarah. He sometimes feels attracted to women, but not once does he imagine that he sees Sarah in the French, German, or Italian women he meets. This provides distraction for his loneliness and sadness, but it never completely alleviates the pain he still suffers from Sarah’s desertion.

He searches for freedom, but it is a freedom enshrouded in despair. However, when he thinks back to the choice he made, he knows it was the right choice even though he suffers. If he had married Ernestina, his life would have been much worse.

One time, while in Paris, Charles meets a gentleman from...

(The entire section is 583 words.)