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Quotes

The law of the land has made you my master. You can tie up my body, bind my hands, control my actions. You have the right of the stronger, and society confirms you in it. But over my will, Monsieur, you have no power. God alone can bend and subdue it. So look for a law, a dungeon, an instrument of torture that gives you a hold over me! It’s as if you wanted to touch the air and grasp space.

In this quote, Indiana confronts her abusive husband, who has just grabbed her by the hair, thrown her on the ground, and kicked her in the head with his boot heel because of his mistaken belief she is being unfaithful to him. The quote shows Indiana's idealistic worldview and implies that there is a truer, purer, more Rousseau-like state of nature under God's rule, which Indiana can mentally escape to. This will allow her to transcend the abuses that a brutal legal system allows. Indiana thus critiques the way society tries to control women through violence—and says control through violence will fail, at least in her case.

Have you never admired it, never caressed it? Has the damp night air made it lose all its fragrance? Haven’t you one thought, one tear, for the girl who used to wear this ring?

Here, Indiana confronts her lover. She has pretended to give him a piece of her hair, but it is actually the hair of her maid, a person he loved and left. Indiana here again shows her profound idealism about romantic love: if love is eternal, one never mistakes any part of the beloved as belonging to another. Further, love transcends class lines, for it doesn't matter that the former love interest was merely a servant: love is love. (What would Jane Austen say?) As more than one critic has noted, George Sand wrote of the world not as it was but as she wanted it to be, a form of writing more popular in the nineteenth century than today.

Respect [your culture's] laws if they protect you; value its judgments if they are fair to you. But if some day it [the law] slanders and spurns you, have enough pride to be able to do without it.

At the end of the novel, Indiana continues to appeal to a law higher than manmade laws. She is saying here that one must appeal to one's conscience above the law of the land: it is ethical and good to spurn unjust laws. Although couched in romance, these are fighting words from a character created by an author courageously making her own way in a patriarchal world.