illustration of Isabel Archer with a hand fan positioned between two silhouetted profiles

The Portrait of a Lady

by Henry James

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Chapters 16-20 Questions and Answers

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Study Questions
1. What does Caspar say he would like Isabel to teach him?

2. Why is Isabel afraid of Caspar “watching” her?

3. How does the independent, adventurous Isabel describe her “idea of happiness”?

4. To what professional “title” does Henrietta aspire?

5. Where was Madame Merle born?

6. Who is Mr. Hilary?

7. Before Ralph talks to him about his will, how much money does Daniel Touchett plan to leave Isabel?

8. What is Madame Merle’s “great talent”?

9. Does Mr. Luce like the new French government?

10. Where was Ned Rosier raised?

1. Caspar wishes Isabel could teach him how to live alone. Unfortunately, Caspar can’t imagine living without Isabel.

2. She fears his presence will interfere with her “personal independence.”

3. Isabel tells Henrietta that her “idea of happiness” is a “swift carriage, of a dark night, rattling with four horses over roads that one can’t see.”

4. She wants to be the “Queen of American Journalism.”

5. Madame Merle was born in Brooklyn, New York.

6. He is Daniel Touchett’s attorney.

7. Daniel Touchett was going to leave Isabel £5,000—a comfortable sum to help her get started in life, but not enough to cause her problems.

8. Madame Merle’s “great talent” is her “ability to think,” a quality that enables her to plot and scheme while involving herself in the lives of others.

9. No. He is a conservative and finds that Paris is “much less attractive than in the days of the Emperor.”

10. Ned was born in New York, but he had been raised by his father in Paris.

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