Chapter Summaries & Analyses
Miranda asks Frederick to tell her more about his family, transcribing their conversation as another play-like dialogue. She compares his upbringing to that of the orphan Pip under the abusive Mrs. Joe in Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations; Frederick doesn’t know the reference. Throughout the conversation, Miranda makes Frederick feel less-than by correcting his grammar; he protests that people usually commend his English.
On Miranda’s request, Frederick reads her a letter from his Aunt Annie. Annie worries Frederick will be reckless with his money and warns him against young women, who can only want him for his fortune. When Miranda condemns Annie’s “nasty mind” (170), Frederick defends Annie on the grounds that she adopted him. He argues that Miranda is bossier than Annie: “You teach me to despise her and think like you, and soon you’ll leave me and I’ll have no one at all” (170). Miranda tells him to shut up. After she sees that she’s hurt Frederick’s feelings, she tries to reconcile by telling an invented fairy tale about a monster who imprisons a princess. The princess tries to help the monster become handsome, but the monster seems to like being ugly. The princess promises that the monster will become handsome if he sets her free: he does and transforms into a handsome prince.
By John Fowles