The French Lieutenant’s Woman: Chapters 13-21

Fowles now seems to claim ownership of his characters, even if he expects them to obey him.  How can they disobey him if he’s writing what they do?

The next time Charles meets Sarah, he is at Mrs. Poulteney’s house in the company of Ernestina and Aunt Tranter.  All of them but Mrs. Tranter and Charles completely ignore Sarah.  So it’s clear that Charles and Sarah have a common enemy:  Mrs. Poulteney.

Mrs. Tranter offers to provide for Sarah, but she refuses.  It isn’t until later that Charles finds out why.

Sarah feels she deserves to be an outcast because of what happened to her.  While the Lieutenant is still recovering at the Talbots’, he makes advances toward Sarah, and she believes he loves her.  But when she refuses to go back to France with him, he is angry with her.  After Sarah tracks him down at an inn, she sees him for what he is:  a lair.  She knows she should leave right then and there, but she can’t.  She gives herself to him.

But why does she stay if she knows he’s a liar?

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