The Picture of Dorian Gray Chapters 11 - 12 Summary

The book which Lord Henry has given to Dorian, has taken him in a new direction. He buys nine editions of the book and he is continually reading and rereading the book. It is a story about a young man from Paris, who spends his life trying to explore all the passions and methods of thought from every century, except from the century in which the he exists. The book is full of references to mythological beings, historical figures, and symbolism, the book to Dorian represents his life before he has lived it.

He is also dogged by the nagging worry that someone might see the painting and discover his secret. He has had special bars put on the door to the room in which it is stored, but he finds himself more and more drawn to the room. He leaves parties and doesn't travel as much as he used to, to be close to the picture. The picture is showing his aging body and the stain of his sins on his face. He is happy to see the effects of living on the picture and not on his body. He lives life without caring very much about the social implications of his actions. He does fulfill his social obligations by having parties and also attending parties of his friends and social acquaintances. He is seen by some as the standard by which all others should strive to attain, in fashion and beauty.

He is fascinated by the need to have sensual experiences. He tries to do this through the study of perfumes, music, needlework, and gems. He also uses these times to push away the fear of being discovered for who he really is, a person who is actually aging and whose face shows the results of his sins. He is terrified someone will see the painting.

He becomes enamored of the Catholic Church because of the rituals of the church, but he does not join the Catholic Church. Dorian is enamored of anything which causes him to experience life in a way which he has not ever experienced it before.

He looks at the portraits of his ancestors lined up in the picture gallery of his home. He wonders, as he examines each ancestor's picture, if some of their blood and desire to remain young and beautiful caused him to be the person he is. He wonders if the wish, he made, was possible by some trait passed down to him through the generations.

He does feel some remorse for the way he has lived his life. It is part of the terror that goes along with the joy of the picture. He is afraid at times to look at the portrait, because it does reflect every act of evil and cruelty he has committed.

His life has changed, because of the book Lord Henry gave him. He has taken the book to heart and the book is tainting his view of life and those who he comes into contact.

On the night of his thirty-eighth birthday, Dorian and Basil meet on the sidewalk as Dorian is walking home Lord Henry's. Basil has just left Dorian's house after waiting for him for two hours, because he has something important to talk to Dorian about.

Basil explains to Dorian he is leaving to live in Paris for six months. He has a painting he wants to work on and Paris is the best place for him to work. Before leaving that evening, he has a few things he wants to tell Dorian.

It seems Basil has heard rumors about Dorian, which reflect very badly on him. He is told that Dorian is responsible, through influence and association, for the suicide of a young man, the ruined reputations of several young men and women, and other men will not stay in the same room as Dorian. Basil does not want to believe a word of these accusations, but he needs to hear from his friend the truth.

Dorian claims people leave the room, because he knows the secrets of their lives and they are frightened of him. He is not responsible for the actions of those whom he is acquainted with. He also thinks people of the middle class find joy in gossiping about the lives of the upper classes.

Basil is still not convinced, as he has seen how Dorian has based his life on filling it with only pleasure. He also points out the effect Dorian has had on Lord Henry's sister, Lady Gwendolen. She had a spotless reputation, until Dorian came into her life and now she is shunned by the ladies of her same social standing. Basil tells Dorian he wishes he could see his soul, but only God can see a man's soul.

With this statement Dorian makes a decision, he is going to show Basil the picture. Basil is reluctant to go with Dorian to the room, in which the picture is stored. He tells Basil he has kept a diary of his life, which will show Basil who he really is. Basil, thinking it would take hours to read the diaries, is reluctant to go with Dorian. All he wants is an answer to the charges which have been leveled at Dorian. Instead Dorian is insistent that Basil accompany him to the school-room.

Dorian has been influenced by a book Lord Henry loaned him. He has let its contents permeate every crevice of his life. This has led to having his reputation tarnished and Dorian's fear of the picture being discovered. Basil wants to know the truth about Dorian's life, but is reluctant to be faced with the bold facts of how Dorian lives. Dorian has decided to share the secret of the picture with Basil.

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