The Duchess and the Jeweller Complete Summary and Analysis

The Duchess and the Jeweller Complete Summary and Analysis

  • October 25, 2022
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The Duchess and the Jeweller Comple...
The Duchess and the Jeweller Complete Summary and Analysis

The story starts with the description of a major character named Oliver Bacon. It is clear from the summary analysis of The Duchess and the Jeweller that the writer talks about past events. The writer tells more about Oliver Bacon. He lives in a house from where he can see Green Park. The author sketches some images from inside the room where Oliver Bacon lives. He lives in a small flat, which the writer describes at the beginning of the story. Some important images that she portrays at the start of the story are chairs, sofas, windows, whiskeys and liqueur. There are three windows in the flat. From the centre window, the character can see the vehicles that have been parked; however, he can only see their roofs from the top.

The writer portrays an imaginary situation. She reveals the earlier life of the character. Oliver Bacon was a thief. The readers come to know more about him. He is an ambitious person. He wants to gain something in life but without any ethics. Also, he wants it by hook or by crook.

The writer of the story, Virginia Woolf is famous for using the technique of stream of consciousness in stories as well as in her novels. It is a technique in which a writer portrays past events as a character recalls them from his consciousness. The character recalls his memory and the writer portrays everything in detail, which is a stream of consciousness. In simple words, stream of consciousness means streaming the events from consciousness (memory, mind). In The Duchess and the Jeweller too, the writer creates a summary of past events for the purpose of analysis.

It seems that a man recollects events from the earlier days of his life when he was a thief. He used to sell stolen dogs to fashionable ladies of his society. He also remembers the incident when his mother scolds him. She always advises him to be a wise man. One of the major and important incidents that the character recalls from his memory is of three diamonds; however, nothing is clear regarding them what the character did to those three diamonds but he certainly gained a good commission from them. 

The writer talks about the journey of Oliver Bacon, who does not have a good past but it is crystal clear that he achieved something in his life. The most important turn in his life is when he meets some jewellers. He becomes a good young jeweller. He makes his name among many prominent and expert jewellers of his era. Also, he changes his lifestyle. The writer specifically mentions that “he dressed better and better” and “first a hansom cab;  then a car”, which indicates his progress over time. He then owns a villa in Richmond but how he fell to live in a flat from such a lavish lifestyle is still unknown to the readers. 

There is still suspense in the story. Oliver Bacon talks to a portrait that is on the wall. He assures that he has kept his word. Perhaps he has promised something to, whose portrait is on the wall. At a later stage, the portrait is disclosed as his mother. It has also been revealed that Oliver Bacon won some kind of bet that was between him and his mother. He became a successful jeweller in the whole world. 

Oliver Bacon dresses properly like a cooperative and reaches his shop. The branches of his shop are in France, Germany, Austria, Italy, and all over America; however, the head office is a dark little shop on Bond Street. The writer mentions a complete summary of different images to create an analysis of the theme of change in the Duchess and the Jeweller.

The writer introduces four more characters as soon as Oliver enters his shop. Two of them are old; named Marshall and Spencer in the story whereas two of them are young with the names Hammond and Wicks. They are envious of Oliver’s success. Oliver went inside a private room and thud shut the door leaving the four men behind the counters of his shop. In his private room, he ensures that the windows are closed and no one is watching him. He twists the keys and opens six safes one by one. In the safes, there were bracelets, necklaces, rings, tiaras, ducal coronets; loose stones in glass shells; rubies, emeralds, pearls, and diamonds. He calls the diamonds Tears Heart’s blood and Gunpowder. 

Meanwhile, he hears the ring of the phone due to which he closes all the safes. He attends the call and asks for an extension of ten minutes. He again remembers his journey. The writer creates a stream of his consciousness. He was once a filthy boy but now The Duchess of Lambourne waits to meet him. In the story the second most important character has been introduced; The Duchess of Lambourne. She comes to meet the best jeweller in the whole world.

The writer creates a summary analysis of the Duchess and the Jeweller of the second most important character of the story in order to clarify and portray the situation of two opposite classes. The Duchess is an arrogant lady. She has pride. She loves fame and money. Perhaps, these are two major reasons that force her to come here and meet Oliver. 

She reaches Oliver for a reason. After a formal good morning, they both talk to each other. The writer uses some symbols in the story. For instance, she gets her hand out of the glove and Oliver bends low to give her respect while shaking his hand with the Duchess. It shows the superiority of authority. “They were friends, yet enemies” are lines that show the use of the literary device juxtaposition. It is a literary technique that a writer or poet uses to compare two opposite things. The writer talks further and writes:-

“He was master, she was mistress; each cheated the other, each needed the other.”

The writer in the style of poetry writes these lines and expresses the relation between the two major characters of the story. From the summary and analysis of the Duchess and the Jeweller, it is crystal clear that the writing style of the writer is poetic.

Oliver asks the Duchess the reason to meet him. He knows that every time she comes, she has a purpose. He frankly and directly asks her why she came here; however, he does it very softly. The Duchess takes out ten pearls from her bag. Oliver examines one pearl from different angles. The writer in this part of the story reveals something to her readers. It is not the first time when the Duchess came here to meet Oliver. She came once with pearls but those were not real. Oliver is doubtful whether the pearls are real or fake. 

She wanted to sell the pearls as she needed money for gambling. The writer shows the meanness of the upper class. The nobility was doing nothing to save itself from destruction. It is not enough, the more is yet to come. The Duchess talks about her beautiful daughter Diana and also offers Oliver an invitation to an event where he would meet her most beautiful daughter Diana. It shows a lack of generosity in the noble class. The writer uses the technique of satire but nowhere in the story, the satire is direct. It is indirect for which the writer takes help from the literary device symbolism.

The other daughters of the Duchess, whom the writer does not talk much about are Araminta and Daphne. Oliver questions the Duchess about her demands for those pearls, to which she replies “Twenty thousand”. Oliver is still in doubt about the pearls. He does not consider them real. It seems that he has already been deceived due to which he is not ready to accept that the pearls are real. He does not trust the Duchess but he needs her. There is a theme of unfaithfulness in this part of the story and at the same time, the writer portrays the theme of dependence. It also shows the social condition of the two classes. The noble class suffers due to his wrongdoings whereas the common middle-class uprises. In this way, the Duchess and the Jeweller also create an analysis of the theme of change through a summary of events.

Oliver thinks more. The writer again uses Oliver’s memory to stream-show different events. There is a war in his mind regarding the pearls that he is going to purchase from the Duchess. He opens his chequebook, gets a pen and writes twenty on it; however, he stops writing and thinks more about the pearls and Diana but ultimately, he writes thousand after twenty and hands over the cheque amounting to twenty thousand to the Duchess.

The theme of change is not obvious only from these lines. It starts with the beginning of the story. Oliver was once a poor person who used to steal and sell filthy street dogs. In this part, he is able enough to pay twenty thousand pounds to the Duchess as a price for ten fake jewels.

The duchess exits. Oliver checks the pearls but they are fake. Oliver asks forgiveness from his mother as he ignores her mother’s advice that he must not remain a fool all his life. It portrays human nature. Invitation to spend time with the rich persons of the vicinity fascinates the jeweller and he hands over the signed cheque to the Duchess. The jeweller is not sure about the authenticity of the jewels but he purchases them just because he wants to spend some time with his beloved. It shows that everyone has his motive in life. The Duchess prefers money to loyalty and ethical values. Similarly, jeweller prefers love and nobility to money. The writer gives a summary and creates a symbolic analysis of the preferences of these two characters in her story the Duchess and the Jeweller.

The writer also portrays a theme of common human nature. It does not matter whether a person is rich or poor, everyone has his interests which sometimes causes obstructions for him. The jeweller becomes famous not only in his country but the counties nearby even then he is deceived by the Duchess just because he feels himself inferior to the Duchess and wants to spend time with the nobles. In addition, he wants to see Diana. 

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