Crome Yellow Summary – Chapters 20-30

Front cover of Aldous Huxley's novel Crome Yellow
Bantam Classics Edition, published in 1962 (Purchase on Bookshop.org) – affiliate link

The following is a summary of Chapters 20-30 of Aldous Huxley’s 1921 novel Crome Yellow.

See also: Ch. 1-9, Ch. 10-19

Chapter 20

Ivor is gone. He spends the rest of the summer chasing after different engagements with women, his time at Crome meaning little to him. Before he leaves he writes a poem in the guestbook. This leads Denis and Mr. Scogan to talk of poetry and how disappointing it is when words mean things other than they should. Also discuss the power and magic of words.

Chapter 21

Anne and Gombauld arguing in the granary. She is sitting for a portrait that she asked him to paint of her. He is tired and impatient with her. Both claim that the other started romantic advances without ever planning to follow through on them. He accuses her of playing the same game with Denis. Both have desires for the other. Angry, Gombauld paints furiously.

Chapter 22

Earlier in the same afternoon, Denis retires to his room early in order to write. He thinks of Anne and starts a poem about her. From his window he sees her and Gombauld laughing as they head to the granary. Angry, he tears up the poem. Mr. Scogan and Denis go to the garden, where they find Henry and Mary playing bowls. Scogan talks about how only madmen become great, that reasonable men such as themselves never do. Denis preoccupied thinking of other things while Scogan goes on. He details his beliefs of how saying man must wrestle power from the madmen, giving rise to the “Rational State.” This state, he says, will have “three main species,” – “the Directing Intelligences, the Men of Faith, and the Herd.” He says Denis doesn’t fit into any of the three and would thus be killed. Denis, seeking to upset Gombauld, suggests to Scogan that they pay a visit to the granary.

Chapter 23

Denis and Scogan show up at the granary. Rather than being upset, Gombauld is pleased to see them. They look at his paintings. Denis tells Anne he loves her and she replies, “My poor Denis.”

Chapter 24

Denis by himself in the drawing room. Opens the book Jenny’s been writing in and finds that it is full of harsh caricatures of everyone at Crome. He becomes obsessed with her criticism of him, he didn’t think anyone could see him so negatively. He wanders the grounds and comes across Mary. That morning she received a postcard from Ivor with a poem and request to send on the razor blades that he forgot. She is mad about him, but her feelings are not reciprocated. Mary and Denis speak in generalizations about their problems, are interrupted when the lunch bell rings and they proceed to the house in silence.

Chapter 25

Dinner. Henry says that next Monday everyone will be expected to help with the charity fair. A tradition for over 20 years, the whole village comes and he hates it. They divvy up jobs. Mr. Scogan philosophizes about holidays and how humans can never really have one.

Chapter 26

The fair is in full swing. Denis watches from on top of the tower, eventually deciding to go down among the masses.

Chapter 27

Mr. Scogan, acting as fortune teller, pronounces horrible futures for everyone that comes to him. Denis, curious about this process, spies on him through the tent to see how he does it. From there he finds Anne, who is selling tea, along with copies of Denis’s poem. So far only three have been sold. He then goes to the pool, where Henry is acting as master of ceremonies for swimming races. He runs into Mrs. Budge, a woman who ate thousands of peaches during the war in order to donate peach pits to the war effort. After he escapes from her he sees Mr. and Mrs. Bodiham hiding behind the hedge passing a judgment on the fairgoers. He then finds Mary, who is leading children’s sports. He congratulates her on doing so well with the kids. Afraid that he will be asked to do something, he leaves in order to return to the house, where he drinks alone in the library. 

Chapter 28

Night falls. The focus of the fair turns to dancing. Denis watches from afar, feeling that he is the only one uncoupled. Henry invites him to go see oaken drain pipes. They sit in the grass and Henry laments his disinterest in people and the entire spectacle. He is much more interested in the past than the present. Denis can think of nothing other than Anne and Gombauld dancing together.

Chapter 29

10 PM, the fair is over. Denis sees Anne and Gombauld embracing by the pool and he dashes to the house. Anne repels Gombauld’s advances. Back in the house, Denis is in his room. Shortly after 1 AM he climbs a ladder to the tower, where he tries to figure out why he went up there and contemplates suicide. Unbeknownst to him, Mary is sleeping up there and is startled awake by him. He tells her everything and they share sympathy and confidences. He goes down to his room and quickly falls asleep.

Chapter 30

Mary wakes up Denis in the morning to remind him of his plan to go to town in order to send a telegram to himself that will give him an excuse to leave Crome. After doing it he almost immediately regrets it. Anne approaches him and begins to flirt, but is interrupted by Mr. Scogan. The telegram arrives after lunch. Once again he regrets sending it and swears he will never take decisive action again, that it feels like his own funeral when he leaves the house.

See also:

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