The Da Vinci Code | Study Guide

Dan Brown

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The Da Vinci Code | Chapters 25–35 | Summary

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Summary

Chapter 25

Fache phones the U.S. Embassy, but they have no messages for him and can't tell him where Langdon is. Frustrated, Fache realizes that Langdon has not phoned his embassy. He remembers that the real number is stored on his cell phone. He dials it and gets Sophie's answering machine—and her warning message to Langdon. Fache is furious.

Chapter 26

The narrator discusses the Mona Lisa and her world-famous mysterious smile. Langdon remembers teaching prison inmates about the painting's mysteries. Sophie interrupts his musings when she finds black-light writing on the thick glass protecting the famous painting.

Chapter 27

Having located the traveling bar of soap, Collet and Fache conclude that Langdon must still be inside the Louvre. They also discover that Sophie has never been seen leaving the museum, so she, too, must still be inside. Fache orders his men to surround the museum and arrest the culprits—at gunpoint if necessary.

Chapter 28

Sophie and Langdon read the message written on the glass: "So dark the con of man." It's another puzzle. The narrator offers a brief history of how the Church "conned" humanity by excluding the feminine principle and the connection to nature. It is an omission that has led to war and nature's destruction. Suddenly, Sophie hears footsteps approaching. A police officer yells, "Stop!" He has Langdon get down on the floor and tells him staying was a bad idea.

Chapter 29

Silas is breaking up the floor tiles that rang hollow in Saint-Sulpice. He finds a compartment beneath the tiles containing only a bit of paper with a reference to a Bible verse (Job 38:11). Sister Sandrine sneaks out of the balcony and goes back to her room. She opens a sealed envelope containing an emergency phone number. Silas finds a Bible and looks up the Book of Job. The verse is a rebuke, not a clue: "Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further."

Chapter 30

Langdon is still lying on the gallery floor. Claude Grouard, the Louvre's senior security warden, tries to call for backup but can't get reception through his walkie-talkie. He moves toward the entryway. Sophie pulls da Vinci's Madonna of the Rocks from the wall but finds no message on the back. She does, however, find a gold key identical to one she had found in her grandfather's house as a child. She realizes the key is crucial to solving the puzzle. Grouard calls for help but still has no reception. He sees Sophie with the painting. She threatens to damage it unless he lets them both go. He can't shoot because his bullet would destroy the painting. He gives in and puts down his gun. Langdon takes the gun as he and Sophie race downstairs.

Chapter 31

Sister Sandrine mutters, "They're dead!" into an answering machine, referring to the four elders of the Priory of Sion. She describes the broken tiles in Saint-Sulpice. She understands Opus Dei has been murdering Priory elders and vandalizing the Church to find the Grail. Silas appears in her room and orders her to hang up. She refuses to tell him where the keystone is (she doesn't know), and Silas kills her.

Chapter 32

Langdon and Sophie leave the Louvre and get into her tiny car. As they race toward the U.S. Embassy, Langdon muses about Madonna of the Rocks. He asks to see what Sophie has found behind the painting. She feels she can't show him because she promised her grandfather not to reveal it. Sophie recalls the traumatic, ritualistic scene she witnessed 10 years earlier that caused the rift between her and her grandfather. As they near the embassy, they see it is surrounded by Fache and the police, waiting to arrest Langdon.

Chapter 33

Sophie races past the embassy. She is unsure where to go to avoid the police. She shows Langdon the gold key she found behind the painting. He recognizes its markings and symbols as those of the Priory of Sion. With the police giving chase, Sophie speeds toward a train station.

Chapter 34

Bishop Aringarosa is being driven to the Pope's summer residence. He recalls his last visit, where he met Church officials in the Vatican's astronomical observatory. He thinks about his conflicts with the current liberal pope whose reforms and openness to science he opposes.

Chapter 35

Langdon and Sophie buy train tickets to Lyon but don't use them. Instead they leave the station and get into a taxi. Langdon examines the gold key and finds a message inked with black light on it: an address. They ask the taxi driver to take them there.

Analysis

The Mona Lisa is a major work of art that supports the motif of art hiding secrets and the theme of the sacred feminine. As expected, the black-light flashlight reveals a message scrawled on the glass protecting the painting. The message is another puzzle the pair must decipher: "So Dark the Con of Man." Another da Vinci painting, Madonna of the Rocks, aids Sophie and Langdon's search because Saunière had hidden his gold key behind the canvas. When Sophie threatens to destroy the painting, it saves her life. Thus she and Langdon can continue their search for the truth.

Langdon interprets this cryptic message as referring to the lies—the "con"—the Church has used to "devalue the female" in Christianity. The message reveals lies used to sustain a conspiracy to retain power. However, the message turns out to be another puzzle. It's an anagram that spells out the name of the painting that saves them and gives them a vital clue to the truth. When rearranged, the letters in the message read Madonna of the Rocks, which ties into the power of language as well as the theme of puzzles.

In the car Sophie decides to show Langdon the gold key she has found behind the painting. Langdon identifies it as representing the Priory of Sion. Its symbols convey "a natural union of male and female," thus linking it with the sacred feminine.

The subtheme of sexism occurs in the discussion of the Church's historical persecution of women. The Church tortured or burned "witches"—any woman who acted independently or who had knowledge (of nature or medicine) not sanctioned by the Church. Religious sexism correlates with the male tendency to destroy or conquer nature. Destroying nature is a means of destroying the divine feminine. In this vein, when Sister Sandrine realizes Silas is "searching for the keystone," the Opus Dei monk kills her. Because she is a woman who has secret knowledge (of both the keystone and Silas's crimes), Opus Dei (Silas) destroys her.

This section of the book introduces the motif of sex and spirituality. As she drives Sophie remembers the ritual she encountered her grandfather participating in. At this early stage of the book, the narrator only hints at the sexual nature of this ritual. The male/female form of the gold key also hints at the sexual nature of some Priory rituals. However, the ritual's true meaning will become apparent later in the novel.

Bishop Aringarosa brings up the theme of historical bias. As a member of Opus Dei, he favors the strictest, most traditional Christian practices and beliefs. In this section of the book, Aringarosa bemoans the modernization of the Church. He is appalled that the Church accepts scientific facts in a way that, he believes, undermines faith. Most other characters in the book view the Church as conspiring to uphold an ancient tradition through historical bias in the Bible. However, Aringarosa sees the exact opposite. He sees the Church as biased toward the modern age. For him the Church's acceptance of "unbiased science" only deepens the Church's bias for modernity over "true" (traditional) forms of the religion.

Again Sophie and Langdon engage in a deceit, or lie, to throw off the pursuing police. They buy train tickets for a trip they do not plan to take and take a cab instead. However, the lie they tell is in the pursuit of the truth.

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