Literature and History: The Development of American Culture to 1865

The Coquette

The coquette at the beginning seems to have a very predicable story line. almost like watching a bad drama that after reading just 1/3 of the book you could already tell what will eventually happen. However, the mystery and the meaning lies deeper within these dramatic lines. A powerful message about politics and generation leaps through to grabs a hold of your attention. it alerts all readers to not be like Eliza Wharton and completely indulge herself in her FREEDOM. Freedom is liberating and it’s addictive, it’s hard to know when’s the limit to how much freedom one should intake. I find that the first time reading the coquette gave me an uneasy feeling toward the unfair outcome to Eliza Wharton’s life. As a woman I question why the Author pushes the idea of a “CONSERVATIVE” and “RESTRICTED” life for a woman asa the best way to without ending up like Eliza. I wonder if that’s the only solution to have a happy life. It’s almost like Eliza only have two man to choose from. One is the flirtatious¬†Standford and the other is the boring Boyer. Is it really true that a woman can only choose from the two extreme? Either suffer from being wild and eventually be punished with death or STILL suffer from the boring life and wishes to be dead. It puzzled my mind for a while after reading the novel. However, during the class discussion I realize a different perspective that the author is trying to bring by using the two extreme. The author is also a female and I think she is not trying to give the DEAD-END sign for her fellow sisters. In class discussion a political idea of “how much freedom should one receives without wrecking it?” was brought out and it opened my mind to a new meaning. Instead of using Eliza Wharton’s situation only on WOMAN if we put it onto the new generations of America we see a whole new idea. Maybe Hanna was trying to warn the newly emerging Americans that while we rejoice the freedom of our new country we also have to beware of the outcome that can come with these freedom. If don’t watch where we are stepping we can easily step out of the line and have a terrible ending like Eliza’s. When I read the book again with this new perspective I am not enraged by the idea that woman have to live such a rigid life but understands that it’s not only for the woman but for the whole mankind. We are always living between two extremes trying to find the balance and the grey spot. This novel is a dynamic book that allows the reader to open their eyes and heart to accept a greater perspective not a narrow one.


2 responses

  1. This had to be my favorite reading so far. I didn’t like how the summary at the beginning told the end of the story line. However, as I kept reading I thought for sure Eliza would chose Mr. Boyer, the safe choice. Mr. Sanford was the player and not so much liked by the town, where as Mr. Boyer had manners, was a priest, and was well liked by the town. Reading this was like watching a soap opera, and that every few letters was like an episode. In the letters you could actually see “behind the scenes”. For instance, with Mr. Sanford, he would smooth talk Eliza and then would write to his friend Charles about how much of a player he really is. Toward the end Eliza lost her game in keeping the two men fighting over her. This is when I knew that what I wanted for Eliza was not going to happen since the summary mentioned her getting pregnant and the man leaving her. So when Mr. Boyer and Mr. Sanford both got married, I had no idea where the novel was going to go. Until Mr. Sanford came back into Eliza’s life, kept sneaking her out, knocked her up, and then hid her. I didn’t like how short the ending was of Eliza’s life after she fled. I was hoping it would have gone into more detail just like the rest of the novel had. However, I felt like the ending was a summary about her family’s reaction when she left and how Mr. Sanford felt. It seemed to have abruptly ended in my mind…even though I knew the outcome ahead of time.

    November 29, 2011 at 6:00 pm

  2. i think this song best fits Eliza’s problems.

    Don’t judge, its a classic.

    To me and of what I actually know of The Coquette, its alot of Much To Do About Nothing. Its really quite comical despite it’s tragic ending. That dance of social expectations and attraction. It brings to mind the cliche “nice guys finish last”. I guess Boyer wasnt a nice guy in that case. I mean he was a little creepy with his designs on Eliza. Maybe its nice girls finish last. Or Nice girls finish themselves. ha!

    November 29, 2011 at 9:37 pm

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