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The Trollope Project - Archives > The Claverings Sept 22-28:36(Captain Clavering Makes HIs Last Attempt)-42(Restitution)

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message 1: by Frances, Moderator (new)

Frances (francesab) | 1806 comments Mod
We have arrived at our penultimate section and the novel feels as if it is coming to a close.

First, our minor characters:

1. Sophie Gordeloup appears to be playing an increasingly desperate hand, trying first to win back Lady Ongar's affections, and then going to seek-what exactly?-from Sir Hugh. She is last seen on the arm of Doodles, being escorted home and it is unclear if she is going be able to get anything out of him. Any thoughts on what game she was playing or what she was hoping to achieve from Sir Hugh?

2.What did you think of Cecilia Burton's visit to Lady Ongar? What dd she hope to achieve and was there any benefit to her visit?

3. Fanny and Mr Saul are now separated physically, and she is making her household miserable. What role if any do you think this pair plays in our tale, and do you think there is some commentary on the state of the clergy in this storyline?

4. Archie and Doodles appear to have exited the stage, likely to return to their perpetual bachelorhoods.

5. Ch 38 is titled "How to Dispose of a Wife" in my edition. Why do you think Sir Hugh wants Hermione out of his life, rather than to maintain a sham marriage (there appears to be no question of a divorce, so no other option for another heir.)

Finally, we come to our main three characters.

Florence appears to have won the day in Harry's heart-was it ultimately his decision, or his mothers? Was he sufficiently punished for his weakness? Give us your opinion on what appears to be the outcome of our novel.

message 2: by Brian (last edited Sep 27, 2019 02:15PM) (new)

Brian Reynolds | 699 comments Trollope is explicit in saying that, until his mother intervened, Harry was leaning toward Julia rather than Flo. He describes Harry's thoughts about his promise to marry Julia:

"he thought it to be binding on himself till he had found himself under his mother's influence at the parsonage. During his last few weeks in London he had endured an agony of doubt, but in his vacillations the pendulum had always veered more strongly toward Bolton Street (Julia) than to Onslow Crescent (Flo)."

I also thought Trollope did an excellent job in presenting the Cecilia/Julia meeting. His conversation writing may be better than his general narrative writing.

message 3: by Lori, Moderator (new)

Lori Goshert (lori_laleh) | 1299 comments Mod
I think Harry deserved more punishment, but I think it was better in the long run that he wasn't severely punished, for Florence's sake. Punishing Henry would have made things awkward for her, and it would have acknowledged that his dalliance with Julia was a big deal. Minimizing it, though it lets Henry off too easy, makes things easier for Florence if you understand what I mean. She can shelve the incident as "not a big deal" and move on.

message 4: by Frances, Moderator (new)

Frances (francesab) | 1806 comments Mod
Brian wrote: "Trollope is explicit saying that until his mother intervened, Harry was leaning toward Julia rather than Flo. He describes Harry's thoughts about his promise to marry Julia:

"he thought it to be b..."

This was my thought as well, and I was somewhat surprised that Harry was so influenced by his mother, although I also wonder how much being away from Julia allowed him to clear his head a little and reevaluate his future and the relative merits of the two women.

Lori, I also thought that Harry got off very lightly, but agree with your reasoning. I also think that that was (and still is) the reality for eligible/attractive young men and women-they were much more likely to have a choice of partners and the potential partners have to put up with that to some extent. It appears that Harry, once his mind is made up, will be a loving and easy husband, so it's a small price to pay.

message 5: by Trev (new)

Trev | 294 comments Frances wrote: "Brian wrote: "Trollope is explicit saying that until his mother intervened, Harry was leaning toward Julia rather than Flo. He describes Harry's thoughts about his promise to marry Julia:

"he thou..."

Harry's mother did very little in convincing him that he needed to stay true to Florence. Basically, she reminded him that he was a gentleman and that any other course of action was impossible. Harry, on reflection, agreed with her.

I was surprised at first that Florence welcomed him back with open arms without any complaints, but of course, complaining wasn't in Florence's nature. She would have either accepted him back without any admonishment or rejected him all together, probably not seeing him again for the rest of her life.

message 6: by Brian (last edited Sep 28, 2019 01:56PM) (new)

Brian Reynolds | 699 comments I agree that Harry's Mom did very little and only reminded Harry of his obligations as a gentleman. But Trollope infers that Harry would have chosen Julia if Mom hadn't played Jiminy Cricket to Harry's Pinocchio. It is funny how much Harry needed the reminder and also how easily he listened to his Mom's minimal maternal advise.

message 7: by Trev (new)

Trev | 294 comments I think Harry was mesmerised by Julia's charms and the longer he stayed in London the stronger her influence would be. His call back home and subsequent illness was fortunate because he was in danger of reaching the point of no return (to Florence). His mother's few words, together with being a long way from Julia's influence, seemed to be enough to break the spell that Julia held over him.

Perhaps it is going too far to suggest the corrupting influence of London as a theme within the novel. I have recently read 'The Whirlpool' by George Gissing and 'Mansfield Park' both of which depict London's loose morals as a cause for concern for some of the novels' characters. Harry certainly doesn't get on well there both in his work or his private life.

message 8: by Frances, Moderator (new)

Frances (francesab) | 1806 comments Mod
Whether it was London or Julia herself, Harry did often seem mesmerized and unable to help himself when in her presence-not that that is an excuse, but as with so many of Trollope's heroes he is weak and easily influenced.

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