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He Knew He Was Right
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The Trollope Project - Archives > He Knew He Was Right Jan 12-18 : Ch 85-91

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message 1: by Frances, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Frances (francesab) | 1868 comments Mod
We've made it to the penultimate week for this novel, and apart from the marriage of Mr Glascock and Caroline, this section is mainly preparation for all the denouements to come in our finale next week.

As our novel draws to its end, who do you think are the hero(s) and heroine(s) of this tale? Do you have a favourite storyline, or one which you found became tiresome as the novel progressed?

I will leave most of the discussion for after the novel is complete, but for now think of the contrast between the Trevelyans and our 4 possible other couples-are any of them at risk of the troubles that engulfed the Trevelyans?

Please share your thoughts on this next to last section.


message 2: by Emma (last edited Jan 13, 2020 02:04AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Emma (emmalaybourn) | 298 comments Frances wrote: "As our novel draws to its end, who do you think are the hero(s) and heroine(s) of this tale? Do you have a favourite storyline, or one which you found became tiresome as the novel progressed?."

That's a difficult one to answer. I've found it hard to become fully engrossed with the storylines of any of the couples; I think partly because there are so many of them, so they are spread rather thin. Overall, though, I enjoyed the development of Dorothy's personality and sense of independence alongside her attachment to Brooke. Brooke as a character was, I felt, slightly underwritten. I would have liked to know more about him.

I doubt if any of the couples are at the same risk of trouble as the Trevelyans, but I do worry a little about Nora's potential marriage to Hugh. This is not just because of the financial difficulties they may face but also because Nora has at several points shown a propensity for romanticising and building castles in the air; and she may have some re-adjusting to do when the prosaic reality of marriage hits her.

Of the other couples, I think Mr Gibson and Arabella, rather weirdly, have a good chance of avoiding disappointment because their expectations are so low - and because Arabella, at least, is a pragmatic person. The other two couples (Brooke/ Dorothy and the Glascocks) I expect will be fine, again because of their willingness to be pragmatic and accommodate each other's wishes.


message 3: by Trev (new)

Trev | 337 comments There are very few definite heroes/heroines who have shaped the destinies of themselves and those around them. However, one to mention is Dorothy, who is almost a Fanny Price type heroine in the way she quietly goes about her business and sticks to her principles, achieving more than she ever dreamed of.

Many of the sub-plots involve differences of opinion, stubbornness and eventual compromise, but, for me, the comedy created in Exeter and Florence fails to lighten the intensely depressing main story which continues to be relentlessly miserable.

I thought Hugh was going to be a hero, but I was disappointed and Nora seems to have the social awareness that her sister lacks yet isn’t strong or brave enough to make Emily listen to her. Will she be able to shake of those thoughts of living in luxury when the times are hard with Hugh? If not, Hugh’s laissez-faire approach to life might begin to irritate her.

As for the Gibson’s, their only chance is to move somewhere distant, away from the gossiping which is bound to continue long after they are married. An overseas post might be their only salvation. Mr Gibson would then have good reason to be grateful for being married to Arabella in some unknown, semi-hostile country where they could look to each other for comfort and support.


message 4: by Frances, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Frances (francesab) | 1868 comments Mod
Trev wrote: "I thought Hugh was going to be a hero, but I was disappointed and Nora seems to have the social awareness that her sister lacks yet isn’t strong or brave enough to make Emily listen to her.."

I wondered if Emily ever considered the role she had played in this tragedy. While I understood and agreed with Emily in principle, she did appear to rather goad her husband than to try to ease his worry and jealousy. Would a different response to his initial requests have averted this whole issue, or was Trevelyan going to lose his head on ever smaller provocations with time?

My issues with the Hugh/Nora storyline is we never get a sense of how good and how reliable his income is. Is it enough for them to maintain a comfortable gentleman's lifestyle? Is it reasonable to assume that it will continue? Hugh appears to be a successful writer (and is able to take time off from his work to go to Italy without losing his job) but it isn't clear where they will land in life.


message 5: by Trev (new)

Trev | 337 comments Frances wrote: "Trev wrote: "I thought Hugh was going to be a hero, but I was disappointed and Nora seems to have the social awareness that her sister lacks yet isn’t strong or brave enough to make Emily listen to..."

I think the tragic situation was created by both of them. Emily’s decision to see Osborne in Devon, when everyone advised her against it, probably pushed Louis onto that slippery slide of insanity from which he could never recover. Her lack of awareness of this and Louis’ inability to explain to Emily that he still believed in her fidelity left them both unable to repair their relationship.
There must be many instances of recently married couples having to contend with the initial jealousy of a partner. The majority realise that understanding each others’ feelings and motives as well as achieving compromise when required will solve most issues. Emily and Louis never got even close to that.


message 6: by Lori, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lori Goshert (lori_laleh) | 1369 comments Mod
It seemed that both were at fault. Emily could have put a stop to this tragedy at the beginning, but she couldn't have known how far it would go (and Louis got to the "point of no return" fairly quickly and would have made her life a living hell even if she'd apologized and returned to him).

And Trollope pretty much told us that Louis went about it all wrong. If he had approached her in a loving way and said that Osborne is coming to see you a lot, and I know he's your father's friend and you're above reproach and always behave properly, but maybe you're not aware that he has a bad reputation and people are starting to talk, it might be better if he doesn't come so often, etc., then Emily would have understood and complied. But that wasn't his way of talking.

As many people have said, we need more context. We needed to see Emily and Louis's relationship before the Osborne incident. Emily said something to Nora at the beginning of the book that seemed to imply that this wasn't Louis's "first offense," which would explain Emily's strong reaction to this one.


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