Edith Wharton discussion

Summer > The Bedroom

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message 1: by Michaela (last edited Oct 04, 2008 05:41AM) (new)

Michaela Wood | 25 comments Mod
"She was awakened by a rattling at her door and jumped out of bed. She
heard Mr. Royall's voice, low and peremptory, and opened the door,
fearing an accident. No other thought had occurred to her; but when
she saw him in the doorway, a ray from the autumn moon falling on his
discomposed face, she understood.

For a moment they looked at each other in silence; then, as he put his
foot across the threshold, she stretched out her arm and stopped him.

"You go right back from here," she said, in a shrill voice that startled
her; "you ain't going to have that key tonight."

"Charity, let me in. I don't want the key. I'm a lonesome man," he
began, in the deep voice that sometimes moved her."

What are your impressions of this midnight visit?

message 2: by Jeana (new)

Jeana (jeanaclaudine) I'm glad Charity was able to turn him away. In some way, I thought she might feel indebted to Mr. Royal. (Although strangely, she never really did seem like she owed him anything although he continued to care for her even after his wife was gone. He did quite a lot for her.)

message 3: by Michaela (last edited Oct 10, 2008 02:30PM) (new)

Michaela Wood | 25 comments Mod
Does Charity owe him sex? Do you think that Charity has the means to resist the sexual predator that Royall becomes when he's drunk? Who's stronger?

message 4: by Jeana (new)

Jeana (jeanaclaudine) Absolutely not--It's still a little weird for me that she married him (even though her circumstance was as it was) because he was her only father figure. It's bordering incest, in my opinion.

message 5: by Michaela (new)

Michaela Wood | 25 comments Mod
I reread this book again and wonder if Charity is not a little more sympathetic to Mr. Royall than I first imagined. I saw her disgust at his sexual advances to be right and natural, but I believe I was unwilling to see how much she was open to his influence, if he could get it together to woo her. There are so many references to her pride in him when he looked and acted well, and she seems more disappointed in him than disgusted most of the time. This, I believe is the only way we can imagine her married to him at the end...

Or, maybe the horror of the situation was supposed to be that strong, that the circumstances that make her marry this man that are so horrible, we are unable to justify it by her feelings. She was a woman, like many, left without options, and pregnant.

What do people think? Is it justifying a horrible situation to say that Charity married Mr. Royall on feelings, if not sexual, at least affectionate?

message 6: by Christina (new)

Christina Dudley (christina_dudley) I actually was hoping she would marry him at the end. Despite his midnight and 4th of July weaknesses, he was at least willing to do the honorable thing or to force Harney into doing the honorable thing.

She had youth's disdain of old (or middle) age, but as the book went on, showed flashes of recognition for what maturity has to offer.

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