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Literature Related to "Lady Eleanore's Mantle"

Literature Related to "Lady Eleanore's Mantle"

Illustration "Keep my Image in your Remembrance" by Frank T. Merrill for "Lady Eleanore’s Mantle"
Illustration "Keep my Image in your Remembrance" by Frank T. Merrill for "Lady Eleanore’s Mantle" (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)
 

Excerpts are from the story "Lady Eleanore's Mantle" (from Twice Told Tales, Volume 2, 1851)

  • In this first excerpt, Hawthorne explains why Lady Eleanore was sent to America, and his explanation shows the view of the colonies no doubt held by many in Britain.

  • As he begins to describe Lady Eleanore, Hawthorne identifies her main personality trait as pride, which will ultimately prove to be her undoing.

  • In addition to her beauty, a distinctive feature about Lady Eleanore is her mantle, which attracts the attention of all who see her.

  • When a young man jumps in front of Lady Eleanore so that she may step on him rather than walk in the dirt, Hawthorne provides a glimpse into her thought process. Lady Eleanore explains why she chooses to walk on the back of the young man, and thus describes her general disdain of men (and most people). Hawthorne describes Lady Eleanore's dismount from her carriage onto the back of the young man as a metaphor of how the heroine glides through her own life, bolstered by the admiration of those around her.

  • In this excerpt, the wise doctor foretells a reckoning for Lady Eleanore, something Captain Langford--an ardent admirer of hers--disbelieves.

  • In another description of Lady Eleanore's mantle, Hawthorne links its design to the feverish delirium and death of its creator.

  • At a party given in her honor, Lady Eleanore surveys the crowd and reacts with her unique brand of arrogance and misanthropy.

  • While at the party, Lady Eleanore begins to become positively radiant--a characteristic possibly attributed to the early stages of smallpox, if indeed her mantle carries the contagion.

  • When Jervase Helwyse approaches her at the ball, Lady Eleanore reaches perhaps the very height of conceit.

  • During an exchange between Lady Eleanore and Jervase, he begs her to throw off her mantle, which she refuses to do.

  • As the smallpox plague ravages the city, the people who had once been enchanted by Lady Eleanore begin to curse her, believing that she is somehow, through her enormous pride or her unkind ways, to blame for the constant stream of death.

  • In the end, the doctor who acted neither charmed nor repulsed by Lady Eleanore provides his theory as to how the plague came to Boston.

  • Finally, Lady Eleanore admits to an understanding of her scornful ways and how her attitude brought about the suffering she herself fell victim to.

  • At the close of the tale, the townspeople burn an effigy wrapped in Lady Eleanore's mantle, bringing an end to the smallpox epidemic. The narrator speculates on Lady Eleanore's fate and describes a mysterious figure who haunts the Province House.

Full text of "Lady Eleanore's Mantle" (from Twice-Told Tales, Volume 2, 1851)




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