Saturday, July 17, 2021

Bonds between women in Charles Dickens's "The Cricket on the Hearth" and "The Battle of Life"

In Charles Dickens's "The Cricket on the Hearth" (1845), John Peerybingle suspects his much younger wife Dot of loving a mysterious young man who turns out to be his neighbor's emigrant son Edward, returned to marry Dot's close friend May Fielding. In "The Battle of Life" (1846), then, Marion Jeddler apparently elopes with someone else just before her fiancé, Alfred Heathfield, returns from several years abroad. Eventually, Alfred marries Marion's sister Grace – and when Marion returns six years later, actually unmarried, she reveals that she left to make that very marriage possible. In each story, bonds between women determine how the suspected deceivers behave toward the men they are connected to. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 17 July 2021)


John and Dot Peerybingle
John and Dot Peerybingle, 1924 illustration by Harold Copping for The Cricket on the Hearth


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