Themes In Davidson's The Coquette

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Register to read the introduction… First, she addresses sentimental novels as a form of education, at a time when a woman's education was founded less in books and more in manners. Secondly, she presents the idea of "controlling" women's sexuality. These ideas seem crucial to establishing a basis for understanding how women readers might have responded to The Coquette. How did the novel both teach and reflect prominent and socially acceptable ideas of romance, courtship, love, and child bearing, in eighteenth century society, and how and why would all of these ideas be …show more content…
However, I also know that Mrs. Richman and Mrs. Sumner encourage Eliza to be married only because they assume that she should be in the same boat as them. They assume that marriage will be the answer, the undeniable salve to heal all wounds. I would argue, shriek at them, "Ladies, do you not remember when you first felt the quick pangs of love? When first you spied your future husbands and you knew that they were to be yours? Would that you had remembered that Eliza felt those same pangs when first she glimpsed Major Sanford! Certainly he was a cad, but you should have told her to be rational, to reason her way through that silly triangle, rather than encouraging her to run headlong into Boyer's …show more content…
Just in this way did Sanford "sink" Eliza. Perhaps this is why he was unwilling to marry her. He has been taught, as she has been taught, that love is neither non-existent nor fleeting, but rather is inconvenient.

I believe that he began to fool even himself with this performance. At Eliza's end he mourned her and lost his wife. These were small prices to pay in comparison to Eliza's trials. Being a man, he had the privilege to cavort about parties after Eliza's virtue had been sullied. She was doomed. His passions, as Wollstonecraft notes, were

spurs to action [which] open the mind; but they sink into mere appetites, become a personal and momentary gratification when the object is gained, and the satisfied mind rests in enjoyment. The man who had some virtue whilst he was struggling for a crown often becomes a voluptuous tyrant when it graces his brow

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