Imlay’s delightful epistolary adventure of 1793, set on the American frontier, was one of the first American novels. The trials of an emigrant family in the Ohio River Valley of Kentucky contrast the decadence of Europe with the utopian promise of the American West. Its sensational love plots also dramatize the novel’s surprising feminist allegiances.
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Romanticism is a literary movement that developed in the the late eighteenth century into the early nineteenth century. Romanticism is known for its exploration and celebration of human emotion (both light and dark). Many times, romantic literature also depicts and celebrates the relationship between man and nature; man interacting with the natural state of the world results in a transcendence of the individual. This movement developed as a response to the Enlightenment period which valued and celebrated logic and reason over emotions. You can view the video below for more information about British Romanticism. (This annotation contains a video)
Jacobin literature refers to the literary movement developed by British supporters of the French Revolution. For more information about their beliefs and purpose, please click on the Wikipedia link below. If you Google the term for more examples or more information, please do not confuse this genre with the term Jacobean literature. This term refers to the period of history that coincides with the reign on King James I of England (he was Queen Elizabeth I's successor). (This annotation contains a link)
The history of Imlay's life in the United States is important for two reasons: 1. He admired and preferred the western and untamed lands of the United States to the eastern and original colonies of New England. 2. He was not an honest businessman and was a debtor. This is important in terms of the overall themes and didactic nature of the text.
The epistolary style of writing is basically a novel told through a series of letters among several characters. This style of writing reveals the private lives, beliefs, and desires of the characters versus a narrated text which may only reveal the public persona of the characters (and possibly the persona the characters wish to be perceived as). The epistolary style and the sentimental novel complimented one another nicely; the sentimental novel appeals to the audience's pathos and celebrates the rawness of human emotion.
A pantisocracy is simply a utopian society where all men are equally represented. In this case, the society is developed by man's interaction with untamed nature. Consider some dystopian literature you may have read: Animal Farm, Anthem, 1984, A Brave New World... what do all of these texts reveal about the pursuit of a utopia?
The author of the introduction indicates it is ironic that Imlay writes a sentimental Jacobin text because "Imlay's attitude toward the natural environment of the western territories is not that of an idealist pantisocratist ... or of a romantic ... but that of a staunchly rationalistic, pragmatic Enlightenment real estate developer." The author of the introduction believes Imlay writes the text in order to promote his own business in the United States. As you read, consider this idea.
The highlighted statement is very important. The author of the introduction believes that Imlay's motivation for writing this text can be determined by reading his first text Topographical Description in which he discusses the potential of the unsettled west of the United States.
The author of the introduction uses Imlay's first text to justify and explain the inclusion of certain details (in this case the development of a utopian settlement) in his second text The Emigrants. This supports her assertion that Imlay's motivation for writing The Emigrants was based on his Jacobian beliefs, but it was based on his economic beliefs and their relationship with the development of political power.
Read the highlighted passage carefully. Through the use of historical evidence, the author of the introduction depicts Imlay's involvement with the French and how he was introduced to the ideas of the French Revolution. There is also the implication that Imlay's motives were not selfless; Imlay knew he was in a strategic position of power and authority.
Due to Imlay's relationship with Wollstonecraft, we are able to learn more about his character. She published a text titled Letters to Imlay (also an epistolary text) that depicts Imlay as "crooked" businessman and licentious lover. Ironically, Imlay criticizes this type of man in his text The Emigrants.
With the advent of the Enlightenment period and the American and French Revolutions, there was debate about the treatment of women and their role in society and the education of women. (See the link below to read a scholarly paper about the education of women in the eighteenth century). During the late eighteenth century, there was also discussion about the abolition of slavery. This led to the question: How can you argue for the freedom of slaves yet continue to bind women in a marriage? Due to the strict laws that dictated marriage and divorce, women lost the few rights they had when they married. If a woman was unhappy or mistreated in her marriage, there was little she could do to separate herself from her husband. Though this is an important and topical concept during this time period, Imlay may also include this debate in order to contrast the political and social life of England and the unlimited potential to reform those spheres in the American wilderness. (This annotation contains a link)
The author of the introduction believes, "The figure of prostitution is a crucial one in the novel." This motif explores the conventional idea of prostitution and the connotation of prostitution are both employed throughout the text to illustrate the economic sphere that accompanies a marriage and to illustrate Imlay's argument that the British political and economic system encourage this "prostitution of principal." Simply stated, in order to maintain the guise of status, men behaved badly and impugned their wives' reputations as well as their own. Once again, Imlay uses the example of marriage as grounds to support his argument that life is better in the American wilderness.
The author of the introduction points out a few themes to be conscious of the "feminist critique of gender and national identities," and ironically the "rhetoric of chivalry." These two ideas may not seem congruent because the foundation of the chivalric code is the "manly protection of beauty and virtue in distress." How do you think Imlay will be able to reconcile these two ideas in order to develop his argument that a better political (and as a result social) system can be developed if the British system is abandoned?
The highlighted statement explains one of the central themes in the text. Please be sure to read and ask questions if you do not understand. Please continue to read the remainder of the paragraph because the author of the introduction critiques Imlay for his limited development of the equality of women's roles in proposed utopian society. The author of the introduction concludes that "The Emigrants, for all its critique of British laws, shows that the new nation did not necessarily offer women a country of their own."
It is important to note that historical events influence the success of literature. Because of the "Reign of Terror in France" and the anti-Jacobin sentiments in England, Imlay's critique of British laws and society was not well-received. The British has a first hand view of what revolutionary and rebellious ideas could insight, and society as a whole did not want the carnage associated with the Reign of Terror.
After reading the text, revisit the author of the introductions idea that "The Emigrants is poised for critical revival as part of the contemporary reading for the pivotal decade of the 1790's." Do you agree? Do you think that the text makes greater sense to contemporary readers than it did to the readers in the late eighteenth century?
Imlay explains that he writes his story based on facts but chooses to use the epistolary form because "it would prove more acceptable to the generality of readers" and "it is the most effectual way of communicating moral instruction." These sentiments are characteristic of the Jacobin mindset. The Jacobins believed that by simplifying complex social and political issues, the lower and uneducated classes would have a better understanding of the injustices of society and would act.
In the introduction we learn that the setting of the text is extremely important. There is an implied relationship between nature and man; the natural world helps to alleviate the troubles of man because it elicits from man his natural tendencies and emotions. As you read the text, note the connection Imlay draws between the characters and nature (particularly Caroline).
As you read, be prepared to see letters that are numbered and appear in sequential order. There are no chapters in the text; there are only volumes. Also note the last names of the characters are omitted and are represented by the first few letters of their last names, a dash, and the last letters of their last names. Do not be confused by this. It may help if you keep a list of a "Who's Who" in the text or simply refer to the characters by their initials.
Based on the first two letters, how would you characterize Capt. Arl---ton's relationship with Mr. T----'s family?
The story immediately addresses an issue with marriage within the first few letters. In the letter between C---- and a Doctor, he addresses and responds to an incident that occurred between the two men. The Doctor intended to try to win over a much younger widow and convince her to marry him. At this idea, C---- laughed. He points out to the Doctor that once he regained his senses, the Doctor would have realized that if he was "to marry the widow, you would become a cuckold." The term cuckold is an insulting term referring to a man who has an adulterous wife. C--- is implying that the widow would have married him for his status and money and not for love. The motif of marrying for status is prevalent throughout the text. View the video below to review the definition of motif and more examples. This motif will help develop the central theme of the ideal union or marriage and how it is defined. (This annotation contains a video)
What literary device does the Capt. Arl--ton use to describe Caroline?
It is important to note that there are two parallel plots so far in the text. A parallel plot differs from a subplot in that it does not directly develop or link to the main plot throughout the text. View the video below for a complete definition of parallel plot. One parallel plot is about the T----n family and their journey and the second is the life of Miss R--- as depicted through her correspondence with Mrs. W----. Miss R--- lives in London and is perplexed about whether to marry Mr. S---. The second parallel plot explicitly addresses the concerns and issues Imlay has with the view of marriage in England. (This annotation contains a video)
It is evident from Mrs. W---'s description of Caroline that she is enamored with her. She describes Caroline as "formed with that proportion which would have served for a model for ...Grecian Statuarists." However, Mrs. W--- describes her sister in a different vein. She concludes that the elder sister is the "kind of being which is rather an ornament to a drawing-room, than an useful piece of furniture." What can you infer about Caroline's sister based on this characterization?
Mrs. W--- is in awe Caroline's ability to capture the life and vivacity of the world around her. She appreciates this ability but also notes that "when a person has become a wife and mother, I think it much more material to confine herself to real and substantial matters." What is Mrs. W--- implying is a result of marriage? What happens to a woman's ability to engage those around her once she becomes someone's wife and mother?
Though Capt. Arl--ton and Caroline have never met the packers before, Capt. Arl--ton describes them as "honest people" and "gentlefolks" who offer to "guard and protect [Capt. and Caroline] at the hazard of our lives." Why does Imlay characterize the men and women of the mountains in America this way?
Another motif in the text is debt. In Britain during this time period a person who owed a debt and could not repay was imprisoned. A person who accumulated debt (or in this case a person whose family accumulated debt in his name) would be socially as well as economically impacted. Imlay addresses Britain's laws about debt and debtors throughout the text. For more historical information about debtors in England during this time period, please click on the link below. (This annotation contains a link)
In his letter to Capt. Arl--ton, Mr. Il--ray states, "There is no reciprocality in the laws respecting matrimony." What does he mean by this statement?
Miss R--- conveys to Mrs. W--- that she may marry Mr. S--- in order to prevent "falling a victim to the misfortunes of my affectionate father." Imlay uses the correspondence between the two women to reveal the "private" motives behind many marriages versus the "public" pretenses displayed for others to accept. Imlay contended that this need to marry was directly related to the harsh laws concerning debt and debtors in England during this time. Extrapolate the folly that ensues for marrying for the wrong reasons. Can you predict what may happen to Miss R--- if she marries Mr. S--- to avoid her father's debt or to relieve her father from his debt?
Reread Caroline's reasons for walking the fifty miles over the Appalachian mountains rather than riding in the wagon. Based on the passage, which term(s) best characterizes Caroline's motives?
Caroline dedicates almost three paragraphs describing Capt. Arl--ton; most of the three paragraphs are about physical appearance. Her final assessment of the Captain is that he has manners and is generous. The relationship between Caroline and Capt. Arl--ton can be compared to the courtly love and chivalrous love stories of the Middle Ages. Click on the clip below for an overview of courtly love. The courtly love ideal circumvented the traditional view of marriage as a economic or social contract where both parties benefited from the arrangement. The courtly love ideal was developed from physical attraction and mutual attraction to true love. Though their relationship does not strictly adhere to the ideals of courtly love, Imlay definitely used this as a model for their burgeoning romance. (This annotation contains a video)
What is Mr. W---'s motivation for wanting Miss R--- to come and stay with he and his wife in America?
Please remember as you read the text, that the plots Imlay develops throughout the exchange of letters and three volumes depicts his beliefs about life in Britain and the potential of life in the western regions of America. Imlay purposefully contrasts almost every character and element of life between Britain and America to help develop his points.
Capt. Arl--ton suggests that the untamed wilderness beyond the mountains, "is a country were the foundation must be laid for the renovation of those privileges, which have decayed under the influence of the most capricious and violent despotism." There is an emerging theme that man can experience a transcendence through his interactions with untamed and untouched nature. Please view the video below to review the definition of emerging theme. (This annotation contains a video)
Based on Caroline's characterization of her relationship with her sister Mary, what can you predict about Mary's involvement in the relationship between Caroline and Capt. Arl--ton?
Though the epistolary structure of the text may be difficult to read, it adheres to a traditional plot structure. The letters in Volume I of the text are the exposition, introduce the central conflicts, and develop the rising action. In many of the initial letters, the characters will air their grievances and make observations. An example of this is in Caroline's letters to her sister Eliza, she is critical of the "dissipation which the English and French manners had introduced during the late war."
Prior to her father's death, Miss R--- contemplated a marriage of convenience in order to avoid an economic crisis. Now that her father's debts are mysteriously forgiven, Miss R--- is now able to
The letters reveal the intimate details of the characters' lives. It through the epistolary structure of writing that we are able to learn the innocent are truly innocent and the virtuous are truly virtuous. This is typical in the sentimental genre of literature as well. Another emerging theme is the triumph of virtue over vice. As you read, identify the virtuous characters versus the licentious characters.
Through Il--ray's letter to Capt. Arl--ton, we learn that he is the benefactor who arranged for Miss R---'s father's debts to be forgiven. This is an example of which literary device?
The letter Capt. Arl--ton receives from Caroline is the impetus for their only conflict. In terms of conflicts, it is not severe but because they do not communicate directly or openly with one another, the conflict is not resolved immediately. The letter is a form of the "telephone game." It is a letter written by Caroline's sister Mary but is supposed to convey Caroline's wishes.
Based on Capt. Arl--ton's description of Caroline, what precipitates his feelings for Caroline?
Capt. Arl--ton's plan to visit Louisville is a direct result what he believes is Caroline's rebuke of his feelings. This conflict is essential to developing the themes of transcendence through nature and virtue triumphing over vice. As you continue to read, identify how the relationship between Caroline and Arl--ton is impacted by their surroundings. Remember: their initial meeting was in the Appalachian mountains. Caroline will begin to symbolize the natural element that she was originally captured in.
As you read Caroline's letter to her sister Eliza, you realize that Caroline did not reject Arl--ton, but perceives his departure as a rejection of her love. This is the second example of dramatic irony in the text. What do you think Imlay is trying to convey by incorporating these details and examples?
As you read, contrast Caroline's "rapid changes of ... fortune in the perilous field of sentiment and love" versus the other characters who engage in a relationship derived from something other than love. What is the cause of their suffering? Who suffers greater?
Initially, Caroline's digression about the fauna of her new home seems out of place or unwarranted. What is the purpose of her tangent?
The relationship between P.P. Esq. and his niece Caroline is a core relationship in the text. Through their correspondence, the themes are developed and the modern ideas of marriage based on love rather than an economic or social contract are explored. P.P. Esq.'s life and beliefs are not easily accepted by Caroline. It is the evolution of their bond that helps the audience to understand the premise for his convictions.
The relationship between Caroline and P.P. Esq can best be characterized as
The highlighted passage is a key element in understanding the overall themes of the text. Imlay is contrasting the public versus the private spheres of society, and he asks the question: How can a person be highly regarded in the public sphere but be a reprobate in the private sphere? He seeks to remove the veil between the two elements of a person's life. This is ironic because according to Wollstonecraft's text Letters to Imlay, he was a man of ill-repute but found a semblance of success in the public sphere.
In his letters to Caroline, her uncle recounts how he fell in love and basically gave up his status and good name because of his love. In his initial descriptions of his interactions with Lord B---, he states, "I thought at that moment, he was the most graceful orator and finished gentleman I had ever known." This statement implies
P.P. Esq's tale about Lady B--- and the injustice she suffers while married to Lord B--- is another example of the marriage motif. When he states, "how ineffably painful is that scene when a sensible and beautiful woman, with the most delicate feelings of honour, finds herself injured, and has no appeal for justice," it is evident that P.P. Esq believes that the current laws regarding marriage are biased to benefit the husband and harm the wife.
P.P. Esq's feelings about the union between Lord and Lady B--- and his implied feelings toward Lady B---- result in
Lady B--- conveys to P.P. Esq that Lord B--- "consider[s] women merely as a domestic machine, necessary only as they are an embellishment to their house, and the only means by which their family can be perpetuated." This demonstrates a second motif in the text: prostitution. If you refer back to the introduction and reread the checkpoint and passage about the connotations of the term throughout the text. Based on Lord B---'s beliefs about the role of a wife, how is Lady B--- considered a prostitute by her husband?
Throughout the text, Imlay contrast virtue and vice. How does he illustrate this contrast in the letters between Caroline and her uncle?
Quiz #1: Volume I
Caroline's response to P.P. Esq's letter and admission that he empathized for Lady B--- contrasts the virtue of honor (symbolized by Caroline) and the vice of coveting Lady B---. However, P.P. Esq provides a justification for his actions, and in doing so unveils the private sphere to Caroline. While P.P. Esq portrays Lady B--- as a kind and virtuous woman, her husband describes her as "the most capricious woman alive" and his "continually pestered with her temper." It is fodder for P.P. Esq's argument that Lady B--- is suffers injustices at the hand of her husband.
As Lady B--- and P.P. Esq's relationship develops, we learn that she is reading Shakepeare's Othello. This is an example of a(n)
The video below provides a brief synopsis of Shakespeare's play Othello. This allusion supports the characterization of Lady B--- as a chaste and honorable character who is unappreciated by her husband. (This annotation contains a video)
P.P. Esq admits that he meets with Lady B--- alone in the alcove. This may seem inconsequential to the contemporary reader, but in the eighteenth century it was not acceptable for a married woman to be alone in the company of a man other than her husband. This could be damaging to the lady's reputation and marriage. This was especially damaging in an age where laws governing marriage were not favorable for a woman.
P.P. Esq admits that he "did not attend to the prejudices of the world" as he actively engaged in a relationship with Lady B--- because the happiness of Lady B--- was more important to him. He then explains the difference between the external and internal definitions of honor. He concludes that honor derived from the self is "fixed in the eternal truths of morality." This illustrates which theme in the text?
In order to help you better understand the Rousseau reference, please visit the site below and review his philosophy. (This annotation contains a link)
Based on the highlighted passage, Caroline can be characterized as
Caroline argues that men who are brutes are "the greatest enemies to conjugal bonds" but argues that it is "the fault of men, and not the laws which respect matrimony." This may seem contrary to the emerging themes and motifs presented in the text thus far but consider the plot structure: Caroline's conflict with P.P. Esq's actions will have a resolution. Do you believe that Caroline will change her mind about laws that govern matrimony and the laws' roles in the degradation of marriage?
Upon receiving Caroline's letters, her uncle is not upset by her judgments, but rather concedes that is it her _________ that results in her "errors" in judgment.
Why does P.P. Esq believe that the debasement of marriage is the fault of the laws and not simply a lapse in upbringing?
Once again Imlay includes a contrast between two spheres: the male and the female. These spheres appear in our society as well. There are things you may discuss among your female friends that you would not discuss with your male friends and vice versa. In our society, this may be considered inappropriate, but in context of the text, this is considered illicit and a disregard for a lady's honor.
What is the source of the conflict between P.P. Esq and Lord B---?
The love story of Lady B--- and P.P. Esq illustrates the concentric effects of a misstep by a wife. Lady B--- is like a man without a country; she is rejected by her husband and family because of the shame attached to her reputation.
P.P. Esq explains the financial judgment against him is the result of the criminal claim he is charged with because of his relationship with Lady B---. At the time, P.P. is unable to pay the judgment and is imprisoned as a debtor. This anecdote illustrates which theme?
Based on the highlighted passage, do you think that the laws enabled Lord B--- to achieve his goal? How so? This helps to develop the theme of the unjust laws and their role in the degeneration of society.
Ultimately, what is P.P. Esq's motivation for emigrating from Britain to the United States? What theme does this convey?
Upon learning the details of P.P. Esq and Lady B---'s love affair, Caroline's opinion of their union and how it transpired changes drastically. Consider what P.P. Esq stated in his previous letter and how through experience, Caroline's connotation of virtue may change. Furthermore, Caroline's feelings about the dynamic between the law, marriage, and the role of women in society.
The shift in context and correspondence from Caroline and P.P. Esq to Mrs. S--- and Mrs. W---, is a prime example of a
Though there is not a financial predicament that serves as the impetus for the union between Miss R--- and Mr. S---, the union is not based on love. Miss R--- finds Mr. S---'s act endearing. Imlay once again uses dramatic irony to illustrate the falseness of the union.
In Mr. Il-ray's correspondence to Mr. W---, he reveals the lies that is the foundation for the marriage between Mr. & Mrs. S----. Rather than employing his friends to interlude and destroy the union and have an opportunity to be with Mrs. S---, he uses this example to illustrate
Mr. Il--ray's letter to Capt. Arl--ton is frank and on the verge of blunt. It is evident he cares for his friend, but his affection and admiration for Capt. Arl--ton do not interfere with Il--ray's judgment. He clearly states that he is surprised that the Capt. hastily left the T---n family and Caroline especially in their time of need. This reveals as much about Capt. Arl--ton's character as it does about Mr. Il--ray's.
Each marriage Imlay includes in the text has some foundational issue with the only exception being the W---s. What is the issue in the marriage between Eliza and Mr. F----?
In Roman mythology, Venus (depicted below) was the goddess of love, fertility, beauty, and prosperity. The allusion to Venus is not coincidental; Capt. Arl--ton's love for Caroline is symbolized in the beauty and untainted natural setting. (This annotation contains an image)
Capt. Arl--ton's reflections about the late Mr. R-- "who had so nobly stood forward not only on his brother's account" but was ultimately "condemned as imprudent" illustrates which theme?
As the plot develops, Mrs. W--- believes that Mrs. S---'s virtue has been rewarded due to what they believe are Mr. S---'s generous and selfless act to repay the late Mr. R---'s debts, and the marriage that Mrs. W--- believes is built on love and not a economic contract. Consider how this plot line helps to develop the themes in the text. Does it illustrate how virtue triumphs over vice? (Don't forget about the fraudulent pretense the marriage is built upon.) What other themes could this plot develop?
Based on the highlighted passage, does Mr. W--- believe Mr. Il--ray's account and characterization of Mr. S---? Why or why not? Use textual evidence to support your answer.
Caroline believes that her thoughts about women and their subjugation under the current laws that dictate marriage would "never have turn upon," if she had never met her uncle "in these almost uninhabited wilds." This develops the theme of transcendence through nature. The idea of embracing the natural state of the land and human nature is based on Rousseau's philosophies. He believed human beings are inherently good and are born good in our natural state. That inherent quality is corrupted by society. In this case, Caroline is "cleansed" by her time in the uninhabited wilderness.
As P.P. Esq outlines the source for the marriage laws in eighteenth century Britain, it is evident that his issue with the laws is that they have not
The sentiments expressed by Caroline's uncle in the highlighted passage are similar to the ideals of the Romantic movement. This is not a movement about love per say about embracing and living by your emotions or instincts versus societal mandates. The video below provides a comprehensive definition of the British Romantic movement. (This annotation contains a video)
It is evident from their correspondence that both sisters are experiencing conflicts that are the cause of their malaise. What is the essential difference between the sisters' conflicts?
Mr. Il--ray genuinely believes that Capt. Arl--ton "must be stupid" to have not realized Caroline sincerely loves him based on her recollections of her time journeying over the mountains with the Capt. Once again, there is a connection between Arl--ton, Caroline, and the natural world. Conversely, Il--ray describes George and his indolence and prodigality, he notes that he cannot believe George's behavior is natural and connects his actions to "enervating luxury."
In her letter to her uncle, Caroline describes her feelings of "honour and duty" and the "ties of nature" that adhere her to her parents after the "unmanly desertion of George." By placing Caroline's devotion to her virtue alongside George's deference to his vice, Imlay is able to highlight the strength a virtuous individual possesses. This contrast is an example of which literary device?
When Caroline tells her uncle that she and her family will be leaving and heading to Louisville, he immediately leaves the security and sustenance of his farm and accompanies Caroline (and her family) on their journey. He informs Caroline after meeting her "here in these regions of innocence," he feels as if he is her "guardian" and "cannot be happy where you are not." He sacrifices his material wealth and security for the joy and paternal love he feels for Caroline. This illustrates the forgoing of vice (e.g. avarice) for the virtue of love.
Unlike other couples in the text who are seeking a mate to marry for financial or social security, Arl--ton literally puts distance between he and Caroline because he truly loves her, wants to marry her, but believes his feelings are not reciprocated. This is an example of
There is a struggle between the emotionally driven Capt. Arl--ton and the more logically driven Mr. Il--ray. Il--ray demands that the Capt. return in order to "restore you to a state of reason." Il--ray believes that Caroline does love Capt. Arl--ton and intends to show this to the Captain.
In Caroline's letter to Eliza, she recounts the moment when she and Capt. Arl--ton are reunited. She states, "I was sitting in an undress in General W----'s marquee for the advantage of the air..." and Mr. Il--ray lead Capt. Arl--ton "by the hand to present him to me." Based on the context, what does the term undress connote?
The interaction between Capt. Arl--ton and Caroline causes Caroline to appear to be ill. She is so overcome by her emotions and her feelings for him that she is unable to control herself. Do you think this is an appropriate depiction of women in a text that promotes equality of women?
Caroline's uncle is suspicious of her sister Mary's behavior and believes she is meddling in Caroline and Capt. Arl--ton's burgeoning love. If this is true, which term best characterizes Mary?
Quiz #2: Volume II
In terms of the plot structure, Volumes III contains the climaxes of the parallel plots, the falling actions, and the denouements. In the sentimental style a character's constancy and fidelity to his or her virtue leads to his or her exultation. As you read, prepare to identify these elements of the plots as well as the resolution of the conflicts.
Once again, Capt. Arl--ton decides to physically put distance between Caroline and him in order to preserve his heart. What impact may this have on the relationship between Arl--ton and Caroline's uncle?
The epistolary style assists in creating conflict because it reveals how easily miscommunication and misunderstanding may occur. In this case, Mr. Il--ray's attempts to extinguish the P.P. Esq's growing animosity for Capt. Arl--ton may inadvertently fuel P.P. Esq's anger and frustration. Remember that sentimental literature is considered didactic and moral, so the audience is meant to learn from the folly and mistakes of the characters.
In response to P.P. Esq's previous seething correspondence, Mr. Il--ray argues that, "Men view things differently when they have heard but one side of the question." How does Mr. Il--ray's point resonate with the other plots in the text? Use textual evidence to support your conclusions.
Caroline's abduction is a critical point in the story. She is loved by many, so they will all partake in the attempts to find her. Her abduction serves multiple purposes: it will unite the parallel plots, it will eventually reunite her with Capt. Arl--ton, and it will help to develop the theme of transcendence through nature. As you read, try to determine how this singular act can have such a broad impact on the text and why.
Though critics often consider the text a feminist piece, Il--ray's concern is how Caroline's "tender limbs support the fatigue of being hurried through briary thickets" or " how will her lovely frame be able to rest" without appropriate covering? This implies Caroline is weak and can not sustain herself against the forces of nature and does not support the contemporary feminist ideals. This is an example of
Capt. Arl--ton and Caroline are reunited in the wilderness void of any "civilized" influences of society and its precepts. This develops the theme of transcendence through nature. They are only able to develop a true love in a natural state. This idea is influenced by Rousseau's philosophy that men are born inherently good and are only corrupted by societal constrictions.
Capt. Alr--ton states that Caroline "looked more lovely than ever" even though her "beauteous face had been lacerated with brambles." This implies that
The source of conflict between Caroline and Capt. Arl--ton was miscommunication and a lack of communication. The initial note the Captain received is the primary source of discord between them. While the Captain and Caroline are isolated in the wilderness, they are able to communicate openly and resolve any issues they had previously. As critic Karsten Piep states in his essay, "Separatist Nationalism in Gilbert Imlay's The Emigrants" the natural setting affords "true love [the opportunity to] begets true freedom."
Il-ray relays that Caroline never "felt in the least harassed or alarmed for her safety" while in captivity of the natives. Il-ray believes that this is not unusual because it "is corraborated by the testimony of all descent women who have been so unfortunate as to fall into their hands." This implies that
A second conflict is resolved with the death of Mr. S---. In a sentimental text, the resolutions are much like in a fairtytale; all the problems are resolved and the pure and good characters live happily ever after. Do you think there is a lack of realism in this piece? If so, does it detract from or augment the developing themes in the text?
The circumstances that surround Mr. S---'s death illustrate which theme?
Though the conflicts between Caroline and Capt. Arl--ton and Mr. Il--ray and Mr. S--- are resolved, Eliza's predicament is still an issue. Based on her correspondence, her husband has reached "the zenith of his ambition," but she is concerned about "how long his fortune will be able to support it." Rather than appearing bitter, Eliza "sincerely wish[es] for his own comfort and future happiness." What does this convey to the audience about a woman's acceptance of her role in marriage?
P.P. Esq receives news that his uncle has passed and bequeathed to him his estate in England. P.P. Esq is grateful for the inheritance, but he does not wish to return to England for all of the following reasons except
P.P. Esq's inheritance conveys the theme of the virtue triumphing over vice. If you were to isolate the letters between Caroline and P.P. Esq, you will see an evolution of the perception of right and wrong based on the motivations for his actions. Initially, Caroline believed that he was acting in a debase manner by pursuing Lady B---. Caroline's perception changes based on the circumstances surrounding the union of Lady and Lord B--- and the contemptuous behavior of Lord B--- towards his wife. Throughout the text, P.P. Esq's words are essentially the voice of the philosophy of the text. He portrays English laws, motivation to grow economically, and societal values as the source of humanity's ills.
Based on the highlighted passage, what is Caroline's greatest concern about his sister's marriage?
The highlighted portion of text is important because it introduces the theme of a utopian or pantisocracy. The wilderness of the western United States was a ideal location to establish this society. Click on the link below for a detailed description of the romantic notion of pantisocracy. (This annotation contains a link)
Why does Mr. Il--ray mention and praise the French in his letter to Capt. Arl--ton? What role does the historical setting and influence play in this reference? Use textual evidence and your knowledge of the time period to support your answer.
From Mr. Il-ray's perspective based on his interactions with men like Mr. S--- he believes that the only solution to reinstitute the proper moral code is to find a location where equality can be established. This helps to develop the utopian theme.
She is a meddler and is grateful to return to England because she can be in a society she understands. What is the purpose of Miss T----'s character in the text? What does she provide in terms of the structure of argument? Use textual evidence to support your answer.
The anecdote Miss T--- conveys to Mr. Il--ray illustrates that all dishonorable men will eventually pay for their crimes, but he will be pitied because of how people perceived him, not because of his true persona. This is exactly the problem Imlay wishes to define through this text. By society relying on the external to define the internal, there is an inversion of values.
Earlier in the text, Il--ray requests that Capt. Arl--ton come and see him so Il--ray may help the Captain regain his sense. This seemed ironic in a text that lauds actions based on emotions, but it is evident now that Capt. Arl--ton's tendency to run from his problems was a result of his impetuousness and "propensity to dissipation." By overcoming these tendencies, Arl--ton demonstrates which theme?
The highlighted passage is an allusion to the pantisocracy outlined by Coleridge. Carefully read the passage and outline the parameters of the utopian society. Do you notice any anomalies or inconsistencies with the virtues the text espouses?
What is the "diabolical tyranny" that the Mr. Il-ray refers to that United States has "been fettered and groaning under"?
Upon arriving in England, Mr. Il--ray discovers that Eliza's situation is much more dire than she described. The motif of prostitution is reiterated as a result of her husband's degradation due to his immersion in his vice.
The situation between Mr. F---, Eliza, and Mr. Il--ray alludes to which other marriage in the text?
Capt. Arl--ton's reaction to the events that transpired between Mr. F--- and Eliza illustrate his strong emotional connection to this topic. However it is important to note that the idea of male and female equality does have limitations. As in Capt. Arl--ton's description of his utopian society, every male over the age of 21 would have representation in government, but the women are not mentioned. Here Arl--ton is outraged by the injustices Eliza suffers, but he is explicit in his belief that a man's role is to protect a woman; implying the women are the weaker sex.
In order to recover from the abuse she has suffered, Caroline suggests that Eliza find refuge in "the innocent charms of this wild country." What theme does this suggestion illustrate
In the highlighted statement, Caroline reiterates the connection between nature and emotion and her preference to the natural state versus the manufactured civility of Britain.
How does Mr. F---'s suicide illustrate the theme of virtue triumphing over vice? Do you think the text argues the only way for an individual to find redemption is through death? Use textual evidence to support your response.
In the letter from the English attorney to P.P. Esq, he reiterates the sentiments that laws are intended to be developed with good intentions but it is the influence of external factors (economic or political) that cause the laws to be obscured.
Caroline's brother George was mentioned briefly in the beginning of the text. He absconded with the family's money and squandered it gambling and through wanton pursuits. He was sentenced to debtor's prison, but through the benevolence of his uncle who pays his debts, he is released and sent to America to live with Caroline and her new family. Based on the highlighted passage, what does George symbolize?
In the end, all of the conflicts are amicably resolved and each character who embraces their virtue is redeemed or rewarded with happiness. This is the an essential characteristic of the sentimental text. Is it evident why Imlay chose this genre to express his philosophies?
Quiz #3: Volume III