Monsters & Madness

Secret Lives in Victorian Literature

Lucy After the Storm

I have chosen to analyze the third paragraph on page 78 of the novel that details Lady Audley’s behavior after the storm. This passage describes the sharp contrast between the frightened Lady Audley and her behavior after the storm that caused her to behave strangely. The passage parallels the passages on the previous page, which detail George Talboys’ similar reaction after the storm. In this passage, Lucy is compared to fresh flowers and birds. Her cheeks were described as being pink, indicating passion and liveliness, and she was described as beautiful and joyous in the same way that the birds were. This imagery comparing her to birds is continued when the author describes her singing as warbling. The passage is full of imagery of nature, flowers, and light. Nature is a common motif throughout the novel, often used as further indication of how a character feels. The passage shows how Lucy’s behavior contrasts how she felt during the storm, as she felt much happier in the safety of the daylight. In the next paragraph, her husband recounts, “Do you know, Lucy, that once last night, when you looked out through the dark green bed-curtains, with your poor white face, and the purple rims around your hollow eyes, I had almost a difficulty to recognize my little wife in that ghastly, terrified, agonized-looking creature,” which sharply contrasts the imagery in the paragraph before it (Braddon 78). Like a child, Lucy is afraid of the storm as well as many other common fears in childhood such as dogs and even cows. This passage reveals to the audience that Lucy has odd, childlike behavior and yet is similar to George in that they were both terrified of the storm and recovered beautifully afterwards. This passage foreshadows a possible link between Lucy and George to be explored later in the novel, and uses imagery of nature to convey Lucy’s emotions.

2 Comments

  1. This attention to Lucy and George’s behavior regarding the storm was definitely meant to draw a connection between these two characters, which we have now learned are husband and wife. The emphasis you made on her appearance the next morning could also further prove the struggle that Lucy faces with concealing her true feelings and “madness” throughout the novel. She was completely terrified the night before, but has managed to conceal those anxieties the following morning to put on this beautiful, calm façade, a façade that she has been tricking everyone, especially Sir Michael Audley, with.

  2. It is interesting to see how both Lucy and George have such similar behavior but we should also ask why George behaved the way he did. We know that Lucy’s attempt to hide her emotions and fear is a way to conceal her past. Yet, George does not have such a clear reason as to why he would hide his true feelings. Perhaps he is ashamed of who he married or maybe he realizes how mad his wife is and would prefer to begin a new life without her. This could also go back to how individuals in the Victorian era did not talk about their feelings and troubles.

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