The Corpse of Hope

“He walked straight out of the house, this foolish old man, because there was some strong emotion at work in his heart – neither joy nor triumph […] He carried the corpse of that hope which had died at the sound of Lucy’s words” (17).

Throughout this passage there is a lot of emphasis on emotion. One part that stands out to me is the repetition of death, more specifically the word “corpse”. Especially in the last sentence it says, “He carried the corpse of hope which had died at the sound of Lucy’s words” (17). Not only is he saying that his hope for this marriage was already gone, but that it had also died at the sound of his future wife’s voice. This line is significant especially when he should be feeling happy. I think it has a lot to say about his feelings towards Lucy, and how those feelings may be present throughout the rest of the novel. This repetition of corpse has something to say about who he is as a person. He’s about to start a new beginning in his life and is describing it as more of an ending where essentially all hope is dead. It may be a stretch, but I get the idea that this passage has a much greater meaning than his feelings about a new marriage. I think this is showing how this relationship will continue because he is disappointed by the outcome that he originally wanted. The prospect of marrying Lucy was so grand that it seemed as if he never thought it would happen. Now that it is, all he is feeling is disappointment and heartache. What jumps out at me the most about this idea of death, is that later on in Chapter 5, when Phoebe and Luke sneak into her room, in this box filled with jewels, there’s what they presume is a baby’s hair among a chest of jewels and gold. Clearly something had to have happened, maybe the loss of a child, that could indicate disappointment and loss in their lives. This passage may be hinting towards death and disappointment that will fill their marriage and their lives throughout the novel.

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