The Coquette

The Coquette

by

Hannah Webster Foster

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Miss Laurence Character Analysis

Mr. Laurence and Mrs. Laurence’s daughter, friend to the General and Mrs. Richman, and fleeting love interest of Peter Sanford. Miss Laurence comes from a wealthy family, and Sanford sees her fortune as a way to retain his social status after he wastes all his own money. Both Sanford and Eliza comment that Miss Laurence has no “soul,” which is to say she is boring and cold. Sanford is only interested in Miss Laurence until he finds a woman with more money, and then he promptly drops her, and she is never mentioned again. The character of Miss Laurence highlights how women aren’t valued in eighteenth-century America. Sanford views Miss Laurence, and all other women, as disposable—when he doesn’t need her anymore, he throws her away.
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Miss Laurence Character Timeline in The Coquette

The timeline below shows where the character Miss Laurence appears in The Coquette. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Letter X. to the same.
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
...Richman to dine at Mr. Laurence’s, a local gentleman of “fortune and fashion.” His daughter, Miss Laurence , is heiress to their large estate, and while she is lovely, Eliza admits that... (full context)
Letter XVIII. to Mr. Charles Deighton.
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
...he “felt a glow of jealousy.” However, Sanford has “a plan of necessity” to marry Miss Laurence . Her father, Mr. Laurence, is “a man of large property” and she an only... (full context)
Women and Society Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
While Sanford intends to marry Miss Laurence , he much prefers Eliza. “I know not the lady in the world with whom... (full context)
Letter XXIV. to the Rev. J. Boyer.
Women and Society Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
...claimed that her running into Major Sanford was “accidental.” Last night she made plans with Miss Laurence to go riding, and they had simply come by Sanford in their travels. He asked... (full context)
Letter XXVI. to Miss Lucy Freeman.
Women and Society Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Eliza agreed to go horseback riding the next day with Miss Laurence , and Major Sanford appeared just a few miles into the trip. He asked to... (full context)
Women and Society Theme Icon
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Once Miss Laurence was gone, Major Sanford told Eliza that he was struck with “jealousy” by the appearance... (full context)
Letter LIV. to Mr. Charles Deighton.
Women and Society Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
...his new wife, Nancy, comes with “five thought pounds in possession, and more in reversion.” Miss Laurence was only worth half that, and Nancy is “a handsomer, and more agreeable person,” Sanford... (full context)