The Coquette

The Coquette


Hannah Webster Foster

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The Coquette: Letter 52 Summary & Analysis

Lucy writes to Eliza and begs her to “rise above” her present depression. “Avoid solitude,” Lucy orders, as solitude is likely to exacerbate Eliza’s state of mind. “True courage consists not in flying from the storms of life,” Lucy preaches, “but in braving and steering through them with prudence.” She tells Eliza that she recently saw a production of Romeo and Juliet, but “death is too serious a matter” to be made into entertainment. The circus was likewise disappointing, and Lucy considers the female performers “inconsistent with the delicacy of a lady.” The museum, Lucy says, is much more to her liking. She plans to visit Eliza in the summer and, until then, Lucy begs her to “be cheerful.”  
Lucy suggests that Eliza is “flying,” or running away, from her problems, and she implies that this makes Eliza a coward. Eliza is not a coward because she has been struck by depression; she is simply human and doing the best she can. Still, her friend continues to degrade her and imply that she is somehow less because of her current mental state. Lucy attempts to steer the conversation to something more benign, like the theater, but even this reveals Lucy as an intolerant and judgmental prude.
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