The Coquette

The Coquette

by

Hannah Webster Foster

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The Coquette: Letter 54 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
“It is your old friend,” Sanford writes Charles, “metamorphosed into a married man!” It was “dire necessity” that has caused Sanford’s marriage, and 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 claims. 
Sanford clearly doesn’t respect women or value them beyond what they can give him. He speaks of Miss Laurence as if she was merely a bank and not a woman, and he considers Nancy better because she has more money.
Themes
Women and Society Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Still, Sanford can’t help but pine over Eliza. “O, Eliza,” he cries, “accuse me not of infidelity; for your image is my constant companion!” Having returned to Hartford, Sanford plans to visit Eliza tomorrow and “solicit her friendship” for his wife, Nancy. That way, Sanford may “enjoy [Eliza’s] society, at least.” He can’t stop thinking about Eliza, and he “impatiently anticipates the hour” when he can see her again.
Interestingly enough, Sanford is worried that Eliza will think him unfaithful, not his wife, who is actually the wronged woman in this scenario. Sanford is clearly taking advantage of Nancy for money and his heart belongs to Eliza, which means he has betrayed Nancy’s heart and trust.
Themes
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon