The Coquette

The Coquette


Hannah Webster Foster

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Coquette can help.

The Coquette: Letter 68 Summary & Analysis

“My Honored And Dear Mamma,” Eliza writes to Mrs. Wharton. “Yes, madam, your Eliza has fallen; fallen, indeed!” Eliza tells her mother that she has fallen “victim” to “her own indiscretion” and has been “polluted” by a married “libertine.” She claims to be “a reproach and disgrace to [her] friends,” and because of this, she has decided “to conceal from them the place of [her] retirement.” She assures her mother that she is taken care of and asks her not to worry, but “the effect of [her] crime is too obvious to be longer concealed,” and as such, she must leave. “Farewell, my dear mamma!” Eliza writes, “pity and pray for your ruined child.”
As Eliza’s pregnancy advances, it is becoming more difficult to conceal, and she wishes to spare her mother the indignity of becoming a public disgrace. This of course is another reflection of their sexist society, but Eliza’s running away is in large part due to the harshness of her friends. Perhaps if Eliza had a better support system in her friends, they could have talked her out of running off and abandoning her mother.
Women and Society Theme Icon
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon