The Coquette

The Coquette

by

Hannah Webster Foster

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The Coquette: Letter 72 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
“Oh, Deighton,” Sanford writes, “I am undone!” He tells Charles about Eliza’s death and expresses his deep love for her and regret that she is now gone. Sanford’s wife and house are gone now, as well; Nancy has finally divorced him, and he signed over his house to appease his creditors. “In short I am barred from every kind of happiness,” Sanford tells Charles and bids him a final farewell. “Let it warn you, my friend, to shun the dangerous paths which I have trodden.”
Sanford implies that Charles is a rake, as well, and he implores him to stop. Sanford is ruined, and his fate also serves as a cautionary tale for men who play fast and loose with their own virtue, a criticism unheard of in the eighteenth century, especially coming from a female author. Foster’s novel was not published under her name until after her death, and this is perhaps one of the reasons why. Like Eliza, Foster too appears to resist the patriarchy. 
Themes
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Sex and Virtue Theme Icon