The Coquette

The Coquette

The Coquette Letter 41 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Eliza writes Lucy and tells her that Hartford is “gloomy” after the excitement of Boston, but the addition of Major Sanford has made town more exciting. He has recently returned from Boston as well, and Eliza has a wonderful time in his company, but she has decided to marry Reverend Boyer. Eliza’s relationship with Sanford is platonic, and while he frequently begs her for more, she is not likely to concede. 
Eliza’s letter to Lucy is proof that she intended to reject Sanford and accept Boyer’s proposal. It is clear that Eliza doesn’t love Boyer, but she is willing to finally accept her role as a proper woman and marry the man she is supposed to. To Eliza, it is clear that she is not free to live her life as she chooses, and she is forced to surrender to patriarchal ideals and restrictions.
Themes
Women and Society Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Eliza met with Major Sanford in the garden to inform him of her choice regarding Reverend Boyer, and when she did, she was surprised to see Boyer enter the garden as well. Boyer glared at her Sanford with “indignant accusation” and immediately ran from the garden. Eliza followed, and meeting him in the parlor, she wept and asked him to hear her explanation. “My motives were innocent,” Eliza writes, “though they doubtless wore the aspect of criminality, in his view.” Boyer refused and promptly left. When Eliza realized that he had really gone and “forsaken [her],” she fainted.
Eliza faints because she knows that she will likely not be able to convince Boyer her intentions are innocent, and her future has been ruined over a misunderstanding. This is more evidence of Eliza’s unfair treatment. She has not behaved inappropriately with Sanford and she intended to marry Boyer, but she is not given the benefit of the doubt. It is assumed that she is immoral and not suited for a virtuous man like Boyer. 
Themes
Women and Society Theme Icon
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon