The Coquette

The Coquette

by

Hannah Webster Foster

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The Coquette: Letter 45 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Eliza has returned home to her mother, Mrs. Wharton, she writes to Lucy, but can’t find happiness even there. Eliza has been for some months vising Mrs. Richman in New Haven, but she could not find joy in a social setting. Mrs. Richman suggested that Eliza write to Reverend Boyer, claiming it will be “a relief to [Eliza’s] mind,” and she agreed. Eliza hopes she can “rekindle the gentle flame” that once burned between them.
Even after Boyer has left Eliza, Mrs. Richman continues to push Eliza in his direction. Boyer never does take Eliza back, and when he answers her letter and tells her that he has married another, this only adds to Eliza’s despair. Once again, Mrs. Richman’s meddlesome ways are more hurtful than helpful to Eliza.
Themes
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Major Sanford has not written Eliza in nearly twelve months. “Has he too forsaken me?” Eliza asks Lucy. If he has, Eliza claims, that won’t be nearly as painful as Reverend Boyer’s continued rejection. She has heard gossip that Sanford will soon be married, but Eliza can hardly believe it. She closes her letter and asks Lucy to send her word of the local theater productions in Boston, which she regards as her “favorite amusement.”
Eliza inquires about the theater because that is the closest thing she has to a social life in her depressed state. Eliza is beginning to realize that she won’t end up with either Boyer or Sanford, and with her now tarnished reputation, she has little prospects for the future, which only serves to compound her fragile state.
Themes
Women and Society Theme Icon
Sex and Virtue Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon