The Coquette

The Coquette


Hannah Webster Foster

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The Coquette: Letter 46 Summary & Analysis

“I cannot but hope that this letter coming from the hand which you once sought,” Eliza writes to Reverend Boyer, “will not be unacceptable.” Instead of an apology, Eliza tells Boyer that she “frankly confesses” her “offences” and assures him that they “cost [her] the deepest repentance.” Eliza confesses that she loves Boyer, and that their separation all these months has deepened that love. She hopes to “rekindle the latent flame” of their association, but if he has already found happiness, she wishes not to “interrupt [his] enjoyments.” Eliza closes her letter with well wishes, “whatever may be [her] destiny.”
Whether Eliza really loves Boyer or just thinks she does is debatable, but regardless of this, she is still willing to confess to an “offence” that she didn’t necessarily commit, simply because she is a woman and presumed to be guilty. Eliza’s own belief that she has wronged Boyer reflects how deeply she is affected by patriarchal oppression and ideals—she is willing to admit guilt when she isn’t guilty, simply to appease a man and secure her future stability.
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