The Coquette

The Coquette

by

Hannah Webster Foster

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The Coquette: Letter 36 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
“Hail happy babe!” Eliza writes to Mrs. Richman. After relaying her happiness regarding the newest addition to the Richman family, Eliza tells Mrs. Richman about Lucy Freeman’s wedding. She claims Lucy and her new husband are a “charming couple,” owing to a “similarity of tastes” and “consonance of their dispositions.” Reverend Boyer took the event as an occasion to ask Eliza to do “likewise,” but she ignored any talk of her own marriage. She meant only to enjoy the party, and even danced with Major Sanford, although Boyer’s presence hampered her enjoyment as he seemed rather jealous. “Lucy Freeman, now Mrs. Sumner,” will move to Boston next week and Eliza will join her. “Kiss the dear little babe for me,” Eliza writes in closing.
General and Mrs. Richman’s baby is a symbol of their perfect marriage and the joy of the domestic sphere, which makes marriage and childrearing appear as perpetually happy states. Of course, this isn’t true, but the idea is to make Eliza (and all women) believe that she can only be truly happy if she enters the domestic sphere, as this is her designated, and natural, role. With the addition of Lucy’s wedding, Eliza is surrounded by domesticity and is clearly feeling very pressured. 
Themes
Women and Society Theme Icon
Marriage and Social Mobility Theme Icon