The Custom of the Country

by

Edith Wharton

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Mr. Dagonet Character Analysis

Mr. Dagonet is the patriarch of the venerable New York Dagonet family; he’s also Ralph Marvell and Laura Fairford’s grandfather. Despite her reverence for the members of New York high society, Undine Spragg finds Mr. Dagonet unimpressive, and indeed, his family isn’t nearly as wealthy as it once was. Mr. Dagonet even has to ask Mr. Spragg for help supporting Ralph when Ralph is set to marry Undine. Although Mr. Dagonet embodies the influence of tradition, he also shows how tradition alone isn’t enough and how even the most venerable families face losing their reputation once the money starts to run out.

Mr. Dagonet Quotes in The Custom of the Country

The The Custom of the Country quotes below are all either spoken by Mr. Dagonet or refer to Mr. Dagonet. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Marriage and Divorce Theme Icon
).
Chapter 7 Quotes

“Oh, it all depends on you! Out in Apex, if a girl marries a man who don’t come up to what she expected, people consider it’s to her credit to want to change. You’d better think twice of that!”

“If I were only sure of knowing what you expect!” he caught up her joke, tossing it back at her across the fascinated silence of their listeners.

“Why, everything!” she announced—and Mr. Dagonet, turning, laid an intricately-veined old hand on, hers, and said, with a change of tone that relaxed the tension of the listeners: “My child, if you look like that you’ll get it.”

Related Characters: Undine Spragg (speaker), Ralph Marvell (speaker), Mr. Dagonet (speaker), Mabel Lipscomb
Page Number: 58
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 10 Quotes

Mr. Spragg mused. “Wasn’t he ever taught to work?”

“No; I really couldn’t have afforded that.”

Related Characters: Mr. Abner E. Spragg (speaker), Mr. Dagonet (speaker), Ralph Marvell, Undine Spragg
Page Number: 74
Explanation and Analysis:
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Mr. Dagonet Character Timeline in The Custom of the Country

The timeline below shows where the character Mr. Dagonet appears in The Custom of the Country. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 7
Marriage and Divorce Theme Icon
Materialism and Ambition Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...who gave Undine the ring. Undine ends up seated at the table next to old Mr. Dagonet , who is less imposing than she expected. She can tell that Mrs. Marvell doesn’t... (full context)
Marriage and Divorce Theme Icon
Materialism and Ambition Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...with Ralph, even though she isn’t acting and feels that she really does love him. Mr. Dagonet asks about Mabel Lipscomb. When Undine tells Mr. Dagonet that Mabel’s husband is a stockbroker,... (full context)
Chapter 10
Marriage and Divorce Theme Icon
Materialism and Ambition Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...New York weddings are, particularly now that Undine is moving the date up for hers. Mr. Dagonet has come to discuss the wedding with Mr. Spragg, and Mr. Spragg’s attempts to joke... (full context)
Marriage and Divorce Theme Icon
Materialism and Ambition Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...make money—he mostly just writes poetry and receives three thousand a year from his grandfather, Mr. Dagonet . Mr. Dagonet says he couldn’t teach Ralph how to work because it would’ve been... (full context)
Chapter 12
Marriage and Divorce Theme Icon
Materialism and Ambition Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...anyone in his family could help them out with money. Ralph is reluctant to ask Mr. Dagonet for more, although when Undine persists that he should ask his sister (Laura Fairford), he... (full context)
Chapter 18
Marriage and Divorce Theme Icon
Materialism and Ambition Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...hide her excitement. A day or two before her departure, she takes Paul to see Mr. Dagonet , and on the way back, she runs into Elmer. Elmer says it’s nice to... (full context)
Chapter 23
Marriage and Divorce Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...people in his life avoid scandals. His family doesn’t really understand divorce, least of all Mr. Dagonet(full context)