The Melancholy Hussar of the German Legion

by

Thomas Hardy

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Dr. Grove/Phyllis’s Father Character Analysis

Phyllis’s father, Dr. Grove, was once a professional, but his habits of solitary philosophical meditation reduced his income so greatly that he and Phyllis were forced to move to the countryside, no longer able to afford to live in a larger town. In the country, Dr. Grove has become more and more irritable and withdrawn, and he is unkind and oppressive to Phyllis. When rumors circulate that Humphrey may not plan on honoring his engagement to Phyllis, Dr. Grove refuses to believe them, instructing Phyllis to remain patient and loyal to the man who has shown her so little regard. He soon learns of Phyllis’s frequent conversations with a German soldier, and tells her she cannot go further than the garden wall without his permission. Dr. Grove, desiring even more control over his daughter, eventually decides Phyllis must leave the village to stay with her aunt until the soldiers have moved on from their camp, and his control over her extends to his directions on what to pack for her stay. He is “triumphant” when Humphrey returns, pleased by his (incorrect) assumption that his daughter will finally have a respectable marriage.

Dr. Grove/Phyllis’s Father Quotes in The Melancholy Hussar of the German Legion

The The Melancholy Hussar of the German Legion quotes below are all either spoken by Dr. Grove/Phyllis’s Father or refer to Dr. Grove/Phyllis’s Father. 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:
Captivity, Restriction, and Escape Theme Icon
).
Part 1 Quotes

The daughter’s seclusion was great, but beyond the seclusion of the girl lay the seclusion of the father. If her social condition was twilight, his was darkness. Yet he enjoyed his darkness, while her twilight oppressed her.

Related Characters: Narrator (speaker), Phyllis Grove, Dr. Grove/Phyllis’s Father
Page Number: 4
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 3 Quotes

This account—though only a piece of hearsay, and as such entitled to no absolute credit—tallied so well with the infrequency of his letters and their lack of warmth, that Phyllis did not doubt its truth for one moment; and from that hour she felt herself free to bestow her heart as she should choose. Not so her father; he declared the whole story to be a fabrication.

Page Number: 9-10
Explanation and Analysis:

Phyllis had not the smallest intention of disobeying him in her actions, but she assumed herself to be independent with respect to her feelings. She no longer checked her fancy for the Hussar, though she was far from regarding him as her lover in the serious sense in which an Englishman might have been regarded as such. The young foreign soldier was almost an ideal being to her, with none of the appurtenances of an ordinary house-dweller; one who had descended she knew not whither; the subject of a fascinating dream—no more.

Page Number: 10
Explanation and Analysis:
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Dr. Grove/Phyllis’s Father Character Timeline in The Melancholy Hussar of the German Legion

The timeline below shows where the character Dr. Grove/Phyllis’s Father appears in The Melancholy Hussar of the German Legion. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1
Captivity, Restriction, and Escape Theme Icon
Love vs. Societal Expectations Theme Icon
Gender, Rank, and Power Theme Icon
...this tale, is a solitary young woman who lives with her even more solitary father, Dr. Grove , in this part of the countryside. Her father’s habit of secluded meditation means he... (full context)
Part 3
Captivity, Restriction, and Escape Theme Icon
Love vs. Societal Expectations Theme Icon
Gender, Rank, and Power Theme Icon
Secrecy, Rumor, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Loyalty Theme Icon
...along with Humphrey’s sparse and formal letters to her, frees her from the engagement. However, Phyllis’s father disagrees: he believes that the rumor is untrue, that Humphrey is an honorable man, and... (full context)
Love vs. Societal Expectations Theme Icon
Gender, Rank, and Power Theme Icon
Though Phyllis does not plan to disobey her father , she believes herself in control of her own feelings and lowers her guard against... (full context)
Captivity, Restriction, and Escape Theme Icon
Love vs. Societal Expectations Theme Icon
Gender, Rank, and Power Theme Icon
Loyalty Theme Icon
...Tina comforts her. He tells her that his plans do not depend on military rank. Phyllis’s father would not allow him to marry her if they remained in England, so Tina wishes... (full context)
Captivity, Restriction, and Escape Theme Icon
Love vs. Societal Expectations Theme Icon
Because Phyllis is unhappy within the confines of her father ’s house, and does not feel a great sense of belonging in this part of... (full context)
Captivity, Restriction, and Escape Theme Icon
Love vs. Societal Expectations Theme Icon
Soon, however, Phyllis’s father confronts Phyllis about her meetings with Matthäus Tina, and tells her she’ll be going to... (full context)
Part 4
Captivity, Restriction, and Escape Theme Icon
...the harbor and row it to the meeting point over the hill. As soon as Phyllis’s father goes to his room, Phyllis leaves the house and walks to the meeting point on... (full context)
Captivity, Restriction, and Escape Theme Icon
Love vs. Societal Expectations Theme Icon
Gender, Rank, and Power Theme Icon
...with him, but her courage fails her, and she returns home instead. The next morning, Phyllis’s father is excited to inform her, “triumphantly,” that Humphrey has brought her a gift and will... (full context)
Part 5
Love vs. Societal Expectations Theme Icon
Secrecy, Rumor, and Storytelling Theme Icon
...wall has been flattened by her habit, and that it might be this that alerted her father to the meetings between the two.  (full context)
Captivity, Restriction, and Escape Theme Icon
Secrecy, Rumor, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Loyalty Theme Icon
...past. After this, the bodies are once again placed in the coffins and taken away. Dr. Grove , hearing the sound of gunfire, rushes out into the garden where he finds Phyllis... (full context)