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Old 11-20-2019, 08:34 AM   #72
astrangerhere
Professor of Law
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I have quickly caught up the conversation, but I want to make a point that I don't think has been raised in its full potential. This novel is a perfect, albeit dated, picture of domestic violence. As many of you know, my entire law practice is representing victims of domestic violence in all the legal matters that arise from them trying to escape abusers.

Many of the character flaws that some of you have pointed out are classic behaviors of abused women. It is wholly believable that she would go back to nurse him. Many women who escape the abuser return to him or her if they believe that the abuser "needs" them or finds themselves in a situation from which "surely they will change."

While Huntington's abuse is not physical, he destroys her hobbies (burning the paints), is an alcoholic, clearly cheats, and controls her. But some of the lesser characters in the novel are clearly more physically abusive. During the visit of all of Huntington's friends in chapter 31, the following exchange takes place between Hattersly and his wife:

Quote:
"I want to know what’s the matter with you...What are you crying for
Milicent? Tell me!"
"I’m not crying."
...
"How dare you tell such a lie?"
"I’m not crying now," pleaded she.
"But you have been—and just this minute too; and I will know what for. Come
now, you shall tell me!"
"Do let me alone Ralph! remember we are not at home."
"No matter: you shall answer my question!" exclaimed her tormentor; and he
attempted to extort the confession by shaking her and remorselessly crushing her slight arms in the gripe of his powerful fingers.
If he is willing to treat her thus in front a whole party, what must her home life be?

I know that the book is so didactic as to be unsufferably preachy, but I have to appreciate the early attempt to depict the brutality of some Victorian homes.
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