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Why do you think Émile's mother holds such sway over him? What does she represent in the novel?

Created: 10/19/17

Replies: 12

Posted Oct. 19, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1358

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Why do you think Émile's mother holds such sway over him? What does she represent in the novel?

Why do you think Émile's mother holds such sway over him? What does she represent in the novel?


Posted Oct. 21, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
victoriah

Join Date: 08/22/17

Posts: 16

RE: Why do you think Émile's mother holds such sway over him? What does she represent in the novel?

Emile's mother held sway mainly because of her strong traditional societal role, her power and influence from their business and also as an initially very frail personality needing a son's support. I think she represents the ability of traditional societies to adjust to social, business and technological change.


Posted Oct. 22, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
normar

Join Date: 05/15/11

Posts: 21

RE: Why do you think Émile's mother holds such sway over him? What does she represent in the novel?

Emile’s mother represented the past. She wanted him to fulfill a traditional role in the family


Posted Oct. 23, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
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donnac

Join Date: 03/26/14

Posts: 126

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RE: Why do you think Émile's mother holds such sway over him? What does she represent in the novel?

Clearly Émile’s mother represents the staid tradition of a woman of her class whose job was to exert an iron hand over the doings of her family. She’d been matched to her husband the result of a business decision. She brought cash for her betrothed’s business expansion which also meant she brought two — now likely — spinster sisters who immediately became reliant on that business for their existence.

Naturally Émile has been raised in that culture. He has marinated in it his whole life but strains at the choking reins as best he knows how. But he is not man enough, nor has he will enough to give himself permission to fully break free. I felt a little sorry for him and not just for him that reason.


Posted Oct. 24, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
victoriah

Join Date: 08/22/17

Posts: 16

RE: Why do you think Émile's mother holds such sway over him? What does she represent in the novel?

It was rather puzzling that Emile was so unhappy with his life in the beginning, although as you mention he felt trapped by traditional business and family loyalty. But he did "break free". At first, he had gone for the lowest type of woman, and then through exposure to Cait and her ideals, started to realize that he could think for himself and be his own man in business and life. I think he did suffer quite a bit, although he was usually shown as cavalier and rather insensitive So I do think both Cait and Emile changed, and a large part of the story was how they influenced each other.


Posted Oct. 24, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
katherinep

Join Date: 07/16/14

Posts: 71

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RE: Why do you think Émile's mother holds such sway over him? What does she represent in the novel?

She is old, frail and alone. By tradition, parents are respected and cared for by their children. He loves her and does not want to hurt her by breaking tradition. He is following the social class system for her benefit but he certainly is not following her wishes when it comes to the business. It is hard to break all the rules when you don't want to upset the parents you love.


Posted Oct. 29, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
judyw

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 39

RE: Why do you think Émile's mother holds such sway over him? What does she represent in the novel?

Family loyalty has been the bedrock of wealthier classes for eons. Emile's mother was a typical mother of the time, ruling her son's life with an iron fist. She was afraid of being alone and continued to make Emile feel guilty at any cost to his happiness. She insisted he fulfill his "duty" to the family. This insistence was not at all unusual in her social class.


Posted Oct. 29, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
corinne

Join Date: 06/17/11

Posts: 5

RE: Why do you think Émile's mother holds such sway over him? What does she represent in the novel?

I believe that Emile was brought up by the social rules. It was only proper to marry someone whom your parents approved. The parents were usually looking for money, better station in life, expand the families wealth in business. Emile knew nothing different that was his Mother taught him all the years he was growing up. Everyone else was living the same life and it would bring shame and scandal on his family to do what he wanted. He had to understand that it would affect his family business and that would hurt his mother and family. Gustave Eiffel would fire him if he were involved out of wedlock and his investors could have shut him down. His mother reminds him of all the consequences.


Corinne
Posted Oct. 29, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dorothyl

Join Date: 04/15/12

Posts: 83

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RE: Why do you think Émile's mother holds such sway over him? What does she represent in the novel?

I think part of the reason Emile's mother influences him is because his brother died and he is really all she has left to continue the family legacy in the future.


Posted Oct. 31, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
pamelah

Join Date: 05/19/11

Posts: 24

RE: Why do you think Émile's mother holds such sway over him? What does she represent in the novel?

It would have been partly the tradition of the time period, she was the matron of the family. She represents the "old school" way of doing things.


Posted Nov. 06, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
linz

Join Date: 08/12/15

Posts: 38

RE: Why do you think Émile's mother holds such sway over him? What does she represent in the novel?

I think Emile was still had one foot in the past, felt guilty about not seeing his mother often, and she was obviously a strong woman who knew the influence she had over her son's life. And she controlled the money!


Posted Nov. 12, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
henryw

Join Date: 11/12/17

Posts: 3

RE: Why do you think Émile's mother holds such sway over him? What does she represent in the novel?

The sole surviving son whose mother has layered a bit of guilt on him. He struggles and in the end she recognizes that fact and frees him ( without telling him)


Posted Nov. 12, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lindas

Join Date: 12/26/11

Posts: 17

RE: Why do you think Émile's mother holds such sway over him? What does she represent in the novel?

He had a duty to the family. His mother was hell bent on him doing what society expected. She represents the past.


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