刊物属性
  • 刊物名称:校园英语
  • 国内刊号:CN 13-1298/G4
  • 国际刊号:ISSN 1009-6426
  • 数据库收录:中国知网
  • 投稿邮箱:
      tougao@xiaoyuanyingyu.com
  • 时间:2017-10-02 来源:校园英语杂志社

      There still exists critical consensus that The Mother’s Recompense (1925) is not a so successful work as those of Edith Wharton’s early great novels The House of Mirth (1905), The Custom of the Country (1913), The Age of Innocence (1920). Lev Raphael considers it as a “neglected fiction” that is “not highly regarded”. (Raphael, 40) James W. Tuttleton asserts it is “seriously defective” (Tuttleton, 128); Elizabeth Ammons finds it “not very good” (Ammons, 158); Margaret Mcdowell categorizes the novel as “inferior” (Macdowell, 142). Though the novel does not receive favorable comment from some critics, it is nevertheless unique in depicting an unconventional woman in the story. Rather than secure herself a ready marriage in New York, the heroine Kate Clephane prefers a self-directed life by self-exiled in Europe. This essay intends to explore how Kate Clephane undergoes a struggling process of pursuing for self-fulfillment and individual freedom within circumscribed historical and transcontinental social context, ultimately establishing herself as an independent individual according to her own code of behavior.
      The Mother’s Recompense is mainly set in post-World War I American society in the 1920s. It opens with Kate Clephane, aged 45, settled herself in south of France where she has made a life for herself in British and American expatriate community. In her recollection, the readers get to learn her previous life experience. Eighteen years before, she had run away from her husband’s grim stifled old house on Fifth Avenue, leaving behind her three-year-old daughter, Anne. For two years, she traveled with Hylton Davies, a dilettante whom she parted two years later. After her elopement, Kate is forbidden to meet her daughter by the old Mrs. Clephane until the latter’s death. She goes from one Continental watering-place to another, living a lonely life until she meets Chris, a man fourteen years younger than herself, with whom she passionately falls in love. The affair finishes when Chris drifts away from her, fighting in the First World War, leaving her with poignant memories of happiness, which for long she hopes against hope that someday he would come back. Shortly after the novel opens, she is recalled to New York by her daughter Anne, now a girl of twenty-one. She attempts to readapt the suppressed society she once escaped and is courted by a retired lawyer and admirer, Fred Landers. Her extreme agony and horror begins when Kate discovers Anne intends to marry her ex-lover. Confronted with an intolerable situation, she finally returns to France, abandoning her daughter for a second time and turns down the proposal made by the amiable but dull Fred Landers, to whom she reveals her secret of her previous love affairs.