The Deceitful Mother in Rebecca Rush's Kelroy


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The Deceitful Mother in Rebecca Rush's Kelroy


Mothers are often thought of and characterized as loving, generous women, who put their children before themselves. They are gracious, caring, and kind humans that are willing to sacrifice happiness and fulfillment in their lives to insure that their children receive the guidance, love, support, and happiness that every child (especially their own) deserves. Sadly, this description does not define the characteristics of all mothers. An example of a mother in which her mannerisms are the exact opposite of those depicted above is found in the character of Mrs. Hammond in Rebecca Rush's Kelroy, first published in 1812. Mrs. Hammond is an example of the realism found in the book. Combining realism such as this with romanticism makes Kelroy one of the best illustrations of a novel of manners.

Like many mothers, Mrs. Hammond wishes for her daughters to marry well, but she not only desires this for their well being but also for her own. At the death of Mr. Hammond, his wife not only inherits his fortune but also his debts; finding out soon after that she acquires almost the same amount of debt as she did money. In trying to decide how she can continue in the lifestyle in which she is accustomed; she acknowledges the beauty of her daughters, Lucy and Emily, and thus creates a plan. Moving out of the city and into the country of Philadelphia to "mournî she began to train her daughters to land a rich husband. Mrs. Hammond does not stop to think of the others who could be affected by her actions. She is uncaring and cold and only out to better her position.

Mrs. Hammond characteristics range from calculating to charming; she uses her talent of manipulating situations to get exactly what she wants. She uses any means necessary to reach her goal; this makes her an excellent example of a great American bitch. Even after marrying Lucy off to Walsingham, an Englishman with a title, she was not still not satisfied. Emily marrying Kelroy, a penniless poet, was out of the question. Mrs. Hammond never considers what consequences her actions will have on herself and others. She is the evil or villain found in the book. There is nothing wrong with a mother desiring her daughters to marry well, but in Mrs.

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Hammonds' case she does not desire it for her daughters' well-being but for her own. In some small measure, she might have began with the idea of helping her daughters remain in the "niceî life, but she quickly became interested in how she was going to benefit from their marriages.

Mrs. Hammond also uses the art of deception. Emily and Kelroy were obviously in love with each other; a fact that was obvious to everyone including Emily's mother. Upon finding out that Kelroy was broke Mrs. Hammond decided that Emily could no longer see him. Even knowing how much Emily cared for Kelroy, seeing how happy Emily was when they were together, and observing how miserable she was without him Mrs. Hammond still refused to relent on the matter until she was vaguely threatened by Walsingham. Thinking on this later, Mrs. Hammond realized she had been pressured and had shown weakness; this thought did not settle well with her. She then did everything in her power to keep Emily and Kelroy apart even blatant lying and deception. Not getting the gracious care she thought to receive from Walsingham, Lucy's husband, she is relying on the match made by Emily and Kelroy does not fit her description of a perfect son-in-law. The idea of marriage for most contains love and happiness, but for Mrs. Hammond marriage is prosperity and bettering your position.

A lesson that can be learned by mothers in the reading of the novel, Kelroy, by Rebecca Rush is that no matter what plans that she may have in store for her daughter they should be for the benefit of her daughter and not herself. Above all, the daughter's hopes need to be taken into consideration. In the end, some may say Mrs. Hammond got what she deserved. But her deception cost her something much more important, the love and respect of her daughter, Emily. Using lies, deception, and manipulation to get what you want often backfires, and in the case of Mrs. Hammond no one benefited from her lies especially herself. A mother should put her children's happiness before her own; she should love, support, and guide them, but unlike Mrs. Hammond not through trickery or for her own benefit.


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