Rutherfurd's Estates Essay

Rutherfurd's Estates Essay

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In Edward Rutherfurd’s London, characters from all three estates are introduced and throughout each chapter their ideals and personality traits are developed. Some characters tend to be better off than others economically, but each of these more unfortunate characters uses his intellect to get ahead. The powerful characters are divided into two categories, because some are politically powerful and others are powerful in their community by making tough decisions and having important leadership qualities. Whatever the circumstance may be, throughout the book each estate has an extensive collection of characters with very different traits. Characters in each estate have characteristics such as wealth, power, and intellect that widely vary from one another and can range from poor, simpleminded people with no power to cunning, powerful people that have more money than they need.
The 1st estate, the nobility, is comprised of people who tend to be more powerful and a great deal wealthier than those of the other estates. However, in London, a few characters from the 1st estate possess quite a bit of intelligence, and use it to their advantage. Lady St. James from the chapter “Gin Lane” uses her intellect to get revenge on her abusive husband. After she is humiliated by Lord St. James, she devises a plan that she intends to carry out with the help of Jack Meredith. Her plan is very carefully thought out, and in the end is foolproof. The plan is to have Meredith claim that he is her lover so Lord St. James will challenge him to a duel. Then, when St. James comes home to prepare for the duel, she will “make amends” with him and convince him not to kill Meredith. She writes to Meredith and tells him that St. James is going to try to kill hi...


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...e puts stress on characters in the 3rd estate. However, some characters like Gilbert Bull, are very wealthy. As Rutherfurd writes, “With money and family connections he soon prospered” (432). Family connections were very important to the 3rd estate, because otherwise they were simply commoners. Some became merchants, doctors, lawyers, and other occupations that paid a fairly decent salary.
London does a great job of illustrating the different social and moral situations of people in assorted estates. Many of the characters got over their low social and economical standing by using their intellect. Some characters lost their respect and their power by making mistakes and terrible decisions. Every estate has characters that are poor or wealthy, intellectual or ignorant, and powerful or weak. Every character is different, just like every estate is different.



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