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The lessons in charlotte temple by susanna rowson

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Plot summary[ edit ] The book relates the tale of Charlotte Temple, who is enticed by a dashing soldier, John Montraville, to run away with him, but after they cross to America, he abandons her. It belongs to the seduction novel genre popular in early American literature.

Montraville sets his mind on seducing Charlotte and succeeds with the help of his libertine friend Belcour and Mademoiselle La Rue, a teacher at the boarding school Charlotte attends. Mademoiselle La Rue had herself eloped from a convent with a young officer and "possessed too much of the spirit of intrigue to remain long without adventures.

Charlotte Temple Summary & Study Guide

Following the advice of her new-found friend and neighbor Mrs. Beauchamp, Charlotte writes home to her mother.

  • Her parents decide to receive her, her father even goes to New York to come get her;
  • Learning of her death and burial from a passing soldier, Montraville is filled with remorse for his part in her downfall, and angrily seeks out Belcour, killing him in a fight;
  • Eldridge for money, thus sending him into financial tragedy;
  • Rowson may have directly addressed the working class in addition to women;
  • Charlotte does not know that John destroys her long, loving letter to them;
  • For example, when she falls ill, Charlotte hallucinates.

Her parents decide to receive her, her father even goes to New York to come get her. Without any financial support - Belcour does not give her the money Montraville put into his hands for her - Charlotte has to leave her house and, having walked to New York on a snowy winter's day, asks the former Mademoiselle La Rue, now Mrs.

But the now wealthy woman pretends not to even know her for fear of her husband discovering the role she played in the girl's downfall.

Charlotte is taken in by Mrs. Crayton's servant and soon gives birth to a child, Lucy.

  • Charlotte trudges, full-term pregnant, through a snow storm to the Crayton mansion;
  • Rather, she is stripped of all pleasures and left with a single material possession;
  • She is buried in the churchyard, where Montraville, returned to New York, makes a scene;
  • Since this parallel does not appear to be accidental;
  • Rather, she is stripped of all pleasures and left with a single material possession;
  • But the now wealthy woman pretends not to even know her for fear of her husband discovering the role she played in the girl's downfall.

The doctor, however, has little hope of her recovering and asks a benevolent woman, Mrs. Beauchamp is shocked when she recognizes Charlotte Temple in "the poor sufferer".

  • However, she was granted the license to influence students upon her employment;
  • Knowing this, it is easy to see how this corresponds to eighteenth century capitalism.

Beauchamp begins "to hope she might recover, and, spite of her former errors, become an useful and respectable member of society", but the doctor tells her that nature is only "making her last effort" [6] Just as Charlotte is lying on her deathbed, her father arrives and Charlotte asks him to take care of her child. Learning of her death and burial from a passing soldier, Montraville is filled with remorse for his part in her downfall, and angrily seeks out Belcour, killing him in a fight.

Montraville suffers from melancholy for the rest of his life. Temple takes Charlotte's child back to England.

The novel ends with the death of Mrs. Crayton the former La Ruewho is discovered by Mr. Temple in a London doorway, separated from her husband, living in poverty, and repentant for her involvement in Charlotte's downfall.

Temple admits her to a hospital, where she dies, "a striking example that vice, however prosperous in the beginning, in the end leads only to misery and shame. Still unpublished at the time of her 1824 death, it would first go to press in 1828 as Charlotte's Daughter, or, The Three Orphans, but later editions would simply bear the daughter's name as title, Lucy Temple.

Sources[ edit ] Charlotte's seducer and Lucy's father, John Montraville, was apparently based in part on John Montresora first-cousin of the author, though there are also reflections of a then-current story about General John Burgoyne.