Leaven Of Malice By Robertson Davies. Two Parallel Dialogues: Two Complex Personalities (Parents Relationship To Their Children)

1157 words - 5 pages

In his tale Leaven of Malice, Robertson Davies intentionally portrays many scenes as parallels. By doing so, certain points and arguments are highlighted boldly throughout the story. One such parallel occurs between the respective conversations of the Vambrace's and the Bridetower's. The engagement scandal incites heated discussions within the two households, as both Solly and Pearl would rather avoid all the negative attention brought on by their parents. The striking resemblance of the dialogues serves to emphasize a key point concerning parents in the story; the parental figures in Leaven of Malice are so enamored with their own self love that they act irrationally and eventually regrettably towards their children. Repeatedly throughout the conversations, both Professor Vambrace and Mrs. Bridgetower attempt to force their own opinions upon their children. When Pearl announces to her father that she is going to the Yarrow's party, he is astonished that his daughter would socialize the night after the newspaper tragedy. "Are you utterly out of your mind? Your name has been publicly linked with that one man in Salterton, above all others, whom you should avoid" (344). Because Professor Vambrace is so offended by the day's events, he expects his daughter to react and feel as embarrassed as he. However, Pearl does not suffer the same effects, and has no problems with going out in public. "Why not? It isn't my fault really." She refuses, as the Professor says, "to be guided by [him] in this manner" (344). Mrs. Bridgetower, in the same respect, attempts to define her son's opinions for him. While describing the engagement notice as a blow to the familial name she says, "It has been publicly announced that you are engaged to Pearl Vambrace. You are nothing of the kind" (384). Mrs. Bridgetower focuses on the slander forced upon her son, even though Solly, himself, would rather ignore the entire matter; "We can't go on fighting forever" (384). Similar to Vambrace, Mrs. Bridgetower tries to shape her child's opinions into that of their own. Another more obvious but bold example, is the impending trial. Both parents seem determined to bring the scandal to the courts, ignoring specific requests from their children otherwise (342 and 386). Vambrace and Bridgetower expect their children to be suffering the same humiliation and disrespect that they experience because the scandal, regardless of their children's obvious refusal. Even though the two attempt to control their children through manipulation, both Professor Vambrace and Mrs. Bridgetower are unable to even control their own emotions, specifically when their pride is at stake. Vambrace, when talking to his daughter, more than once shows his inability to rationalize. He says when Pearl refuses to appears in court, "You are my daughter. Why should you appear anywhere?" (341). Professor is ignorant of the situation, even as is daughter defines the procedure of law to him. He seems to...

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