pages 169-189 — start: Mrs Trollope had some business to do
April 14, 2021 by Idra Novey
Mr. Wilkins calls Mrs. Trollope “a girl” with increasing frequency in these pages, which rings true for how patronizing language can become a verbal weapon when the person whose had control of the relationship finds that control is ending.
The ferocious insistence of Mr. Wilkins in these scenes brings to mind the father in Stead’s best-known novel, The Man Who Loved Children. In both books a central tension is how to wriggle out with one’s spirit still alive from that kind of domestic control.
“Oh, this is going too far!” Mrs. Trollope says on page 191, a declaration that blows open the novel, allowing in some welcome brisk air to rush through the sealed rooms of The Little Hotel.