Mrs Bridge Character Analysis

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Leading Ladies

The novel Mrs. Bridge by Evan S. Connell presents a series of vignettes about a wife, mother, and socialite who finds herself trapped in a materialistic society. Via her ordinary encounters (less the robbery incident) readers understand how the meaningless cultural forces of materialism and class expectations can lead to people feeling trapped. This idea also presents itself through the character of Sapphira Colbert in Willa Cather’s Sapphira and the Slave Girl. However, when one ignores class focusing on kindness instead, happiness is truly attainable as seen in Shadows on the Rock.
Through indirect characterization Connell develops India Bridge through two primary formats: her social life and her family life, both intertwined
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Primarily, readers are introduced to race relations through the relationship between India’s daughter Carolyn and her friend Alice Jones, the “daughter of the the colored gardener” who worked for a neighbor (8). While India, who judges people by their shoes and manners, generally approved of the relationship under a watchful eye, she would not allow Carolyn to attend a birthday party at the girl’s house and eventually had to put her in her place when the girl, showing her lack of class, was overheard singing a song with foul language, an absolute abomination according to India. Douglas, the only son of the Bridge’s, provides the best portrayal of Mrs. Bridge. Although he was “totally unremarkable” as a child, he did prove the most troublesome partially because, unlike his mother, he does not worry about much, including contemporary social norms (11). For instance, instead of coming through the front door to the house, he uses the back door as do the servants, which really bothers India. What perturbs her the most, however, is his tower of trash. Once she hears that it is gaining a reputation around town, her response is “Oh, horrors!” because culturally she can not be seen as one who allows her son to follow anything other than the norm (67). Although a sometimes sympathetic character, readers see how shallow India can be. Eventually…show more content…
Cecile Auclair, a young Canadian girl whose father acts as the Count’s apothecary and physician, lives with her father in a comfortable lifestyle. Having lost her mother two years prior, Cecile has no hired hands as do India and Sapphira. Instead, Cecile completes the household duties and actually takes pride in doing so. Although for the majority of the novel Cecile is too young for a husband, she does spend time with her father and enjoys hearing the stories he shares with her each evening. This close relationship with family contrasts with the other two ladies as well. The most identifiable difference, however, remains Cecile’s benevolent heart. Rather than judge others as does India, Cecile finds herself both a friend and role model to Jacques, “a chunky, rather clumsy little boy of six, unkept and uncared for” by his young prostitute mother (495). As somewhat of a mother figure, Cecile acquires shoes for Jacques and often invites him to dine with she and her father, go sledding, and join them for holidays amongst other things. Whereas both Mrs. Bridge and Mrs. Colbert find themselves trapped within societal expectations in the end, Cecile does not. Instead, perhaps due to her benevolence and lack of concern regarding class norms, she grows into what readers may assume is a happy rewarding marriage with multiple children she
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