Tone of “Dombey and Son”
In the given passage, Dombey, a self – centered businessman, rejoices at the birth of his son while his ill wife lies nearby. Although Dombey is proud of having a son who will carry on the family name, the reader feels critical disdain for Dombey’s pompous attitude thus creating pity for his wife and child.
Dombey’s unsympathetic manner is emphasized throughout the story. His demanding and self – centered attitude towards his newborn son is reflected by his thoughts when he concludes, “The earth was made for [me and my] son to trade in, and the sun and moon were made to give [us] light”. It is clear that from the moment his son was born, Dombey had his life planned out for him. His lack of concern for his wife by the fact that he does not try to comfort her even though she has just given birth to his son. His bad behavior is reflected in his wife and son.
The reader feels intense pity towards Dombey’s wife. His wife appears to be starved of affection when she is extremely surprised at him giving her a minute compliment of calling her “my dear”. The imagery of her face being “a transient flush of faint surprise” confirms that she is not often complimented. Furthermore, she is seen as week when she “feeble[y] echoe[s], ‘Of course’”, in response to something her husband says. Hopefully the innocence of Mrs. Dombey will rub off on her son and contradict the corruptness of his father.
The remarks of Dombey Sr. foreshadow how the life of Dombey Jr. will pan out. Dombey’s controlling behavior over his son is seen when he christens the baby as “Paul” after himself, establishing his dominance over the child. Moreover, he thinks that his son will partner with him to run the family business and that nothing else matters when he says, “ A.D. had no concern with anno Domini, but stood for anno Dombei – and son”, confirming it with himself that he and his son are as important as God himself. Dombey’s domineering disposition will, in time,...
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