Hannah Webster Foster’s intention for writing The Coquette was to show that everyone is given a choice in life, good and bad; it all depends on what direction you choose to take as to how your life will turn out. The main character Eliza is given two choices with substance, has to make a decision, and in return has to deal with the aftermath. Mrs. Foster accomplishes her opinion through the meanings in the names, indecisiveness, and the tragic ending to it all. Hannah Foster uses a subtle technique to get the readers to automatically know who to choose, which is the meaning behind each name. The main characters have a description that goes further than just looking at how they interact with one another; they have a substance to their existence. The main character Eliza Wharton is a very strong headed person who wants nothing less than her own happiness. The meaning behind her last name, Wharton, is a shore or bank settlement. When reading the letters Eliza has written, men come and go as they please trying to make Eliza happy; much like how to ocean comes and goes along the beach shore, washing away the sand. The beach has no boundaries to the ocean, as Eliza has no boundaries to the men that seek her. She states, “Such violent passions are seldom so deeply rooted as to produce lasting effects. I must, however, keep my word, and met him according to promise” (89). Eliza is unable to put her foot down and disappoint Major Sanford and keep her own boundaries that will protect her from harm. One of the two men fighting for Eliza is Mr. Boyer, his attitude toward Eliza is just as his names meaning, stubborn. Foster is trying to convey the message that a good thing is hard to push away when it is true sincerity. An example of the stubbornness Mr. Boyer has, he says, “take what time you think proper; only to relieve my suspense as soon as may be. Shall I visit you again to-morrow” (82). Mr. Boyer has a real substance behind what he is saying; he adores Eliza much like...
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