What it's about.
The story takes place in a small town called Hindle, England. This is a tale of infidelity and the repercussions of acting without thinking. It's a tale set back in time, where women were seen as subservient and conventional ladies are obedient to their mothers. This was a world which set in place many limitations for ladies, where opportunity is based solely on societal norms and class.
I have always been fascinated with this time period. This was a time where society was ruled by conventionality, where literally anything that was not standard practice or among the factors of grace and sophistication was considered a scandal. My fascination with this time period first started when I read the stories of the Disney princesses in my childhood. Growing up, I had wanted to be a princess. So what did I do then? I researched the lives of actual princesses. They were taught to act a certain way and were limited in their actions. When I heard that there was a play that was based on interpretation of society's practices, well, I couldn't help myself. I wanted to know how the stress of conforming to societal norms could change someone.
Mr. and Mrs. Hawthorn found out that Fanny has had an affair with the son of her father's friend and that becomes the plot of the play. Mrs. Hawthorne is overjoyed, she sees this as an opportunity for Fanny to wed someone of higher class - which was every mother's dream during this time period. Mrs. Hawthorn coerced her husband to scheme Fanny's marriage.
I have to tell you, when I heard Fanny's family converse about Alan, I was expecting an honest gentleman with no obligations. When I first saw Alan appear on the stage, I was surprised to see someone that resembled Ron Weasley from Harry Potter. I was expecting Alan to resemble a gentleman of that time period complete with an ascot and a a tailcoat. I thought of him as an entitled gentleman, the man who always gets his way because he can. There is always a character such as that in historical fiction novels. I was really surprised to find that the character of Alan was not what I expected. He was not self entitled at all, he wasn't the stereotypical English gentleman. He was actually really insecure. This made me begin to rethink all that I knew of figures in this time period. Were princesses the same way? I guess, people like to put on this facade that their perfect but in reality, everyone is in one way or another broken. Even who you might find as the most "perfect" of people may not be as perfect as you think they are. Everyone's only human and face challenges.
I later caught on that Alan did not view his eventual affair with Fanny as a bad thing but rather one of amusement, like a "one night fling". I personally saw this as improper just like Fanny's mother did. Alan did not love Fanny, he told Fanny that he pictured her as Beatrice, his betrothed. That statement shocked me because it's demeaning to say that to a girl, it makes them appear worthless. It makes them feel used. I, being a girl with high standards, would have slapped him if I was in that position. What kind of guy would say that to someone?!
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