Thursday, October 27, 2011

Held at Arm's Length

When first introduced to the character of Theron Ware in The Damnation of Theron Ware, the reader is under the impression that he contains some positive and likeable qualities as the main character of a novel. However, through the course of the book, Theron's actions and thoughts manifest themselves to show his true nature. This is extrememly apparent in Chapter 30, where he attempts to talk to Celia, who will not receive him.
It is here, through his actions towards her, and his thoughts of her, that Theron's personality and true character are shown to the reader crystal clear. Depsite what Celia may think of him, Theron arrives with the entire interaction planned in his head. He's under the assumption that he knows exactly what she is going to say, and how she is going to act. When Celia says that she saw him hiding at the depot, he states boldly "Yes, I did both these things...That is not the hundredth part, or the thousandth part, of what I would do for your sake. I have got way beyond caring for any consequences" (301-302). He legitametly expects this grand gesture of romance to win her over, to dash her hesitance. His words hold no weight of actual emotion, and this can be seen when he talks of her negative reaction to his previous words; "Women were curious creatures...some were susceptible to one line of treatment, some to another. His own reading of Celia had always been that she liked opposition...he searched his brain now for some clever quip that would strike sparks from the adamantine mood which for the moment it was her whim to assume" (302). Instead of reflecting on what he may have done wrong in the past, he instead focuses on what else he can say in order to change her mind.
The author, Harold Frederic, actually parallels this early likability of the character through Celia, when she states on page 305, "We were disposed to like you very much when we first knew you." However, she then goes on to state that, "Instead, we found you inflating yourself with all sorts of egotisms and vanities. We found you presuming upon the friendships which had been mistakenly extended to you." His reaction is just as overdramtic as his earlier statements as he turns to leave, but instead, "whirled round by some mighty wind. He came toward her, with something almost menacing in the vigor of his movements, and in the wild look upon his white, set face" (306). This shows that, no matter the outcome of the situation or what has happened, Theron is so sure of himself that he constructs these outcomes in his head. Even when they don't go how he thought, he still tries to convince himself that he can make things work out by saying something stirring, or performing some heroic action.

1 comment:

  1. In one way, his confidence is the result of Celia's and the others' attentions to him. I like what you're saying about his notions of his own heroic actions.