Plot summary

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Plot summary

Post by wangrong on Sun Nov 21, 2010 12:49 am

Mary begins with a description of the conventional and loveless marriage between the heroine's mother and father. Eliza, Mary's mother, is obsessed with novels, rarely considers anyone but herself, and favours Mary's brother. She neglects her daughter, who educates herself using only books and the natural world. Ignored by her family, Mary devotes much of her time to charity. When her brother suddenly dies, leaving Mary heir to the family's fortune, her mother finally takes an interest in her; she is taught "accomplishments", such as dancing, that will attract suitors. However, Mary's mother soon sickens and requests on her deathbed that Mary wed Charles, a wealthy man she has never met. Stunned and unable to refuse, Mary agrees. Immediately after the ceremony, Charles departs for the Continent.
To escape a family who does not share her values, Mary befriends Ann, a local girl who educates her still further. Mary becomes quite attached to Ann who is in the grip of an unrequited love and does not reciprocate Mary's feelings. Ann's family falls into poverty and is on the brink of losing their home, but Mary is able to pay off their debts after her marriage to Charles gives her limited control over her money.
Ann becomes consumptive and Mary travels with her to Lisbon in hopes of nursing her back to health. There they are introduced to Henry, who is also trying to regain his health. Ann dies and Mary is grief-stricken. Henry and Mary subsequently fall in love but are forced to return to England separately. Mary, depressed by her marriage to Charles and bereft of both Ann and Henry, remains unsettled, until she hears that Henry's consumption has worsened. She rushes to his side and cares for him until he dies.
At the end of the novel, Charles returns from Europe; he and Mary establish something of a life together, but Mary is unhealthy and can barely stand to be in the same room with her husband; the last few lines of the novel imply that she will die young.


Outsoucing Italian translations
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