2023 Author: Leah Sherlock | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-08-25 09:26
Reading the novel "Castle Brody" by the English writer Archibald Cronin, you involuntarily feel the atmosphere of despondency and hopelessness, there is a feeling that you live the whole history of the family's life together with them. Psychological contradictions in the family and the tragic consequences of the selfishness and pride of the protagonist of the story squeeze the reader into the grip of a bleak world. The plot of the novel is tense and at the same time dynamic. Archibald Cronin was a real discovery for many readers.
About the novel
"Castle Brody" was conceived by Archibald Cronin (1896 - 1981) as a tragic tale of selfishness and cruel pride. The original title of the novel is Hatter's Castle. The author rewrote it several times, destroying some pages entirely.
Cronin did not expect the novel to bebe a resounding success. The plot of "Castle Brody" includes many main and side lines that tell about either blood relationship or friendship. The novel frightens with its frankness and realism. Therefore, there is no doubt that the characters of the novel existed in real life. The action takes place in the fictional town of Leavenford in 1879. According to the plot of the work, the Brody family will have to endure many trials.
Cronin skillfully and very subtly showed the characters of his heroes, hopelessness, suffering. A living book literally from the first pages takes the strings of the soul and finally draws the reader into the world of storytelling. In Brody's Castle, Cronin describes a short period of time in the family's life in which he explores the phenomenon of destruction.
Who is Brody
The central character of the novel, James Brody, is a complete selfish and petty tyrant. With him in the house live a mother who lost her mind, wife Margaret, forty, adult son Matthew and two daughters: Mary, who is seventeen years old, and Nessie, twelve.
James Brody is a hat shop owner who is famous and influential in the city, mainly due to his we althy clients. This is a cruel and domineering person who despises everyone he considers below himself. With family, he is strict, and sometimes even cruel.
The unbearable nature of the hatter makes life hell for family members. The inaction of the victims, members of his family, who are the main characters of "Castle Brody", is understandable. Neither the wife, nor, moreover, the childrenthere was a thought somewhere to escape from this despot. They considered such a life the norm. "I'll be home when I get back," sounds like undeniable power over the household from Brody's lips.
Without a gram of regret, barely restraining his anger, Brody throws his eldest daughter Mary out into the street after learning about her pregnancy. He absolutely does not care about the fate of his daughter. About what happened to her, he learns from the city gossip. But Brody does not care about the he alth or life of his eldest daughter. He gloatingly thinks about the death of Mary's beloved Denis Foyle.
Life punishes him, but he does not take the blows of fate as lessons. Archibald Cronin in "Castle Brody" very convincingly shows that people like the main character of the story - the hatter - are incorrigible.
Brody's attitude towards people
He is a vain and self-satisfied tyrant, and his vanity has no intellectual or material basis. Brody considered brute physical strength and rudeness to be a dignity, rejecting everything that he considered unworthy of his greatness.
He wants to become a famous person in the city. But the locals look at him as an eccentric who they don't want to argue with, because they don't want to listen to his swearing and threats.
… What I can't stand about this man is his devilish sullen pride that grows and grows no matter what. She's like an illness. And pride is stupid, meaningless. If he could look at himself from the outside, he would become more modest…
(a statement from one of the residents of the town)
And the family for him was a handful of slaves who had to obey all his requirements. And not only family members were slaves. He behaves like a petty tyrant and with his clerk Peter Perry, who proposes to introduce innovations in order to somehow compete with the haberdashery company Manjo and K that has appeared in the city.
…soon all of Brody's clients move there (to the dry goods firm). To top it all off, Perry does the same, disappointed by the boring and uninteresting job of the rude and ungrateful Brody. And although Brody's financial situation has been greatly shaken, he continues to be rude to clients. His business is getting worse and worse.
The result of the life of a hatter
Brody, having power over the fate of loved ones, seeks to turn their lives into hard labor, fill them with his bile. He does not put his wife in anything, he despises his son, who returned from work without earning anything. In the end, Brody goes bankrupt and is forced to go to work as a small clerk, which is called "from riches to rags", turning from a successful person into a drunkard, a reveler, a beggar.
Brought into the house mistress Nancy becomes the beloved of his son, they run away from his father to South America. Brody's hope is in his youngest daughter, whom he forces to sit at university textbooks 24/7 in order to get her a scholarship. But the girl was denied a scholarship, because of which she hanged herself. Thus collapses Brody's last hope to regain his position insociety. The death of the younger daughter leads to Brody's realization of the horror of his situation, the understanding that he was left alone in the house with a woman who is afraid of him, with his half-mad mother. He crashes everywhere: in the city and in his own house, which looks more like a prison than a castle.
Other characters in the novel
If we consider the actions of each of the Brody children, it becomes clear that each of them took servility from their mother, and selfishness from their father. In each of their children, these characteristic features vary in different proportions. The younger daughter Nessie is cowardly and selfish. The son is a spineless boor, spoiled by his mother, fulfilling all his whims. It was the love of the mother, turning a blind eye to all the actions of her son, that made him cruel and demanding, no worse than his father, slavish obedience to his mother.
Mary was not given enough attention, and through ignorance and inexperience, she got into an unpleasant situation. The pages of the novel describe the terrible story of Mary's eldest daughter - her love and loss of a child, her father's expulsion from home during a terrible hurricane cause heartache. Mary is presented to the reader as a naive child with such a bleak future. It cannot be said that the girl's past was sweet. It is overshadowed by her tyrant dad and weak-willed mother. She simply had to look for the society where she is needed, where she will be loved. She is separated from her family in the novel. It is not known how her life would have turned out if she had stayed with Brody. But she broke out of this terrible prison, even under such terrible circumstances.
When you finish reading Cronin's "Castle Brody", there is a faint hope that at least Nessie, the smallest of the children, will change the state of her father's affairs by receiving the expected scholarship. But, having been refused a scholarship, this fragile girl decided to die so as not to remain further in heavy bonds.
Brody's wife makes you feel sorry for reading, but sometimes her behavior provokes anger. How could a tyrant-husband tell about her daughter's pregnancy? Margaret is difficult to attribute to positive characters because of her spinelessness and servility to her husband, but as a human being she is somehow especially sorry.
The characters in the novel that evoke warm feelings are Mary and Dr. Ranwick, who saved her when she lost a child who sincerely loves her. Mary's beloved was charming and cheerful in the novel. Many are very sorry that he died. The farmer who helped Mary should also be included among the positive characters.
Reviews from readers
In reviews of "Castle Brody" by Cronin, readers agree on one thing: domestic tyranny and snobbery are shown by the author on the example of a hatter character. Reading the book, a sane person will be outraged by the behavior of the petty tyrant Brody, his "devilish pride", which is actually pride. Recommendations to read the book are in all reviews. It would seem that the unremarkable history of family life sinks into the soul of many. The book is good, according to readers, with very important issues. Turning the last page of the novel and reading it to the end, I want totell others to be kinder and more tolerant of each other.
A review from one of the readers says that the book made a strong impression on her and aroused her interest in the work of Archibald Cronin. This good book made him one of her favorite writers. He actually has a few novels that deserve readers' attention.
Reflecting on the read novel, we can conclude that tyrants are not born. They appear in the world from the blind love of mothers and submissive wives. Not without the participation of the inner circle, a kind of tyrant Brody appears with nurtured disgusting character traits. The more society accepts such behavior, the more the household members agree, getting used to the role of the victim, the faster a despot is born.
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