Does Status takes the Forefront to Finances?

Capital and materialism are the exact things that draw Rosamond and Lydgate to each other and serve as a factor that ruins their marriage.   Gender roles surface once again as Rosamond is admonished for all of her efforts to help fix the situation.

In chapter 58, Lydgate and Rosamond are at a state of ultimate financial need  and after much arguing back and forth about a solution to their financial pains, Lydgate as the man, tells Rosamond not to worry, he will “write out a list of plate that [we] may return, and that can be packed up and sent at once,” as one step in gaining some financial footing. This is in opposition to the idea of selling Rosamond’s jewelry. Lydgate’s defense is that he will not sell his gifts to her, but the reality of the situation is that their the miscarriage of their child symbolized the death of their marriage so anything that he is trying to preserve after that point in time is being done for show ie the purposes of making their marriage look intact and making his wife appear worthy of being with him. If his wife suddenly appears less flamboyant than she was prior to her marriage to him, this will be an indication that Lydgate is not doing his job as a husband or simply as a man.

As their financial situation worsens, Rosamond takes it upon herself to reach out to Sir Godwin for assistance since Lydgate is too proud to do so. His response to the letter that Godwin replies with is pure anger.

“Have you sense enough now to recognize your incompetence to judge and act for me- to interfere with your ignorance in affairs which it belongs to me to decide on?”

This response is rooted in anger for her stepping outside of her gender role, but is nonetheless rooted in pride. While this uncle could have been a good option for him to reach out to, his debt was an easier burden to carry than the humility of having to ask for help and now his anger is directed toward his wife for “stepping on his toes” instead of gratefulness for her attempt to save their finances.  An act that should have been regarded as one full of humility was met with shame on all parts. This would lead one to believe that it is more important to maintain one’s status and live up to society’s expectations than it is to simply be financially secure irregardless of status and external impressions.

In the case or Rosamond, her quest for financial security involved her moving beyond what a woman’s perceived role in society was, so she was not compromising herself in her quest, but rather her husband’s external perception.

Lydgates’ ultimate acceptance of Bulstrode’s dirty money creates a discrepancy between the goals of financial security and living up to society’s expectations. Although he was not fully aware of the situation and accepted the money out of desperation. He had never considered turning to Bulstrode prior to this level of desperation because of Bulstrode’s “opinions he thought contemptible and whose motives often seemed to him an absurd mixture of contradictory impressions.”  He had knowledge that he was now entering himself into a financial agreement with a man who “indirectly helped to cause the failure of his practice,” but since this financial agreement would save his status and society’s impression of him as a man and a husband, this is a compromise that he was ultimately willing to make, which leads to the conclusion that money is just a means for status and therefore does not take the forefront to it. In the case of Rosamond and Lydgate, money is also a means by which they are bonded superficially as long as gender norms are adhered to.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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