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Essay about True Love and Material Desire in Rebecca Rush's Novel Kelroy

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True Love and Material Desire in Rebecca Rush's Novel Kelroy


You are the American mother of two beautiful teenage girls in the early 1800's. When your husband dies, you are surprised to receive nothing but debts. What do you do? Mrs. Hammond, in Rebecca Rush's Kelroy, finds herself in this situation. Worried for her own and her daughters' futures, she knows that if her girls want money, they have to marry it. Mrs. Hammond encourages her oldest daughter, Lucy, to marry a very wealthy man. Emily, however, falls for a poet who has little regard for money. Because Emily refuses to pollute her heart with greed, she finds true love with Kelroy, which outlives all material pleasures.

Without money we cannot survive because it's necessary to provide food, clothing, and shelter. With excess money, we can entertain, beautify, and humor ourselves. Mrs. Hammond loves money because it allows her to go beyond just surviving; she wallows in the extravagant spenders of food, clothing, and shelter. Her lavish lifestyle replaces the tender desires of her heart, such as truth or love. By embracing money and refusing love, Mrs. Hammond denies her soul the greatest treasure on Earth.

Lucy Hammond, "the very counterpart of her mother, both in person and mind" (6), also loves to emphasize the importance of being comforted by material pleasures and being socially accepted in the wealthy class. She reveals her shallowness when considering who to marry: her only concern is his financial stature. Walsingham attracts Lucy with his impeccable social graces and costumes and, most of all, his wealth. Likewise, Walsingham does not marry Lucy because he appreciates her intellect or creativity: his main concern is her...


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... is based on money. With what treasures could they leave the world? Emily and Kelroy, however, find love, which money can never truly replace. Emily knew to refuse admirations from men who could offer her nothing but material worth, therefore leaves the world with what her sister and mother never allowed themselves to experience.

Rebecca Rush creates the characters of Emily and Kelroy to show us an example of true love, and to compare them to characters who deny love. Kelroy illustrates to us how the love of money will lead to death. In the end, Mrs. Hammond receives the consequences of the material desires that dictated her life. Although the conclusion leads to the deaths of Emily and Kelroy, we know that they died with hearts of love, not greed. Their love will never die. Money, which Mrs. Hammond, Lucy, and other characters love, will die.


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