An Old Fashioned Story Essay

703 words - 3 pages

In Colwin's "An Old Fashioned Story" we read about two close couples, the Rodkers and the Leopolds. It was the hope of the families that their respective children, Nelson and Elizabeth, would one day fall in love and marry to unite the two families. Elizabeth grew up with resentment towards the Rodkers as her parents constantly pressured a relationship with Nelson. As the story develops, we learn that ironically Nelson's feelings are very similar to her own. Elizabeth discovers that Nelson has played games with his parents much the same way she has done. As mutual admiration develops outside of their parents' influence, they come to realize they love each other despite the rebellious attitudes both have exhibited towards their parents' wishes. Elizabeth's rebellion and need for independence prohibited her from seeing the real Nelson.Elizabeth learned early in life of her parents' intentions for her and became a rebellious child. She learned to manipulate situations with her behavior to cause desired responses: "If she smiled at Nelson, they were happy and considered her behavior impeccable" (Colwin 68). In addition to her future marital arrangements, Elizabeth's parents' handpicked her friends based on economic status. Any friend that Elizabeth made was deemed economically and socially unacceptable by her parents. Elizabeth considered Nelson her "childhood disease" (Colwin 68); she felt Nelson was always forced upon her. When they were young children, they were "brought together" (Colwin 68) to play, and misbehavior was penalized by a hard squeeze to her forearm by her mother. Alternatively, Nelson behaved like a "model child in every way" (Colwin 67). She found him as repulsive as others found him perfect. The unrelenting pressure to be with Nelson continually eroded Elizabeth's relationship with her parents. They did nothing to encourage Elizabeth's love of horses or her passion for reading. "Elizabeth had never had the luxury to read undisturbed in her own house" (Colwin 71).When Elizabeth moved away, she did not want to be bound by her parents. Therefore, she did not borrow any money from them....

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