The Custom of the Country Characters

This Study Guide consists of approximately 12 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Custom of the Country.
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In folklore, an undine is a water spirit, a mysterious, beautiful creature which can acquire a soul by marrying a mortal, but as Mrs. Spragg makes clear, she and Mr. Spragg knew nothing about water spirits when they called their child Undine.

Rather, the name was chosen for a hair waver that Undine's grandfather had invented the week of her birth ("undoolay" is "the French for crimping"). The confusion about the name suggests a great deal about Undine's role in the novel. She is mistaken a number of times for something that she is not, and at least some would claim she lacks a soul.

"Fiercely independent and yet passionately imitative," Undine is able to copy the style and manners of the social sets she wants to belong to, and she misleads her second and third husbands into thinking she is something that she is...

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This section contains 1,365 words
(approx. 5 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy The Custom of the Country Short Guide
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The Custom of the Country from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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