Charlotte Temple Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 45 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Charlotte Temple.
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Charlotte Temple Summary & Study Guide Description

Charlotte Temple Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on Charlotte Temple by Susanna Rowson.

Charlotte Temple is an 18th-century moralistic lesson to young girls, showing how an innocent schoolgirl is deceived into a life of misery and remorse in America.

Charlotte Temple catches the eye of Lt. John Montraville on leave before joining the war effort in America. Under the bad influence of her French teacher, Mlle. La Rue, Charlotte meets Montraville nightly and is convinced to elope to America, knowing this will gravely hurt her beloved parents. Charlotte does not know that John destroys her long, loving letter to them.

During the voyage, Charlotte has a presentiment that John will abandon her in New York, and remorse and shame rule Charlotte's life when they land, La Rue marries Col. Crayton, and John sets her up, alone, in a cottage outside of town. She looks forward to John's every visit, which gradually grow less frequent. Belcour looks for ways to drive a wedge between John and Charlotte, in order to seduce her, entirely for sport. When he arranges to curl up next to a sleeping and ailing Charlotte as John visits, John believes the worst and vows never to see Charlotte again.

Charlotte has a bought of nervous fever, which recurs when Belcour announces that John has married Julia Franklin and gone overseas. Belcour does not tell Charlotte that John has made him her trustee, to see to her necessities. Charlotte is kept from suicide only by knowing Christianity forbids it. Nevertheless, her songs welcoming death are heard by Mrs. Beauchamp next door, who befriends the lonely girl, hears her story, and promises to get a letter through to her parents. Unfortunately, the Beauchamps move away when Charlotte most needs a friend.

When Belcour takes up with a farm girl, Charlotte's rent goes unpaid and in late December, she is summarily evicted. Charlotte trudges, full-term pregnant, through a snow storm to the Crayton mansion. She is turned down for a place to give birth and die, but a servant takes pity. In his hut, Charlotte gives birth, raves for days, and seems to improve when she hears Mrs. Beauchamp's voice. Her father arrives from England just before the end, and Charlotte manages to place her daughter in Henry Temple's hands but not to ask his final blessing. She is buried in the churchyard, where Montraville, returned to New York, makes a scene. He visits her grave for years, feeling guilty for having corrupted her. La Rue/Crayton becomes a street person in London, remorseful for what she has done.

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This section contains 419 words
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