The Death of the Heart Essay

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In the following essay excerpt, Austin provides an overview of The Death of the Heart, and praises Bowen for skillfully blending the maturation of Portia with the revitalization of the Quaynes' marriage.

No Bowen novel has a more comically dramatic opening situation than The Death of the Heart. Into the adjusted, unemotional, childless, eight-year marriage of Anna and Thomas Quayne drops Portia, age fifteen, Thomas's half-sister. The Quaynes open the door of their expensive, overly ordered Regent's Park home with little enthusiasm to this newly orphaned child who was conceived in adultery. They are somewhat sustained by the possibility she may be shifted to other relatives after they have had her a year as the elder Mr. Quayne has beseeched them to do. The narrative culminates in a series of shocks: Portia is galvanized into action which, in turn, rebounds upon the Quaynes. By the end of...

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This section contains 3,227 words
(approx. 9 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Death of the Heart Study Guide
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