The Death of the Heart Themes

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The Outsider

Anna and Thomas Quayne live in an insular world, comfortable knowing what will happen from one day to the next. Into their lives comes Portia, the daughter of Thomas' father and his mistress (later his second wife), Irene. Portia's very presence is a source of discomfort to the couple, and she enters their house as the consummate outsider. She is an orphaned love child in a childless household where two miscarriages have occurred. Even before she came to London, Portia was an outsider, banned to the continent by her father's first wife, doomed to wander from cheap hotel to cheap hotel.

In Anna and Thomas' eyes, Portia is in need of housebreaking, like a young puppy, unschooled in the ways of their society. When Matchett asks Anna where Portia will eat, Anna responds that Portia will eat downstairs with the rest of the family. "Surely. She's got...

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This section contains 1,462 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Death of the Heart Study Guide
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The Death of the Heart from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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