The Family Upstairs Themes & Motifs

Lisa Jewell
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Affluence Masks Spiritual Poverty

Affluence is a way for people to hide their spiritual poverty, as Jewell demonstrates from the get-go with Cheyne Walk's former opulence. As Henry describes early in Chapter 3, his father was the sole beneficiary to his father's fortune made from slot machines. Henry, Sr., purchased the Cheyne Walk house as soon as the money came into his possession because he wanted to live among the elite in the post district of Chelsea. He filled the home with what he called "objets," ranging from a massive medieval-style banquet table to "gold-blocked leather-bound books that no one would ever read" (14). The chairs in the home were uncomfortable, and the decor had no practical purpose. It was all a way for Henry, Sr., to try to fit in with truly wealthy people and keep up appearances. He even did things he hated like playing golf and...

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This section contains 2,243 words
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Buy The Family Upstairs Study Guide
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