Washington Square Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 21 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Washington Square.
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Father-Daughter Relationships

The relationship between Dr. Sloper and Catherine is a central theme to this novel. Dr. Sloper is ambivalent about his daughter in the beginning of the novel. Dr. Sloper is disappointed not to have a son and he finds his daughter simple and plain. This causes him great sadness, but he commits himself to her happiness anyway.

When Dr. Sloper learns that Mr. Townsend wants to court his daughter, he automatically assumes the handsome man only wants the money Catherine will one day inherit. Dr. Sloper investigates this possibility and quickly finds evidence that makes it so. Dr. Sloper expects his daughter to end the courtship when he informs her of this evidence, but she refuses. Catherine's defiance surprises Dr. Sloper and makes him feel that his daughter does not respect his opinions.

Dr. Sloper finds happiness in his daughter's sadness after he learns that the engagement...

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This section contains 503 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Washington Square Study Guide
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