Behind a Mask Summary
Louisa May Alcott

Everything you need to understand or teach Behind a Mask by Louisa May Alcott.

  • Behind a Mask Summary & Study Guide

Behind a Mask Summary

Jean Muir is on a quest for prosperity and security in a male-dominated society rife with class antagonisms.

Jean is alone and past the prime of youth. She is an actress, the daughter of a nonentity, the ex-wife of a reckless actor. She is a social outcast in Victorian elite society by gender, by birth, and by profession. Jean, outraged at the injustice, is willing to take risks and rise by means of subterfuge. As she writes to her co-conspirator Hortense, she intends to humble this "intensely proud family" of Coventrys by "captivating the sons, and when they have committed themselves, cast them off, and marry the old uncle, whose title takes my fancy."

One by one, the Coventry brothers Edward and Gerald, and finally their uncle, the estimable Sir John, do fall under Jean's sway. Initially though, despite her charms, the two older men merely acknowledge Jean's...

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