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In Hartley's The Go-Between, Leo suffers a nervous breakdown following his three-week stay at Brandham Hall in 1900. He feels completely responsible for what happens to the central characters. There are aspects of Leo's

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Introduction

To what extent is personal weakness to blame for what happens to the main characters? The Go-Between L.P Hartley In Hartley's The Go-Between, Leo suffers a nervous breakdown following his three-week stay at Brandham Hall in 1900. He feels completely responsible for what happens to the central characters. There are aspects of Leo's character that certainly contribute to the outcome, his personal weakness and also the pressures of 1900 society are to blame. Hartley explores the difficult path of forbidden love of Marian and Ted, upper class and working class, against the strict social class background of 1900, England. In the 'garden of Eden' setting of Brandham Hall, Hartley tells the story through the eyes of an innocent 12-year-old boy, who discovers the importance of class structures in the hot summer of 1900. In the resulting loss of innocence, Leo discovers the true nature of the relationship between Ted and Marian, and the lives of all the people at Brandham Hall are changed forever. ...read more.

Middle

Analysing the character of Leo, we can see that his personality is a product of the sheltered and protected environment he has grown up it. This environment has resulted in Leo being innocent and na�ve, and also very infatuated with Marian. At Brandham Hall, he is just about to turn thirteen years old; he is on the brink of manhood. Leo is curious to learn about spooning and the facts of life. "'The last time I was here,' I said accusingly, 'you said you would tell me something.' 'Did I?' said Ted 'Yes, you said you'd tell me about spooning' 'I know I did, but its really a job for your father. He's the one to tell you.'" (Pg 71) Leo's infatuation with Marian is a result of how he has been brought up. He has had no father figure in his life therefore his mother has blanketed him and influenced Leo into a slightly feminine character. ...read more.

Conclusion

"Very well. I'll tell you, though Mama made me promise not to tell anyone. But can't you guess? Marian is engaged to marry Lord Trimingham" (Pg 162) In this novel, The Go-Between, Mrs Maudsley represents society. She is the one pressuring Marian to marry Hugh. In turn, Mrs Maudsley has huge pressure on herself to have her children married to respectable suitors in upper class. In conclusion, Leo's belief in his magical powers and his infatuation with Marian were personal weaknesses which contributed to crisis's in the novel, The Go-Between. Leo's belief of his own magical powers gave him an unrealistic view of himself at Brandham Hall. He thought he had the power to control people and events. Leo's infatuation with Marian led to unclear judgment of her. Society certainly contributed to the major crises of the novel, if there was no pressure on Marian to marry an upper-class man, this story could have had a happy ending. ...read more.

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