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The Go-BetweenL.P Hartley Is Ted a coward?

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The Go-Between L.P Hartley Is Ted a coward? By Sarah van Ballekom In Hartley's The Go-Between, lower-class Ted, a major character takes his life following a passionate affair with upper class Marian, at Brandham Hall in the year 1900. Ted's suicide could be judged as a cowardly act. However, Hartley has given the reader evidence to prove that Ted is a very strong and heroic character in this novel. Hartley explores the difficult path of the love between Marian and Ted against the strict social 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, Leo, who discovers the importance of class distinctions in the hot summer of 1900. In the resulting loss of innocence, Leo discovers the true nature of the relationship between central characters Ted and Marian, and the lives of all the people at Brandham Hall are changed forever. The reader is first introduced to Ted at the swimming hole. ...read more.


This symbol was crucial to the deeper understanding of main character, Ted. Ted actually describes himself as "a pretty good shot". Guns are a symbol of strength, a symbol of power. They are designed purely to injure or kill. There are a few references during the novel about Ted and his gun, as well as these weapons in general. "He was standing with his gun watching for the rabbits and other creatures, which clung to their shelter till the last moment before bolting out." (Pg 109) "He was sitting on a chair behind the table with a gun between his knees so absorbed that he didn't hear me. The muzzle was just below his mouth, the barrel was pressed against his naked chest, and he was peering down it." (Pg 186) These descriptions of Ted and his gun are very important to the reader because it gives us the understanding that Ted is comfortable around this weapons and he has access to one. The reader is less surprised when we learn that Ted has shot himself. ...read more.


The acceptance of Ted's position in society is very important to the development of his character. We understand that Ted is not resentful of where he stands but compliant. This is crucial to the understanding Ted's suicide. He realises that Marian will never marry him. He would rather die than watch Lord Trimingham live a life with Marian. This is not cowardice, but acceptance. Ted's suicide could be described as cowardly. However, Hartley has given the reader enough evidence to suggest otherwise. Ted is compared to strong characters such as the water carrier and the grim reaper. He is initially described as being very physically strong and attractive at the water hole. Ted has a knowledge and love of guns, they make him feel virile. Ted is very intelligent. He realises where he stands in society and is accepting of this. He understands that Marian will never marry him because society will not accept it. Ultimately, Ted killed himself out of love for Marian. He didn't want to live a life that would not include Marian. Ted is not a coward but simply head-over-heels in love. ...read more.

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