Elizabeth Jolley’s novels are notable for her ability to make a reader seethe the outness, the atmosphere of the story. This feature is especially noticeable in her novel “Mr. Parker’s Valentine”. The most important aspect in this novel is not the “what is done”, but the “how it is done”. The novel is filled with silence, and the feeling of loneliness and duty severely influences the reader’s perception of the text. On the one hand, the author reveals patience and altruism of the main character, on the other – egocentrism and aspiration of an illusionary dream. The victory over the old man and his worldview cost Pearson much. Maybe, the struggle with himself could save him a piece of soul. I have developed a discussion board with the followers of bestwritingservice.com blog. Feel free to join and share your thoughts with us.
The Psychology of Pierson, Eleanor and Mr. Parker’s Relationships
The psychology of the family relationships between Eleanor and Pierson is not detailed in the story, but we can easily imagine it, using sensations aroused by the pen and ink of the skillful master E. Jolley. Therefore, there is Pierson, a short and fresh-faced man looking younger then he is, who has made a brilliant career in the army earlier, and now is working as a university professor. Being not very sensible but still having modern and firm attitudes, he pays most attention to his tranquility. For this, he needs wife’s calmness, household activities as an instrument for relaxation from the problems and absence of sore factors.
Their family has just bought a house and waits for children to come back from a boarding school. Yet, while buying the house, they have found an old man living at the end of the garden, in the stone shed, for many years and having no other place to go. The conflict is how they should behave towards him.
It looks like unless the wife’s calmness had been the fundamental factor for Pierson’s tranquility, he would not doubt a minute and scatter Mr. Parker to the four winds. However, there is Eleanor, and her developed altruism (or it may be just the feminine solicitude) makes her husband decide positively on the purchase of the house together with a new neighbor.
Pierson is irritated. Being used to accommodating, soft disposition of his wife, which smoothes all the differences with the ease of a noblewoman, he is now forced to deal with the stranger. As Pierson is not sensible enough to pay attention to and respect the old men, he fails to notice balance of each Mr. Parker’s gesture. As a husband, he is irritated because of wasting time waiting for Eleanor who sneaks in the shed for two minutes. As a master of the household, he cannot percept the obtrusive advice of the neighbor, and the more he recognizes them as common sense, the worse he feels. As a man, dependent on his instincts more then on the open mind, he is simply unable to share the grounds with the other male.
His relationships with Eleanor become strained. It looks as if the wife sees her husband in fighting spirit for the first time, and this scares her. She may not change her policy, but she changes the inside attitude to Pierson. Eleanor starts seeing his drawbacks. It seems that they face a serious problem their marriage.
At the same time, Mr. Parker lives as he did before. It is his home turf, where he feels like a master; it does not matter that he is not its legal owner. The new inhabitants of the big house are not more than funny animals for him, which either can be of benefit or do harm.
Eleanor is of more benefit. The relationships of Eleanor and Mr. Parker are filled with respect and attention of the junior to the senior, and these sensations soothe old man’s heart.
Pierson does more harm. He fails in gardening and does not listen to Mr. Parker’s advice. He is becoming mad at the old man’s looks and voice, and such absence of a common sense forms the patient democratic relationship of Mr. Parker with Eleanor, which makes the situation even worse.
The Relationships Problem: What It Is and What It Could Be if Only
The perfect view of the relationships of the married couple and the old man is not negatively colored. Old man’s knowledge about gardening and his huge experience could have helped the couple to handle their land area, and his pockets, full of stories would have made stone shed a favorite place for both Pierson’s wife and children. The example of Mr. Parker could have taught Pierson, who feels necessity of completing his personality, the delicacy, patience, and altruism. The softness, attentiveness and sensibility of Eleanor would have helped the men to learn to understand each other, joining their efforts for the comfort of the woman.
Unfortunately, the perfect scenario hardly ever happens. Pierson’s egocentric position, and his attention, directed exclusively at the personal comfort, work as a catalyst for the critical situation. It seems that it is his anger, reduced to an absurdity, which breaks the bough, turning it to the half-deaf old man. The secret wishes of Pierson and sometimes even of Eleanor come true: Mr. Parker disappears from their life. However, silence and tranquility, which were the aim of Pierson, do not come after old man’s death. The wall built with misunderstanding and cruelty cannot disappear. The moment of Mr. Parker’s death is very showy: Eleanor sees the bare feet of her husband, thinks they look cruel, and then she realizes that they probably always were like that. This is the moment when she starts acknowledging the drawbacks of her husband. Their smooth, single-minded partnership in their marriage fails.
Therefore, Pierson’s inability to improve relations with Mr. Parker entails the chain of sequences. Among them, there are not only Mr. Parker’s death and the unhappy feelings connected with it, but also the crack in the family’s mutual understanding.
Maybe, if only Mr. Parker knew who sent him the beautiful valentine far ago, everything would have been different. It means, everything would have been different if only anybody loved him. Yes, it is love that destroys the limitations and clears the obstacles. If only Pearson loved Eleanor, he would have noticed her affection to the old man and made some efforts to develop understanding and kind-heartedness in himself. Nevertheless, he loves only his comfort. The result is evident. Maybe, if Eleanor loved Pierson, she would have found the words to reach his heart. Maybe, if they hurried to acknowledge that they like Mr. Parker or at least became attached to him, then all three of them would have changed for better in a course of time. However, now the children are their last chance of the happy end. A reader can only hope that the children will improve the couple’s relationships, but would it teach Pearson anything even if it comes for good?