Brideshead Revisited is my favorite novel and I need some help with two of the characters. In their separate ways I believe they are keys to the story but I can’t seem to quite grasp how …
Lady Marchmain (mother of Bridey, Sebastian, Julia and Cordelia). Where lies her mistake? Anthony Blanche, Charles and Sebastian all agree she’s a big problem. But I don’t see it.
Perhaps she shouldn’t have gotten Sebastian out of jail after the drunk driving incident. She shouldn’t have trusted Samgrass and she shouldn’t have given in to Rex’s ludicrous idea about sending Sebastian to some clinic in Switzerland. And before she sees clearly she’s unfair to Charles (calling him cruel for lending some money to Sebastian on the day of the fox hunt).
But I don’t see how her mistakes are worse than what Lord Flyte (the father) has done. He has left her to raise the children on her own - and a lot of the things she gets wrong are the sort of things fathers normally would deal with. All I see is a god catholic woman trying the best she can. Is all the talk about her sucking the life out of the family simply atheistic slander?
Anthony “Antoine” Blanche. At times he reminds me of an oracle in a greek drama. Strangely unbiased and all-knowing (for example in his analysis of Charles’ Latin American paintings). And yet he completely mistakes Sebastian’s charm for shallow when it is in fact founded on real goodness (in the conversation on his “date” with Charles at Oxford). And why does he try to turn Charles against Sebastian? Did Anthony Blanche really try to give Sebastian a haven in Turkey or was he sabotaging on purpose?
Oh I hope there is at least one more Brideshead nerd here who can help me out!