The Marriage Plot

Madeleine had been trying to beat Alton [in tennis] her entire life without success. This was even more infuriating because she was better than he was, at this point. But whenever she took a set from Alton he started intimidating her, acting mean, disputing calls, and her game fell apart. Madeleine was worried that there was something paradigmatic in this, that she was destined to go through life being cowed by less capable men. As a result, Madeleine’s tennis matches against Alton had assumed such outsize personal significance for her that she got tight whenever she played him, with predictable results. (10)

She is so focused in trying to beat her father that she didnt factor in multiple variables that can cause her to lose. Her mania is TRYING because she hasnt accomplished the things she want. Like beating her father in tennis or trying to find a suitable mate. The author used the word “destined” for the constant losses in the game and in relationships.

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2 Comments so far

  1.   lindsayc on December 2nd, 2011

    I think you are right in Madeleine trying very hard because she hasn’t accomplished the things she wants. Although she has accomplished a lot already (I mean she’s graduating from an ivy league school) and she still isn’t satisfied. But I think you could definitely develop that idea even more with how much she tries to please Leonard and take care of him, and how she tries and tries at many other things. I think for her, it goes way past just “trying” and into obsession, which is what mania is all about

  2.   andycrazn on December 6th, 2011

    it could be that she wants male approval. i think everybody wants approval from the opposite sex and thats what shes trying to obtain by trying so hard.

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