In folklore, an undine is a water spirit, a mysterious, beautiful creature which can acquire a soul by marrying a mortal, but as Mrs. Spragg makes clear, she and Mr. Spragg knew nothing about water spirits when they called their child Undine. Rather, the name was chosen for a hair waver that Undine's grandfather had invented the week of her birth ("undoolay" is "the French for crimping"). The confusion about the name suggests a great deal about Undine's role in the novel. She is mistaken a number of times for something that she is not, and at least some would claim she lacks a soul....
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