Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
In the year 1875, the Buddenbrook family is flourishing. Johann maintains intact the business and wealth he has inherited from his father, and the Buddenbrook name is held in high esteem. Johann’s oldest son, Jean, inherits the business when old Johann dies. Antonie (Tony), Jean’s daughter who is born in the family home on Mengstrasse, has aristocratic tendencies by nature and by temperament. The next child is Tom, followed by Christian, who from birth seems somewhat peculiar. Tom displays an early interest in the Buddenbrook business, but Christian seems indifferent to all family responsibilities.
Tony grows into a beautiful woman. When Herr Grünlich, obviously interested in Tony, comes to call on the family, Jean investigates his financial status. The headstrong Tony despises Grünlich and his obsequious manner. Going to a nearby seaside resort on the Baltic Sea to avoid meeting him when he calls again, she falls in love with a young medical student named Morten. When they learn of this, Tony’s parents hurriedly bring her home. Tony, raised to feel a sense of her family duty, is unable to ignore their arguments in favor of Grünlich when he asks for her hand. Once the wedding date is set, Grünlich receives a promise of a dowry of eighty thousand marks. Grünlich takes his twenty-year-old bride to the country and refuses to allow her to call on any of her city friends. Although she complains about this in her letters to her parents, Tony resigns...
(The entire section is 1198 words.)
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