The Family at Gilje Summary

Summary (Critical Survey of Literature for Students)

It is obvious that Inger-Johanna is her father’s favorite. He is an army captain, in charge at Gilje. When a fellow officer, Captain Rönnow, stops at the house, Captain Jäger is delighted because the guest seems so charmed by Inger-Johanna. Mrs. Jäger is a sister of the governor, and Captain Rönnow tells the Jägers that he will petition the governor’s wife, with whom he is in favor, to take Inger-Johanna into their home for a year, so that she can learn the ways of society in the city. Gilje is a deserted mountain post and not at all suitable for a young lady of Inger-Johanna’s obvious charms.

Captain Jäger wants his beloved daughter to visit her aunt, but when he learns the cost of the new clothing required, he storms at his poor wife and cannot be quieted. Perhaps his blustering is caused by sorrow at losing his favorite daughter, although he is happy that she will have such a fine opportunity.

Before Inger-Johanna leaves, she meets a student named Arent Grip, the son of an old friend of her father. In spite of his radical ideas, the girl finds him interesting and is glad that he, too, will be in the city.

After the departure of his oldest daughter, the captain’s house is desolate, for Thinka, another daughter, goes to work for a judge in Ryfylke. Poor Jorgen, the only son, and a younger daughter are put through hours of lessons to ease their father’s loneliness.

Each letter from Inger-Johanna is read again and again. After her initial shyness wears off, she loves her life in the city. Parties and balls delight her. Both Captain Rönnow and Grip are present at many of the functions, her aunt having secured a place for Grip in her husband’s office. The aunt also writes to confide that she secretly hopes a match will develop between the girl and Captain Rönnow, who is advancing rapidly and will be a good catch. The aunt is not fond of Grip; she finds him too spirited and unrestrained in expressing his unpopular ideas. Inger-Johanna, however, completely wins over her aunt, who insists that the girl return home for a visit and then come back to the city for another season.

During his daughter’s visit, Captain Jäger is in a delighted mood. Grip calls on the family again and arranges to spend time alone with Inger-Johanna. They take a surveying trip into the mountains with her father and Jorgen, and Grip finds Jorgen a bright lad who deserves a better education. In his talks with Inger-Johanna, Grip claims that fundamentals are all that matter in life, not the external symbols of success. He wants people to be themselves, not influenced by worldly values.

Inger-Johanna returns to the city before Thinka comes...

(The entire section is 1102 words.)