The Romance of the Forest

by Ann Radcliffe

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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

Thus he was a man, infirm in purpose and visionary in virtue: in a word, his conduct was suggested by feeling, rather than principle; and his virtue, such as it was, could not stand the pressure of occasion.

This description of Pierre La Motte, patriarch of the family who is forced, taking his loved ones with him, to flee creditors, establishes from the start that he is likely to involve his family in problems. He is a man of weak character, often ruled by his strong emotions and the impulses of the moment rather than sound reason and virtue.

Let us enjoy the good and forget the evil.

This is Adeline's philosophy of life, although it is often sorely tested. Like the Romantic artists, she wants to dwell on the best parts of life and leave aside what is sordid. Unfortunately for her, she is caught up in a Gothic situation, full of unpleasantness as she faces wicked and unreliable people. She nevertheless finds solace in the little pleasures, such as contemplating nature and reading.

La Motte sprang forward, and they were locked in each other’s arms.

The astonishment of Adeline, for a moment, surpassed even her former distress; but a remembrance darted across her mind, which explained the present scene, and before La Motte could exclaim, “My son!” she knew the stranger as such.

In a lucky coincidence, Louis has discovered his father's (and family's) hiding space, and the two are joyously reunited. As is often the case in this novel, emotions swing wildly, and now the family moves from "despair" to "pleasure" and "joy."

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