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Comparisons And Contrasts (continued)
Richard is better than Frank is, but as emotional and impractical as the latter. He falls in love with Elizabeth and persuades her to accompany him to New York, even though he has no job or house in that strange city. He does not marry her but lives with her and weaves dreams about marrying her someday. He does not guess that she is carrying his baby, because he lives in a world of dreams. After he is attacked by White men and imprisoned for no fault of his, he feels frustrated. He does not realize the difficulties Elizabeth faces in securing money and help to release him. After his release, he loses hope in life and commits suicide. He forgets his responsibilities towards Elizabeth and kills himself. By quitting life, he tries to escape his worldly tensions but creates problems for Elizabeth and makes the life of his beloved wretched.
Esther And Deborah Esther and Deborah are women who are completely different in their looks, temperament and attitude. Esther is physically attractive and seductive. She is interested only in dressing up and having fun with men. She is unaffected by religion or moral values. She responds to her senses and gets attached to men she likes, without thinking about their situations. Thus, she falls for the mature charm of Gabriel and lures him to have an affair with her. When she conceives his child, she asks him to marry her, even though she knows he is married. After Gabriel turns down her request, she demands money from him to go abroad to deliver his baby. Esther loves Gabriel but when he refuses to protect her, she is practical enough to take his money and continue her life.
Deborah, on the other hand, is plain in looks and unattractive. She
does not bother about her looks or dress. She is involved in the service
of the Lord and his followers. She has deep faith in religion and believes
in the principles of Christianity. She serves Gabrielís mother till the
latter breathes her last and helps Gabriel in establishing himself as
a preacher. She feels honoured to marry Gabriel and gives him moral support
to pursue his vocation. Later, when Gabriel cheats on her and has an affair
with Esther, she does not question him about it. Even when he confesses
his mistake, she does not turn against him. Instead, she makes him realize
his lapse in losing a precious son. Deborah is pure in heart and acts
as the conscience of Gabriel, while Esther is worldly and provokes Gabriel
to commit sin.
Florence And Gabriel Though they are siblings, they are like strangers in their natures and attitudes. Florence is sensible and disciplined, while Gabriel is foolish and careless about his ways. From childhood, Florence understands her role in the family and fulfils her responsibilities uncomplainingly. She desires to go to school, but when her mother prefers Gabriel to get educated, she gives in to her motherís wishes and allows Gabriel to have the best of life. However, when Gabriel shirks studies and indulges in shameful activities, she is angry with him. She feels betrayed and blames Gabriel for creating tension at home. She also feels revolted by his addiction to drinks and women. Thus, when she leaves home to keep her respect and protect her interests, she does not mind handing over the responsibility of her mother and home to Gabriel. She wants Gabriel to realize his duties and reform himself. When Gabriel proposes to Elizabeth, she is apprehensive about the latter marrying her brother. And true to her fears, Elizabeth is unhappy in marriage. Finally, she confronts her brother and exposes his liaison with Esther and threatens to expose him if he does not improve his behaviour towards his family. Florence is good at heart and just. She acts according to her conscience and does what is right.
Gabriel, on the other hand, is irresponsible and callous. He thinks only of himself and his interests. When his sick mother is lying at home, he goes outside to enjoy himself with drinks and women. He is angry with Florence for leaving him with his sick mother and curses her. He marries Deborah to enhance his respectability and to earn security. When he meets Esther, he forgets his responsibilities towards Deborah and gets into a torrid affair with the younger girl. Later, he deserts Esther and disowns his child by her. He marries Elizabeth to settle down in life and have children. He fails to respect the latterís sensibilities and hurts her with his high-handed behaviour. Thus, Gabriel betrays the trust of all the women who had loved him, while Florence is let down by her loved ones.