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LOOKING BACKWARD: 2000 - 1887 - BOOK SUMMARY / NOTES
That evening, Julian West is enjoying music with Edith Leete. He asks her about the conversation he heard when he was coming to consciousness on his first day in the new world. He had heard her make her father promise not to tell him something. Her father had hesitated and had complied only after she and her mother both persuaded him. When he brings this topic up, Edith Leete blushes intensely. She turns up the music and only later asks him not to ask her or anyone else this question. He agrees, but then he cannot sleep all night wondering about it. He cannot figure out how she would know something about him when she had never seen him before the day of his awakening.
This short chapter continues the light theme of the novel, that which Bellamy uses to make it seem more like a novel than a political and economic tract. There is apparently some connection between Edith Leete and Julian West that precedes their meeting. Bellamy waits to reveal this connection to create suspense and to hold the reader’s interest.
The next morning, Julian West tries to find Edith alone, but does not see her inside the house. He goes outside to find her and decides to visit the underground chamber again. He notices some newspapers from his time on a table and brings them up for Doctor Leete. At breakfast, he sees Edith, who blushes, but is otherwise calm. Doctor Leete reads aloud some of the articles of the paper, most of which are about labor strikes. Doctor Leete claims that the anarchists were paid by the capitalists in order to prevent progress from happening. Julian West notes that this is not true, but that the presumption makes sense because of the fact that no party could gain a hearing without getting a majority. Julian West wonders if there was eventually a Labor Party. Doctor Leete says the Labor Party’s concerns were too narrow, but that another party, the National Party, came along and succeeded in including everyone: all classes, all education levels, men and women, old and young. Doctor Leete obviously feels a great debt to the National Party’s progressive thinking.
In this short chapter, Bellamy distances himself from one of the most persecuted political groups of American history, with the exception of the communist: the anarchists. It is significant that he does this just after his intensive critique of capitalism in the previous chapter. A national party would not have been as objectionable to Bellamy’s audience as a “communist” party.Table of Contents | Message Board | Downloadable/Printable Version