The Coquette

The Coquette Symbols, Allegory and Motifs

Scales (Symbol)

Eliza compares her vacillation between the two men to a judgement of scales. The symbol of the scale suggests the weighing of pros and cons in decisions that must be made.

New Nation (Allegory)

The entire novel is considered an allegory of the new nation, trying to attain real and meaningful freedom.

Letter-Writing (Motif)

Perhaps more than a mere motif, letter-writing permeates the novel (indeed, structures it) and acts as a facilitator of intimacy between the reader and the writer of the letter. The letters not only push the plot forward but offer insights into the writer.

Marriage of General and Mrs. Richman (Symbol)

The marriage of General and Mrs. Richman symbolizes the ideal republican marriage, which is loving and egalitarian though still based in patriarchy. Mrs. Richman is the symbol of the ideal republican wife/mother.

Eliza (Symbol)

Eliza as the seducible young woman is viewed as a symbol of the young and unstable nation.