At the beginning of the story, we get our first impressions of Sophy Twycotts son. At the beginning the son is described as: ‘a boy of twelve or thirteen who stood beside her, and the shape of whose hat and jacket implied that he belonged to a well-known public school.’ Straight away we get the impression that this boy is from the upper class. Soon after this he corrects his mother on her grammar: ‘Has, dear mother, not have…surely you know that by now.’ This gives us the impression that he does not have a lot of respect for his mother and is a bit of a snob.
Throughout the story the son tends to act like a child when he doesn’t get his own way: ‘he burst into passionate tears…’ and often shows signs that he doesn’t really love his mother and is quite disrespectful to her: ‘ I am ashamed of you…it will degrade me in the eyes of all the gentlemen in England.’ The son does love his mother in a sense, but he rarely shows his love. We see that the boy does love his mother when he is quite happy at the idea of his mother re-marrying; he is disrespectful, however, in his disapproval at whom she intends to marry.
There is a lot of evidence in the story to show that the mother loves her son. She sent him to a well-known public school and on his education: ‘no amount would be spared.’ When she talks to Sam Hobson about her son, she calls him ‘a dear boy…’ Perhaps the biggest show of love, which she shows, her son is her unwillingness to go against his wishes and marries Sam: ‘Say no more-perhaps I am wrong!’
Throughout the story, the mother is presented as being submissive to the controls of her son. She doesn’t marry Sam Hobson because her son isn’t happy about it, but she does nothing to stop this, she just gives in: ‘…there bade her kneel, and swear that she would not wed Samuel Hobson without his consent…the poor woman swore…’ She has a very low level of self-control: she is very unwilling to act against the wishes of her son: ‘…why maynt I say to Sam that I’ll marry him?’
The characters pasts would have a lot to do with the way they behave. Sophy, who was from Gaymead: ‘a pretty little village with its church and parsonage…’ and her ‘village school’ education means that she is charming, but not cultured or very well educated. Randolph on the other hand was brought up in a ‘semi-detached villa…in a long straight road…’on a suburban main thoroughfare in London. He was educated ‘at a well known public school which was distinguished in England…’ This would have meant that he was regarded as upper class and was very well educated.
Personally I think that she should have married against her son’s wishes because she was putting her immature and selfish sons feelings before her own. The reason that she didn’t was because, in the time in which the story was set, it was not the done thing to re-marry without your sons consent. She also swore in front of an altar that she would not marry Sam and so from then on in, she would have felt that she couldn’t then defy her son because she swore to him that she wouldn’t.
I do agree with the statement because the main reason that Sophy sacrifices everything is because the times she lived in. in those days, the upper-class society (portrayed by Randolph) would simply not tolerate the mother of an upper-class citizen marrying a greengrocer. This goes to show the flaws of a conformist society by showing how it destroys Sophy’s life. She becomes so consumed in her reputation, that she immediately becomes detached from her natural background.
Nowadays there is virtually no social-class division. A woman today would not re-marry because her son told her so, because of the change in times. Women’s social standing also has a lot to do with it as well. In pre-1900 times, women would have been controlled and ordered by men who were seen as superior. This is why, although Randolph is Sophy’s son, he still dictates what she can and cannot do, because he is an upper class male.
In the story, it isn’t so much that the son doesn’t care about his mother, he feels that her re-marriage will ruin him because he is so unsympathetic that he cannot see her despair and her ruin. The reason that she sacrifices everything is because she loves her son and does not want to betray him. To conclude I feel that if the same situation had have occurred today, the outcome would have been much different because of the change in peoples attitudes over the years, and that the reason Sophy obeyed what her son told her, was because of the era in which she lived.