.. en who cheat onthier wives would say that they want their wife to be more like the mistress, it is theron that wants to be like celia. He has no interest in alice becoming more like celia. He does not want the lve, but he wants the freedom, the way of life that celia is able to command. It is when he is refused this way of life, when he is in new york, that sends him into the downward spiral that ends with him at the door of the soulsbys.
celia says goodbye to theron, but it it the combination of the rejection by celia, father Forbes, and dr. ledsmar that kills therons dreams. Although both alice and celia play roles in influencing the character of others in the novel, they also have distinct roles that are important to the changing society as well. celia is the virgin mother. It is therons simplistic thought that brings out this fact most clearly to us. We see him compare her likeness to the virgin mary in a stained glass window in the catholic church, and later, at the catholic picnic, we see him lay his head on celias skirt, as if she is his mother.
As well, she performs the motherly duties in taking care of first theron, and then her brother michael, when they are ill. However, to theron it might be consdiered blasphemous to consider celia as the virgin mary. After all, she is not the image of purity that the traditional virgin mother is supposed to portray. As the times change, though, celia is seen as the ideal, the free woman rather than the pure virgin. In celias music room, these two images are merged perfectly, with the paintings of the virgin mother combined with the nude sculptures.
As well, celia seems to be worsipped in the same manner as the virgin throughout the whole town. Although everyone in the twon knows who she is and admires her, there is not a single person in the twon, save, perhaps, Father Forbes and her brother Michael, that would consider her a firend. This is what Theron wants more than her love, he wants her approval as a friend. Nonetheless, celia and theron are of different worlds, and he cannot be her friend. By trying so hard to be like celia, theron is ignoring alice.
Just as theron sees celia as the epitomy of woman, theron does not seem to see his wife as a woman at all. He lives with her, and sleeps in the same bed with her, jet, as we see in a dialouge with celia, seems to believe that love is the penultamate result of marriage, not the other way around. Alice may be the simplest character in the book, yet she is also the only character that seems to believe in god. The entire book centers around religion, but the characters get so tied up in how they should live their lives that they forget religion and god altogether. Though alice has a husband that doesnt tell her where he goes or when he will be back, she still love him, waits for him, and goes about thinking that what he says is right. It is a simle goodness in her that allows her to do this.
Perhaps her supple nature is what allows her to be married to theron at all. It is interesting to me that it seems that all theron wants is to be accepted, yet he turns from his wife, who worships the ground that he walks on, and turns to celia for love. It is alices simpleness that allows her to believe in god, throughout the changing times. It is theis same simpleness that allows her to believe in her husband. Just as theron loves to listen to Father Forbes speak, alice says the same thing about her husband.
She hangs on his every word, deeming him to be very intelegent. Theron and alice seem to represent the two opposite sides of the methodist church. Alice believes in the church, believes in god, and believes in people in general. As well, she is not concerned with money or with trends, which is what allows her to belong to the church and yet not become corrupted. On the other hand, theron has forgotten about god, and is concerned with the physical church.
He worries about the money, he worries about the trends, and he worries about what others think of him. Essencially, it is alices steadfastness that allows her to stay afloat in society, and it is therons rejection of his wife, and also god, that forces him to sink. Alice seems to have the best position in the novel. Although alice is living in a simple world, alice does not really have any problems. She believes wholeheartedly in her church and in her god. Theron, on the other hand, cannot.
By discovering the world of new ideas that exists, he can no longer be satisfied with the methodist church. Yet, it is because he is a member of the church that he can not become a member of this new world. In effect, it is seattle that saves therons life. No one can live in the conflict of two worlds, as theron was trying to do. Seattle offered an oportunity to escape.
Seattle, and the west, represent freedom, and the chance to start over. By moving to the west, theron and alice were not only starting a new life, but a new marriage as well. yet theron does not see the second chance he is getting in the west. Instead, he thinks of becoming a congressman, where he will have the chance to return to the east coast, to washington. It is alice the recognizes the finality of the move. It is she who says that she will have to amuse herself if seattle if theron comes back east, full knowing that he cannot stay there. Despite the fact that seattle represents a place of no return, it represents the chance for theron to remain alive and sane.
And perhaps alice will be able to wear roses in her bonnet there, as well.