a world where mothers chose their children over their husbands

On p. 265, the narrator is lonely after his wife escapes, and he wishes “[t]o again live in a world of unfaithful wives, a world where mothers chose their children over their husbands.” Then he “admit[s] that no matter how [he] wanted her to be [his] wife first, still she had not been [his], not since the moment of [their] first conception, all those years ago.”

I found this interesting because we knew that the husband had been preoccupied with ownership at the beginning of the book, but I had never considered that he was ever angry for this reason. I had been much more focused on his jealousy that the wife got the attention of the foundling and that the foundling might not be really be the narrator’s son. I had not really considered just how much he seems to have been jealous that the foundling (or any of the babies who were not born) was taking the attention of his wife.  I’m curious to know if anyone else first considered that at this moment in the text. And if this is the moment when we are supposed to consider that, why did Bell choose this moment – so far into the text? 

Also, what does this tell us about the text’s overall commentary/objective. This is an interesting concept having to do with marriage and parenthood that I don’t think we’ve talked about yet – is it acceptable for parents to be jealous of their children over their spouse’s attention? Or is it right for a parent to give their children all of his/her attention at the expense of his/her spouse? What does the text think about this?


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