Georgy’s Medicine

Why does Amelia react so intensely when her mother attempts to give little Georgy medicine? Furthermore, why does Amelia’s reaction, which seems to be nothing more than protectiveness, cause Mrs. Sedley to respond, “may you never nourish a viper in your bosom, that’s my prayer” (388)? In a moment of panic, it seems that Amelia was simply trying to protect her child, the only remnant she has of her deceased husband, from a unfamiliar medication. As a reader, it is easy to understand her concern for her beloved son. However, her own mother is unable to give her the same grace. In fact, “till the termination of her [Mrs. Sedley’s] natural life, this breach between Mrs. Sedley and her daughter was never thoroughly mended” (388). Either Mrs. Sedley has no empathy for her daughter or she is so blinded by her pride that the motivations and concerns of other are unrecognizable to her. Just a couple pages before this scene, Thackeray writes that “Perhaps they [the Sedleys] were a little prouder in their down fall than in their prosperity” (385). Consequently, is this pride a self-protective measure or self-righteousness? Mrs. Sedley has lost her social status as a part of the upper class. As a result, her status as a successful mother is her only identity. As this scene illustrates, she will do anything to protect it.

15 thoughts on “Georgy’s Medicine

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