Why does Mr.Sloper want Catherine to be a weak girl? Is it the signal that he does not caremuch of her? His assumption about Catherine to be ‘not perfect’ is actuallymade in order to protect her from the danger Why does Mr. Sloper want Catherine to be a weak girl? Is(Mr. Townsend). Throughout the novel, Dr. Sloper becomes a largelysymbolic father figure. Since he wants to makeCatherine detached from Townsend, he tries to understand her in the way he wantsto.
And this is because he ‘loves’ her.Inthe ?Washington Square?,Catherine is depicted as a “healthy, well-grown child, without a trace of hermother’s beauty” (25). And at the same time, even if she does not contain the ‘trace’of her mother’s beauty, she is still “not ugly” (25) and just has “simply aplain, dull, gentle countenance” (25). Thus, Catherine is actually a prettygirl. Also the whole story gives us the sense that Catherine is not exactly thesame as her father’s cognition. And she was also unlike the people’s recognitionabout her.
Thenarrator approaches Catherine first by telling us what the ‘community’ saysabout the girl. She was “shy, uncomfortably, painfully shy. This was notalways understood, and she sometimes produced an impression of insensibility.In reality, she was the softest creature in the world” (28). Moreover, Mr.Sloper’s opinion of her moral purity was “abundantly justified; she wasexcellently, imperturbably good; affectionate, docile, obedient, and muchaddicted to speaking the truth” (28). Catherine may have been quiet rather thandull, ladylike instead of plain, not stolid or irresponsive, only painfullyshy.
And then the narrator eventually reveals that, though Catherine “sometimesproduced an impression of insensibility,” she was “the softest creature in theworld.” Thus, since people’s cognition about Catherine does not accord with the’real Catherine’, and readers must pay attention to what she is ‘really like.’ Catherineregards the feeling of other people, almost in the same importance with her ownopinoin. When Mr. Sloper asked Cathrine whether Townsend proposed to her,Catherine reminds of herself that she “could never be sharp” (47).
By this, wecan learn that her behavior is directly or indirectly controlled by otherpeople’s recognition about her. Sheis surrounded by dominating individuals who seek to make decisions for her.