The themes depicted throughout the story are that of love, sacrifice, regret, relationship issues and most importantly class divisions that were an eminent part of the former world community, and are still visible and prominent in some areas of the world. The story is set in the 19th century, in the city of London and countryside of North Wessex.
The atmosphere of the entire story is melancholic, where the protagonist Sophy who we soon learn comes from rather “humble” beginnings in a rural English village; a fact that plays a major role in her unhappiness throughout the story. There are two three other characters in the story: Mr. Twycott (Sophy’s husband- the vicar who supposedly committed “social suicide” for her), Randolph (Sophy’s son) and Sam (her lover, who disappears and then reappears later in the story).
The story also has a moral: The decisions we make in today’s date come back to haunt us in the future. There are various reasons why the readers of the story might feel experience great pity towards the character of Sophy. The protagonist is a woman bound by class divisions, incapable of making her own decisions. The situations she has been put in are the main reasons for this. There was discrimination against women of that era- they were always told to control their emotions and act in the best interests of their family.
They were not allowed to follow their heart and were always bound by social pressures. Women of that time, as per society, were merely present to serve their men. Their life both started and ended with their husbands and they were not supposed to have the audacity to stand up for what they believed in or criticize what was wrong in their eyes. All in all, the audience hates the idea of a mother who is responsible for the existence of the child- being so badly insulted and ridiculed.
Also, I think Randolph really wasn’t a bad person. Just because people do horrible things do horrible things. He just wanted the best for his mother (he says she can marry again almost instantly but knew she wouldn’t be happy with Sam, after living in the upper class for so many years), and he wouldn’t settle for anything less- All he wanted to do was protect her. Deep inside, he was a good person- but his ways of expressing his love for her were just harsh.
Sure, we could say that his education ruined him, but education cannot change the true nature of a person- nothing ever can. Therefore, in brief, I do not feel sorry for Sophy, because it’s decisions that make our life better or worse and can change situations, and she, even though she knew the right ones, she always chose the easy ones. It was her own fault, and she faced the consequences- everything was even. No need to feel sorry for Sophy…