"The Chaperone" Chapters 17-21: So Much Good to Come
By Karen Ballum on July 31, 2012
I think that the final chapters of Laura Moriarty's The Chaperone might be my favorite. It's the point where we see Cora decide to be the person we've caught glimpses of throughout the earlier chapters. We get to see Cora chuck propriety to the side and grab at happiness with both hands. Alas, if only the same could be said for Louise.
"She could endure it. Withstanding it would be the beginning of her penance, fair punishment for her blindness and all the stupid things she'd said. She would bear the mortification and recover. There might be so much good to come. For now, she at least owed Louise this moment of cackling delight." Page 285.
I think I loved this section so much because within it Cora finds a confidence that she was lacking. She still wears a public face of propriety but she fights for things she can change. She gets involved with a home for unwed mothers. She doesn't bow to the pressure the local ladies who lunch put on her to speak out against condoms in pharmacies. Somewhere during that summer with Louise, Cora dropped her corset and grew a backbone.
Louise goes on to both fame and ruin. It's questionable within the pages as to whether she ever finds happiness. She finds periods of success and perhaps that made her happy. She also had low points, including ending up back in Wichita. That allows for a scene between Louise and Cora that shows just how much Cora has changed since she and Louise boarded that train to New York City.
The later years of Cora's life weren't always happy ones. Cora still struggled with not being about to tell the people near to her the greatest truths. She and Joseph, and Alan and Raymond, carve out their own happiness, but oh, if only their lives could have been different. They did the best they could for one another.
Far from being the typical midwestern housewife we meet in the first pages of The Chaperone, Moriarty takes Cora and the reader on an extraordinary journey. Cora's life was not typical and it wasn't always easy, but it was filled with moments of extraordinary happiness. What more could we ask for?
What were your final thoughts about The Chaperone?
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