The first part of Inchbald’s “A Simple Story” is about Miss Milner who is left in the care of Mr. Dorriforth who was to act as her guardian. This is just after the demise of her father. Miss Milner develops lots of love for Mr. Dorriforth despite the fact that he is only a priest. Even so, she is not a catholic herself. The freedom to marry and have a son came to be enjoyed by Dorriforth the moment he acquired the title of Lord Elmwood (Inchbald 13). This title released him from his vows thus giving him the liberty to procreate and have a son of his own that will inherit the title and maintain it within the family of the Catholics.
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Miss Milner, on the other hand, is one unusual character who attracts great attention from the audience members. Despite her high level of kindness and generosity as exhibited in the story, she is still depicted as a flirt and a prick-tease. She turns out to be not that much of a productive person and at the same time, she is shown as a character that is not so much of a great thinker. Even so, on the other side, she possesses the heart of gold and portrays lots of love to people.
Dorriforth who is considered by many to be righteous, always the best at what he does, and very generous, crops out to be someone else by showing his true-self (that which he always kept hidden from the public eye). He displays his oppressive nature in a more open way. For example, he turns his back on his nephew, Henry, just because his mother got married to the one she loved against Dorriforth’s wishes.
Sandford, who is Dorriforth’s spiritual adviser and main companion, appears to be more of a sadist. He pretends that his hate for Miss Milner is not true but only a way to get her to change her bad ways and follow the rightful pathway but that seems not to be the case (Inchbald 32).
Inchbald portrays Miss Milner as developing the belief that Dorriforth will not do anything to harm her due to the great love he feels for her not knowing the true person that Dorriforth hides in him. Dorriforth always required the women to be submissive at all times. Miss Milner intended to prolong the courtship period so that she can remain to be the ruling soul because it is only during this period that women remained in control of the men. Miss Milner’s quest for Dorriforth is something that is quite unexpected, more so due to the fact that he is a priest who was to be her guardian.
Nonetheless, in the second section of the book, Sandford inculcates a different set of opinion in Dorriforth. He gets to encourage him into marrying Miss Milner even with the elevated level of lack of trust and dislike that Dorriforth felt for Miss Milner.
It is in this section that the daughter of both Miss Milner and Dorriforth is allowed to live in one of her father’s apartments. The only condition that was in place to allow Matilda to stay in the apartment was that she never crosses paths with her dad (Inchbald 61). As if the imprisonment in her father’s apartment was not enough, Lord Margrave abducts her. At that moment in time, her father is left with no other option but to step in and rescue his daughter.
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Dorriforth marrying the girl he was to be a guardian or father to portray an act of committing incest. Unfortunately, Matilda also gets to tie a knot with Henry, her cousin whom the father drove away.
The novel is greatly concerned with the acquisition of education by the women. Even so, the book fails to elaborate fully on the education of Miss Milner and her daughter. Matilda turns out to be the complete opposite of her mother Miss Milner. Her mother always strived to subdue the men while on the hand she remained to be very submissive, humble, and easygoing (Inchbald 77).
Inchbald, Elizabeth. A Simple Story. London: Longman [u.a., 1820. Print.