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Character Analysis in The Striding Place

Weigall: Weigall is a young, aristocratic man of 32 years. The narrator mentions that he is visiting Yorkshire, England from “the South”—it is not clear, however, whether this refers to the south of England, the south of the European continent, or the southern United States. Nonchalant by nature, Weigall is not particularly enamoured by the seasonal grouse-shooting or by the English countryside. However, when his best friend Wyatt becomes threatened, Weigall takes on a more serious mindset.

Wyatt Gifford: Wyatt Gifford is a robust, wealthy young landowner who enjoys hunting grouse and courting women. When Gifford wanders off into the bog one night, he distresses his best friend, Weigall. When Weigall finally finds Gifford deep in the woods, we are forced to consider Gifford’s cryptic ideas about the nature of the human soul.

Character Analysis Examples in The Striding Place:

The Striding Place

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"but he would have flouted in these moments the thought that he had ever loved any woman as he loved Wyatt Gifford...."   (The Striding Place)

As Weigall faces the possibility of Gifford’s death, it becomes clear to him how deeply his feelings for his friend run. Weigall has loved Gifford more than any of the women he has loved in his life. The stakes of the story increase dramatically as a result of this insight.

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"As far as was known there was nothing to lower his mental mercury, for his rent-roll was a large one..."   (The Striding Place)

These phrases introduce us to Wyatt Gifford, who has recently disappeared from the castle. His “mental mercury” refers to his mental acuity. “Mercury” here indicates both the reading of a mercury thermometer—a handy metaphor for intelligence, scaled vertically—as well as wit. Those who are said to be mercurial are lively and quick-witted. A “rent-roll” refers to the list of renters who live on the property of a landowner. Gifford is a landowner and, it appears, a wealthy one at that.

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"The amusements of life, he argued, should be accepted with the same philosophy as its ills...."   (The Striding Place)

It is not clear what Weigall’s philosophy towards life is, either its “amusements” or its “ills.” However, there does seem to be a critical distance, a sense of remove from the traditions of the hunt.

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