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Themes

Little Words, Big Ideas

Marriage

Like many Victorian novels, The Moonstone ends in marriage. But it's far from being a traditional marriage-driven novel – in other words, it's not the romance of the hero and the heroine that...

Gender

A lot of gender stereotypes are expressed by the different narrators in this novel, but almost all of them get debunked and thrown out the window. Universal ideals of gender tend to break down when...

Memory and the Past

The diamond Moonstone itself is an emblem of the past – it has been an important religious icon for centuries before Colonel Herncastle stole it. It stands to reason, then, that the novel nam...

Society and Class

Some of the main characters of The Moonstone, including the first narrator, Gabriel Betteredge, are servants. This is really unusual for a Victorian novel. In most novels of this time period, serva...

Foreignness and 'the Other'

The diamond Moonstone is from India, and the main characters suspect throughout that the three Indians who appeared at the Verinders' country house are somehow involved in the diamond's disappearan...

Literature and Writing

Because The Moonstone is composed of a series of first-person narratives, supposedly written by the characters themselves, there are frequent remarks about the act of writing. What should be includ...

Drugs and Alcohol

Laudanum, a mixture of alcohol and opium used as a common medicine in the nineteenth century, is central to the mystery of the Moonstone. And it takes an opium addict Ezra Jennings to figure it out...

Religion

Religion is an important part of the daily lives of most of the characters in The Moonstone, as it was for most English people in the nineteenth century. But of course there are degrees: both Rache...
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