Study Guide

Our Mutual Friend Marriage

By Charles Dickens

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Your grandfather's favorite crooner, Frank Sinatra, said that, "Love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage." Dickens might amend that to something like "Love and money, and marriage and money, go together like Winnie the Pooh and honey." We're poets over here in Shmoopland.

Dickens asks difficult questions about whether one should marry for love or for money. Old Man Harmon's will states that John needs to marry some girl named Bella Wilfer if he wants to inherit his dad's fortune: it's a total money-based transaction. Eugene Wrayburn, on the other hand, completely ruins his social reputation by marrying his working-class sweetheart, Lizzie Hexam.

Questions About Marriage

  1. How does Bella feel about the death of John Harmon, considering that she was supposed to marry him? Try supporting your answer with evidence from the book.
  2. What are the circumstances of Eugene and Lizzie's wedding? Do you think they're romantic? Why or why not?
  3. Who objects to Eugene's wedding to Lizzie? How does Mr. Twemlow defend the marriage? (Think of the final chapter of the book.)

Chew on This

In Our Mutual Friend, we learn that marriage isn't always about love. It's often about money, status, and respect.

In Our Mutual Friend, we find that you should never marry someone unless you're sure they love you for you (and not for your money).

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