Study Guide

Mrs. Clements in The Woman in White

By Wilkie Collins

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Mrs. Clements

The Woman in White loves to focus on the way appearances can be deceiving. The charming Sir Percival is really a brute; the crazy woman in the asylum is really the sane Lady Glyde; the concerned mother of Anne is really a viperish nut who hated her own daughter.

Which brings us to Mrs. Clements. Mrs. Clements is an ideal mother to Anne—she's caring, patient, and understanding. And yet, Mrs. Clements isn't Anne's biological mom and she doesn't have any children of her own. But Mrs. Clements is a mom in all the ways that count.

"My heart was heavy for the child; and I made the offer to bring it up as tenderly as if it was my own." (

Another way Mrs. Clements surprises us is by providing some great insight into her past. When we meet her, she's an older woman who seems to do nothing but run around after crazy Anne. But when Walter grills her for details on Sir Percival, we get a whole new side of Mrs. Clements: it turns out she was a fun, happily married woman called "Lizzie" by her husband. Who'd have guessed it? Mrs. Clements is a great example of one of the book's many peripheral characters who manage to capture our interest despite making limited appearances in the novel.

Mrs. Clements in The Woman in White Study Group

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