Months ago I wrote a character profile for Emma’s deceased mother. I waited to share her father, Walter. Here are five things you won’t know about Walter from reading Modern Persuasion.
- His favorite movie: Dial M For Murder. In fact, Hitchcock is his favorite director.
- He is obsessed with art. So much so that he is obsessed with the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum theft from 1990. One night 13 pieces from the collection were stolen and still have not been recovered.
- His favorite book: The Picture of Dorian Gray.
- He inherited a Winslow Homer painting from his father. He put it in the Cape Cod house and it’s probably the most valuable item in his art collection.
- It is obvious in the book that Elizabeth is his favorite child, but it is never clear why. In the original Austen plays on their similar natures of vanity and self-centeredness. While my version of Elizabeth may have stayed the same, I suspected there was far more depth to Walter. He has different motivations. Each of his daughters plays him differently. Emma is the one who tells him no. As similar as Emma and Walter actually are, that she parents him has put distance between them. Mary, playing the role often given to the middle child (not the youngest) is always asking him for something, often just attention. Elizabeth, for her own selfish reasons, does neither. She simply spends time with him and helps him spend his money the way he enjoys. He spoils her because she asks for nothing (because she realized she didn’t have to ask, she just had to encourage him to spend and eventually he would spend on her).