The Go Between
The Go Between, by L.P Hartley is a period novel set in the summer of 1900 in Brandham Hall, Norfolk. In this story we follow the protagonist, a young naive bay called ‘Leo Colston’, through the three weeks he spends at Brandham hall. Leo gets himself caught up in a love triangle, which results in the loss of his innocence. This helps Hartley portray the theme of sympathy towards Leo; I will further discuss the way that this is achieved throughout the novel in my essay.
The Go Between tells us the story of Leo Colston and his brief time spent at Brandham hall while staying with the Maudsley’s in the hot summer of the 1900. Leo is corrupted by Marian (the lady of the house) and by Ted Burgess (a farmer on the estate). They both send love letters to each other via Leo, this result’s in Leo losing his childhood innocence, which creates sympathy towards him as he suffers a great deal from the result of being a go-between. The climax of the novel is when Ted and Marian’s affair is uncovered, this is the cause for the unfortunate event of Ted’s suicide, from which undoes our protagonist. From this Leo never fully recovers from.
Hartley uses the structure of the novel to help create immediate and continuing sympathy towards Leo throughout. He achieves this by the use of a prologue and epilogue and by narrating in the first person. The prologue presents Leo as a broken old man, damaged by the catastrophe that occurred in the summer of 1900. Through the use of the first person we find directly from Leo’s conscious thoughts that he is reluctant to open his diary:
“ …he recalls containing a record of events that have prevented him from fulfilling himself in later life.”
Here the reader can anticipate that something terrible happened during the time Leo spent at Brandham hall, and that it has prevented him from fulfilling his life. As a reader you already begin to feel sympathetic towards Leo because of his wasted life right at the opening of the...