A Critical Analysis
A Critical Analysis of Evelyn Waugh’s “Bella Fleace Gave a Party” In the introduction to “Bella Fleace Gave a Party”, extensive background is revealed to help the reader understand the times in which the character lived. It is a time of enormous change in the political and social structure of these people’s lives. An aging socialite is introduced in many direct and indirect characterizations. She is portrayed as a confused and ill-tempered woman shunned by most because of her nature. Conflict arises quickly when a distant cousin, her heir, arrives and covets some books in the house. Bella responds by selling the books, and decides to squander the proceeds on repairing the house for a party to keep the cousin from part of his inheritance. The rising action continues with huge and ostentatious plans for a Christmas party to rival all others in the countryside. The climax is reached when Bella descends the stairs at eight and not a soul has come to her party. As two uninvited guest shows up at the party, a turning point occurs. “’I had not expected this honor,’ she said. ‘Please forgive me if I am unable to entertain you’” (Waugh 587). The shock and horror of Bella’s social shortcoming is too great for her to deal with. “They came uninvited those two and nobody else” (Waugh 587). Bella Fleace dies a day after saying these final words in the sad resolution. Banks her cousin, comes to the funeral and later when sorting affairs, he finds the unmailed invitations in the desk in the denouement. Reality and drama set in on Bella, at this point the irony of the situation is too much for Bella and she looses her grip on reality. Bella Fleace shows that she is superficial, eccentric, and extremely proud because she is cemented into a past belief of social structures with a need to pretend if not actually to be of particular social strata.