SUMMARY• The short story tells us about the life of an old woman, Letitia Foley. She had a twin sister, Cecily Foley. During their childhood times, they used to always play under the mahogany table that they inherited from their parents. They lived together in a small villa.• Cecily got married to a Californian man, Dexter. After getting married, Cecily left Letitia alone. Cecily did not take the mahogany table along with her but she left it to Letitia because her husband kept many furniture already.
• Letitia was glad to get to keep the mahogany table because it reminded her of sweet memories she had gone through with her family.• Letitia alternately wrote to Cecily and Cecily’s letters came intermittently. She told Letitia about her daughter. The next letter to Letitia came from Dexter’s mother saying that Cecily died in a road accident and Dexter had taken an overdose.• Letitia continued her lonely life till she died.
• Sylvia Townsend Warner was portrayed as Letitia Foley meanwhile her lover, Valentine Ackland was portrayed as Cecily Foley in the story. This can be proved as in real life, Sylvia was in a special relationship with Valentine. Meanwhile Letitia and Cecily are twins. There is a relation between the characters and Sylvia’s life.
Sylvia & Valentine
• This was obviously shown when Letitia lost her sister, Cecily as Cecily was killed in a car accident. In real life, Sylvia lost Valentine as she died due to serious breast cancer. As a result, Letitia tried her best to move on her life and same goes to Sylvia but in a different way. “ The next letter came from Dexter’s mother. Cecily had been killed in a road accident; Dexter had taken an overdose.” Real life : As Valentine died, Sylvia managed to live for another nine years, dying on May, 1978
MEN SHOULD BE STRONGER THAN WOMEN Men are synonym with the terms like strong, masculine, and rational. In this story, men were indirectly portrayed as a weaker character thanwomen. Dexter, Cecily’s husband who was had takenan overdose due to Cecily’s death. His action showedthat he cannot face the problem. As a man, he should able to accept the fact of his wife’s death instead of taking such action. Although he loved Cecily too much, he should be able to consider about the consequences of his action, furthermore he still have a daughter to be raised up.“The next letter came from Dexter’s mother. Cecily had been killed in a road accident; Dexter had taken an overdose” pg 26 paragraph 1
While Letitia, a woman who was the closest sibling to Cecily, though she had lost hers identical twin twice ( Cecily’s marriage and death), she did not take the irrational action such Dexter did. She stillable to carry on her life although it would not be the same anymore. She managed to handle thesituation by make herself busy by doing housework.So that she will forget about the problem temporarily.She died but the death was not due to her irrational action but it was an accident.“ By half-past eleven I have finished the housework and have the rest of the day before me to do as I please in. I never find time heavy on myhands; there is always something to do, polishing, or mending, ironing, spraying the window-plants , turning out cupboard ;there is always something interesting to do and always something interesting to do…” page 24 paragraph 1 line 3-7
WOMEN ARE SENSITIVE/CONCERN ON SOMETHING THAT MEMORABLE TO THEM In this story, women were seen as someone whoappreciate something that was memorable to them. Letitia kept the mahogany table because she feltthat the mahogany table gave a lot of memories for her and Cecily. The mahogany table kept their childhood memories. But for Dexter, he was not concerned on Cecily’s memories about the table instead saying that he was already swarmed with furniture he calls missionary. “The invitation ripped open Letitia’s sense of injury. ‘Will you be taking the mahogany table? She asked. The words were not sooner out hermouth than she blushed for them. Cecily appeared to consider. ‘ Dear old thing … no, I don’t think so. Dexter swarms with furniture he calls missionary’ “
MARRIAGES• We can see the culture a wife of following the husband after getting married. In the short story, Cecily Foley moved with her husband his house after she became Dexter’s wife. “As though she were speaking a part in a play she told Letitia that everything was settled, that she had never been so happy in her life, that as soon as Dexter’s new leg had settled in they would marry and leave for California.”
INHERIT FAMILY’S PROPERTIES• The inheritance of family’s properties. In the short story, Letitia and Cecily received their late parents property. The got all the furnitures in the house including the mahogany table that they think was the most valuable to them. “When she and Cecily set up house together after the parents were dead, Cecily had insisted on the mahogany table. Neither of them wanted the tallboys; but as belated twins at the end of a long family they had to take what was allotted and be grateful of it.”
SIGNIFICANCE OFTHE MAHOGANY TABLE
CHILDHOOD MEMORIES• The mahogany table brings happiness to Letitia and Cecily after their parents died as it is the only thing that being inherited from their parents. Letitia and Cecily tend to play with the mahogany table during their childhood times. “…none of the rich fruit-like glow of the mahogany table under which she and Cecily used to play houses.”
IRONY OF THE MAHOGANY TABLE• At first, the mahogany table brings happiness in Letitia and Cecily’s life. Ironically, the mahogany table brings sadness to Letitia in the end of the story when she died under it as the leg of the table broke when she tried to stand but she panicked as her leg cramped and thus the table fall over her.“…none of the rich fruit-like glow of the mahogany table under which she and Cecily used to play houses.” “…she must get onto her knees, for that she must have something to haul on. Still sitting, she writhed about directionless till she felt a table leg…it reeled away from her, the flap of the table fell, and knocked her senseless.”