Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Barry Lyndon Plot Summary, Chapters 16, 17 and 18

Chapter 16
  • Through Lady Lyndon's porter, Barry gains access to all her correspondence and is thus able to stalk and pursue her while making it appear that she is pursuing him.
  • He kidnaps Lady Lyndon's lady in waiting, Miss Amalia Kiljoy, and marries her to Ulick. By this and through other threats he shows his determination to get Lady Lyndon.
  • She flees to England but Barry goes on ahead, making it seem like she is following him. Her family and society picks up in this, which further drives her towards Barry. By using this and bribing her servants, Barry is finally able to marry Lady Lyndon on 1773, taking the name Barry Lyndon.
Chapter 17
  • After a short introduction, the second part of the novel has Barry travel with Lady Lyndon to Hackton Castle where he spends his time abusing her and her assets by redecorating and gambling. Indirectly, he effectuates an old curse stating that when a certain rookery should fall, so should the castle.
  • He buys back the marshy lands of his ancestors but still takes a dim view of Ireland.
  • Barry and Lady Lyndon starts being apart. The latter is mistreated.
  • He has bad luck at gambling but consorts with Dr. Johnson, Boswell and other famous personages (as referred to in the opening chapters).
  • He enters politics and wins a seat in Parliament from Lord George of the neighbouring Tiptoffs, relatives of Lady Lyndon, who are exceedingly hostile towards him.
Chapter 18
  • Barry finds Lady Lyndon intolerable and troublesome and only manageable when her son is used as leverage or when coaxed.
  • His son by Lady Lyndon, Bryan, is portrayed with fondness and Barry tries to secure peerages for himself and his son. Bryan is fond of Bullington, who is sent to Ireland where he grows rebellious and embraces Catholicism. After two years he returns and is continually in conflict with Barry.
  • The Tiptoffs keep spreading stories of Barry's mistreatment of Lady Lyndon, Bullington and the estate, stories which Barry characterises as slander. However, more often than not, these stories seem to be true.
  • After having been beaten half to death by Barry, Bullington flees the house and volunteers for an English regiment in the American war of independence. This is pounced upon by the Tiptoffs, who thinks that Barry raised a regiment in order to have Bullington join it and be shot by a hired assassin. Later, he is said to die in just such a way.
  • Meanwhile, disgraced at court and increasingly poor, Barry and his family goes to Paris where he spends more money, gambles, pawns heirlooms and cheats on Lady Lyndon. When France declares war on Britain in 1778, he returns and moves on to Ireland for financial reasons.
  • News of Bullington's death are presented as one of the very few positive elements.

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