In the novel, The Story of Lucy Gault, chance plays a tremendous role. There are numerous examples of this. From the very beginning, the fact that Lucy goes for a swim, and then gets hurt on her way back through the woods, starts the plot. With her not returning home, and the chance happening that her clothes were not all washed out to see, her parents left the country with out her, a critical point, never to see her again. If they had not found any of her clothes, or her sandal, they may have continued to look for her in the countryside.
At this same time, the fact that Henry happened upon her under the black coat at Patty Lindon’s old place was another chance happening. And what if Henry had not needed the stones to repair the O’Reilly’s sheep fence, the reason he went to Liindon’s. Lucy survived and the story continues. And what about the first visit by Ralph – he got lost, came up a strange road that to him did not look like an avenue, did not expect to find a house, and it happened to be Lahardane, and by chance, once again Lucy was home and came out of the house. These suggest the hand of fate during not only Lucy’s life, but that of her parents and Ralph as well.
The tragic consequences of Lucy’s mother and father finding her clothes along the shore prove to them that she had drowned, lost at sea while swimming alone. Convinced of this, they stop looking for Lucy and decide to continue with their plans to leave Ireland without her. They never look back. They move to England, and then continue to move from place to place, never contacting anyone at Lahardane with their updated location. Thus no one was able to let them know that their daughter had survived and was growing up without them. And likewise, they not seeing her mature.
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When Lucy first disappeared, Bridget confirmed that she had seen Lucy come home in prior nights with damp hair, proof that she had been swimming alone. They could not get past this fact of dishonesty. They had called her name in the woods to no avail. They blamed themselves, and seeing her clothes, and just one sandal, meant that she had drowned. As nothing was seen by the fisherman, it could only remain the sharks. There was no other answer. Misinterpretation plays a major role in this novel, and in everyone’s lives. Communication of all forms is vital.
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