In Chapter VII of The Warden, John Bold reflects upon the effects of his "attempt at reformation in the hospital" (p. 89). Bold is torn between his love for Eleanor Harding and his passion for combatting injustice which has led him to publicize the questionable allocation of income at Hiram's Hospital. Regarding Eleanor, he muses: "Could she allow her affection to be purchased at the cost of his own self-respect?" (p. 89). After recalling all of the measures that have been taken in the case thus far, Bold is satisfied with his present success and recognizes that it is too late to abandon the venture now that the issue has gained such notoriety. It has even been mentioned in the daily Jupiter, the "all-powerful organ of the press" (p.89). The following excerpt is taken from the article published in the Jupiter.

In other words, the legatees under the founder's will have received no advantage from the increase in the value of the property during the last four centuries, such increase having been absorbed by the so-called warden. It is impossible to conceive of a case of greater injustice. It is no answer to say that some six or nine or twelve old men receive as much of the goods of this world as such old men require. On what foundation, moral or divine, traditional or legal, is grounded the warden's claim to the large income he receives for doing nothing? The contentment of these almsmen, if content they be, can give him no title to this wealth! Does he ever ask himself, when he stretches wide his clerical palm to receive the pay of some dozen of the working clergy, for what service he is so remunerated? Does his conscience ever entertain the question of his right to such subsidies? Or is it possible that the subject never so presents itself to his mind; that he has received it for many years, and intends, should God spare him, to receive for years to come, these fruits of the industrious piety of past ages, indifferent as to any right on his own part or of any injustice to others! We must express an opinion that nowhere but in the Church of England, and only there among its priests, could such a state of moral indifference be found. [90]

Discussion Questions

1. What specific devices are used in this article? How are they effective? What is the tone of this passage? Comment upon the symbolism of the title of this fictitious publication.

2. What is the extent of the role of the Press in The Warden? How does it compare to the role of the Law?

3. While examining the role of heavily biased language in the novel, it seems appropriate to note that Trollope often inserts commentary (from the first-person perspective of the anonymous narrator) throughout his novel. What is the effect of this biased commentary found within the narrative? Overall, how would the novel differ without it?

Last modified: 21 April 2003