The Fore-Ordained Attachment of Zena Pepperleigh and Peter Pupkin recounts Zena Pepperleigh and Peter Pupkin’s courtship. It is revealed that Pupkin comes from a wealthy family in the Maritimes with ties to the Pepperleighs. When Pupkin failed his law entrance exam, his family sent him to work in Mariposa’s Exchange Bank and have his desires for luxury “thumped out of him” (134). It was this that led him to meet Zena Pepperleigh.
1. Describe Zena Pepperleigh and Peter Pupkin’s courtship.
2. Judge Pepperleigh believes that anybody who earns more than $3,000 per year (his salary) is overpaid. Mr. Muddleson, the high school principal, believes anybody who earns more than $1,500 per year (his salary) is overpaid. Trelawney, the post-master, believes that anybody who earns more than $1,300 per year (his salary) is overpaid. What is being said about how people view themselves and how people view others?
3. Stephen Leacock studied at the University of Chicago under the economist Thorstein Veblen. Veblen introduced the idea of “conspicuous consumption.” It refers to how people will needlessly buy flashy things to enhance their image and social status.
a) How is the idea of conspicuous consumption challenged by this statement:
I don’t know whether you know it, but you can rent an enchanted house in Mariposa for eight dollars a month, and some of the most completely enchanted are the cheapest. (123)
b) Do you agree with this statement?
4. Why is Pupkin in Mariposa? What is the relationship between the Pepperleighs and the Pupkins?
5. Why is Pupkin afraid of his family coming to Mariposa?