Sand’s Marianne: The Development of Characters and the Inevitable Outcome In George Sand’s Marianne, Sand uses her development of the three primary characters to bring together two unlikely soul mates, and at the same time separate the two most likely paired of the three figures. Her primary characters, Marianne, Pierre, and Philippe, and their make-up play an intricate role in the story. More than just playing a key role though, their make-up leads the story in a direction that is propelled by the unique personalities each hold. The drive that each strong personality contributes to Sand’s Marianne, and their unique temperaments, brings the reader into a different sort of love story as opposed to what would be expected of a typical love story. Sand, with her characters, leads the story to a place where however unlikely it winds up, it couldn’t possibly have ended any other way than it does. The character of Pierre is one of a deep emotional type. Pierre lived his life with blinders on. He saw only what he wanted to see forward in his future, living for his moment. When he has to return home, and hasn’t reached his life goals and fulfilled his dreams, he devalues himself and lives with regrets that blind him to what is right in front of him.
He cannot see what happiness can be obtained because he has put too much emphasis on his failures and his place in the world, as well as his age at the time of the story. Philippe’s character is almost the polar opposite to Pierre’s. Where Pierre was driven, and one minded in his plan for his future, Philippe is driven by his passion for painting. He doesn’t care for financial gain, other than what he would need to get his father from pressuring him and what would allow him to keep creating. He is almost in love with himself, and has nothing but confidence in himself, and his abilities to succeed. Where Pierre is self-oppressing, hard on himself, Philippe holds the utmost supreme confidence in himself and his abilities to obtain what he wants. Marianne, a study in independence, yet showing the desire to better educated and to be loved by the man she sees as her true love, is an enigma in a sense.
Assuming that Marianne herself represents what Sand probably saw what she wanted for herself in that time of her life (This story was written in the final years of George Sand), her character being strong, intelligent (even if not formerly educated), and passionate. Yet as strong and independent as she is portrayed, she still wants the dream of love and to be able to share that with a man who can truly love and appreciate her. She plays along with the story as it goes, but the reader is always assured that she never truly falls into the trap of the young suitor, Philippe, and his plan for her wealth and financial support. The type of character strength found in Marianne is not typical of the type of woman that probably lived in the time that the story took place, but the make-up of Marianne is paramount for how the characters of both her and Pierre come together, and how she and Philippe disperse as the story unfolds. Pierre and Philippe, described briefly as polar opposites, both offer a glimpse into the only two types of men there are for a Marianne.
They seem to be in competition from the onset, yet truly there never really was a competition for Marianne’s character, or at least it never really seemed to be one. The two characters existed not for competition, but to display what is good and emotional (Pierre and his love, and longing to be able to express it) and what is brash, over confident and wholly not with best of intentions (Philippe needing Marianne for her financial state so that he may continue painting, and not truly for her love which he has no doubt that he will obtain) for Marianne.
Marianne and Pierre at first glance are not what the reader sees as being right. There is the age difference, and the way that Marianne seems so independent and successful, and Pierre seems so doubtful of the two’s pairing, and defeated in his own personal quest of life’s success. Pierre never is able throughout the story to just rise to the occasion and tell Marianne what he truly is feeling, and even though she knows what he feels, she is needing him to overcome that obstacle and be that man for her. Her character uses the character of Philippe to bring Pierre’s character to the place where he is not only ready, but bursting to finally share what his true feelings for her are. She does this from a position where it seems all along she knows how this will play out, and at the same time you don’t get the feeling that she is completely assured of how it will transpire in the end.
Sand tries to make her three characters represent varying degrees of consciousness and to pair them according to their similarities along this spectrum. Philippe represents brain consciousness (“You see too much!” is Marianne’s accusation of him). Pierre represents strong sensation and feeling, combined with the scientific habits of botany. Marianne represents the desire to live in the senses, tempered by an ambition to be self-educated. How well does Sand’s scheme of sensibility (18th century term for temperament) motivate the love relationship between Marianne and Pierre, and conversely, the failure of affinity between Marianne and Philippe?