Georgia Hall by Maeve Binchy
In Georgia Hall by Maeve Binchy we have the theme of jealousy, insecurity, confidence, pride, fear, selflessness and image. Taken from her A Few of the Girls collection the story is narrated in the first person by a young woman called Margaret (Moggie) and after reading the story the reader realises that Binchy may be exploring the theme of jealousy. Margaret is jealous of Georgia as Georgia appears to have the picture perfect life. However it becomes clear to the reader after Georgia has spoken to Margaret by telephone that Georgia is also jealous of Margaret. Though Margaret at first is in disbelief that Georgia could be jealous of her. This may be important as it suggests that Margaret is insecure within herself. She believes that she is not as attractive or as interesting as Georgia and as such finds it difficult to understand why Georgia would be jealous of her. However it soon becomes clear to Margaret after her conversation with Bob that Georgia is all image. Her life is a front with no substance unlike Margaret’s life. Margaret works for a good cause and believes in bettering the world while Georgia thinks only of herself. She discards people when they no longer are of use to her. James being an example.
It is also possible that James is representative of how easily swayed a man can be by a woman’s attractiveness. There is also no doubting that Margaret is intimidated by Georgia’s appearance. However she places an over emphasis on looks (or image). Particularly through her University days. It is as though this insecurity within Margaret causes her to lose confidence within herself. Though she is hurt by James actions she does not let anybody know. She keeps her emotions to herself even though she is hurting. If anything it would not be incorrect to suggest that Margaret’s pride has been wounded by James’ actions. In fact so wounded is Margaret that even after she moves on from University she cannot let go of what James has done. Despite the passing of time it still hurts and Margaret also fears that Bob will follow the same path as James. If anything Margaret is living in fear. Afraid that Bob will leave her for Georgia just as James did. Even though Bob is a different type of character than James was.
Margaret also acts selflessly. When Bob suggests that they should approach Georgia and ask her to be the face for their campaign. Margaret does not have any objections. Instead she herself contacts Georgia asking her to help the campaign. This may be important as it suggests that Margaret is putting the campaign and the good of the campaign ahead of how she may feel about Georgia. If anything she is putting others before herself and her feelings. Which in many ways shows an inner strength within Margaret. Though at the time Margaret contacts Georgia Margaret does not feel strong. She is only too well aware of Georgia’s personality and as mentioned the loss of James is still fresh in her mind. Georgia may act nice to others but Margaret has seen a different side of her. A side that makes Margaret feel not only insecure about herself but also drains her of her confidence.
The ending of the story is also interesting as Binchy appears to build up or at least restore Margaret’s confidence. By having Bob tell Margaret that he could immediately see through Georgia. Binchy manages for the first time in the story to have two people, rather than just Margaret, see what type of person Georgia really is. Though Margaret feared that she would lose Bob to Georgia her fears are allayed when Bob tells her that he knew from the beginning what type of person Georgia was. It is as though Margaret is able to believe that Bob truly loves her. That love is something more than a word. So strong is Bob’s belief in Margaret that Margaret also starts to believe in herself. Something that has not previously occurred in the story. Margaret may have felt confident when it came to her work but when it came to believing in herself outside of work she lacked confidence. The incident between James and Georgia not helping matters. It is also interesting that Georgia admits to her own insecurities as this may have helped Margaret to believe in herself. To be comfortable about how she looks and who she may be. If anything Binchy may be suggesting that looks can be deceiving. Something that Margaret knows already and James learnt the hard way. When he chose to end his relationship with Margaret and pursue Georgia. Real beauty is in a person’s character and not what they might look like. Something that Georgia knows but that Margaret found hard to believe due to what had previously happened to her. At the end of the story Margaret is happy. The past no longer playing on her mind. She has a man who loves her and she is starting to believe in herself again.