After presenting several sides to the Warden's self-assured, aggressive son-in-law, Trollope (or Trollope's narrator), who elsewhere shows us the archdeacon reading Rabelais, makes an elaborate use of metaphor whose resonances seem difficult to pin down:

The tone of of the archdeacon's mind must not astonish us; it has been the growth of centuries of church ascendancy; and though some fungi now disfigure the tree, though there be much dead wood, for how much good fruit have not we to be thankful? Who, without remorse, can batter down the dead branches of an old oak now useless but ah! still so beautiful, or drag out the fragments of the ancient forest, without feeling that they sheltered the younger plants, to which they are now summoned to give way in a tone so preemptory and so harsh? [Chapter 5, "Dr. Grantly Visits the Hospital"]

Does such a remark, apparently presented with great sympathy for the Church, promote conservative views or savagely satirize them? On what basis can you assign tone here?

Last modified 2000