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The Model Millionaire Summary, Theme| ICSE Class 9 English

 

 

ICSE Class 9 English The Model Millionaire Summary, Theme, Character Sketch along with difficult word meanings from Treasure Chest Book

 

The Model Millionaire Class 9 ICSE– Are you looking for Theme, Summary and Lesson Explanation for ICSE Class 9 English Lesson The Model Millionaire from Treasure Chest (A Collection of ICSE Poems and Short Stories) book. Get Summary, Theme, Character Sketch along with difficult word meanings.

 

 

The Model Millionaire Class 9 ICSE English 

By Oscar Wilde

 

Introduction to The Model Millionaire

The Model Millionaire first appeared in the newspaper The World in June 1887. It was published as a part of the anthology, Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime and other Stories. 

The story revolves around Hughie Erskine, a charming but poor young man, and his pursuit of Laura Leaf, a beautiful and wealthy woman. One day, he was emotionally moved at the sight of an elderly beggar, who was posing as a model for his artist friend. He gave the old beggar the largest value coin that he had in his pocket. Hughie was handsomely rewarded for his kindness. 

The story is filled with clever observations about love, wealth, and society.

 

 

 

Themes of the Lesson The Model Millionaire 

The short story “The Model Millionaire” by Oscar Wilde explores the following themes:
1. Generosity
2. Appearance vs Reality
3. Wealth
4. Class Consciousness

1. Generosity
Even though Hughie is poor himself, he is genuinely touched by the plight of the old beggar and offers him a generous gift. This act of unexpected kindness sets the story’s plot in motion.
Hughie’s generosity was not lost on the beggar, who was actually one of the richest men in Europe. Baron was so impressed by Hughie’s generosity that he rewarded Hughie with ten thousand pounds.

2. Appearance vs Reality
The story plays with the concept of appearances. Hughie is a good-looking man but he is poor. The beggar is a wealthy man in disguise.

He was a strange rough fellow, with a freckled face and a red ragged beard.

Although Hughie was admittedly handsome and charming but not necessarily the smartest because he had failed in every business he tried and was jobless.
This theme questions the reliability of outward appearances and suggests that true value lies in character.

3. Wealth
The plot of the story shows the importance of wealth in Victorian England. The title and the opening sentence draw attention to this point.

Unless one is wealthy there is no use in being a charming fellow. Romance is the privilege of the rich, not the profession of the unemployed. The poor should be practical and prosaic. It is better to have a permanent income than to be fascinating.

The Colonel asked Hughie to come to him with the proposal of marriage to his daughter when he had 10,000 pounds of his own, which shows how much importance was given to money.

4. Class Consciousness
The story represents the social strata of Victorian society in a lighter tone. The protagonist, Hughie Erskine and his artist friend, Alan Trevor are representatives of the middle class that grew to constitute the largest section of the society.
During this time, socialism and redistribution of wealth was gathering momentum. The author has shown that the rich can voluntarily redistribute their wealth by encouraging moral values like kindness and generosity.

 

 

 

The Model Millionaire Summary

 

Plot Summary (Storyline)

1. Hughie Erskine was a charming but poor young man.

2. He wanted to marry Laura Merton, the daughter of a retired Colonel. 

3. The Colonel said he would let their marriage happen only if Hughie had 10,000 pounds of his own. 

4. One day, he visited Alan Trevor, a painter and an artist. 

5. Trevor was giving final touches to the painting of a beggar. 

6. Hughie felt sorry at the condition of the model-an old miserable beggar.  

7. Hughie gave the beggar almost all the money he had.

8. Later, Hughie was shocked to know that the beggar was Baron Hausberg, a very rich man. 

9. Next morning Hughie received a gift of 10,000 pounds as a wedding gift from Baron Hausberg. 

 

Summary of the Story

Hughie Erskine was a handsome young man. He was popular with his male as well as female friends. But he was a poor fellow. All he had was one cavalry sword and a ‘History of Peninsular War’ in fifteen volumes, that he inherited from his father. He received two hundred pounds a year from an aunt. He tried many occupations but failed to achieve success in any profession. As a result he was jobless with a perfect profile and no profession. 

Hughie was in love with Laura, whose father was a retired Colonel who had served in India. He demanded Hughie to have at least 10,000 pounds before getting engaged to Laura.

Hughie had an art lover friend, Alan Trevor. One day on his way to meet Laura, he went to his friend Alan Trevor’s studio. Hughie found Alan giving finishing touches to the portrait of a beggar. Alan Trevor was working on the picture of a wrinkled old man wearing tattered rags, holding out a battered hat for alms in his hand. Hughie pitied the model who was getting only a few shillings compared to two thousand guineas that the artist was getting for his painting. 

Meanwhile, a servant informed that the frame maker wanted to speak to Trevor. When Trevor went out, the (model) beggar relaxed. Hughie pitied the beggar, and gave him a coin and left to meet Laura. Laura scolded him for his generosity while Trevor had a hearty laugh when Hughie met him later that day. Trevor explained to Hughie that the old man whom he thought to be a wretched beggar, was one of the richest men in Europe. Trevor informed him that the old beggar was Baron Hausberg who had commissioned Trevor to paint him as a beggar. Trevor also said that he had told him everything about Hughie and Laura as Barn was impressed with him and had enquired about him. Soon after, Hughie feeling ashamed and angry went to his home. 

The next morning, a messenger came to Hughie’s house saying that he had come from Baron Hausberg. He had brought a cheque of 10,000 pounds as a wedding gift to Hughie and Laura. Soon their marriage was solemnised in which Trevor became the best-man and Baron made a speech at the wedding breakfast. Alan remarked, ‘Millionaire models are rare enough but model millionaires are rarer still.’ 

 

 

 

Title Analysis of the Lesson The Model Millionaire

The title is suitable for the story as the millionaire model was actually a model millionaire. Baron Hausberg was the model millionaire, the model who was a millionaire. He was one of the richest men in Europe. He could buy all of London and had a house in every capital city. He ate his food in gold plates. As per the author, he could even stop Russia from going to war. 

Baron had commissioned Alan Trevor to paint a life-size picture of him dressed as a beggar. As a model he looked so wretched that Hughie felt pity for him. After Hughie had left, Baron made enquiries about Hughie. He learned from Alan that Hughie had financial difficulty. Baron decided to help Hughie overcome this difficulty. He sent a wedding present of 10,000 pounds for Hughie and Laura. 

The rich people in Victorian times rarely helped the poor. Baron showed his generosity by helping a poor man in his hour of need. Hence, the millionaire model acted as a model millionaire. 

 

 

 

Background Setting of the Story The Model Millionaire

The story is set in London, England during the Victorian period. Although the year is not specifically stated, it can be assumed that the story is being told in the past based on the currency used i.e. guineas. The setting is important because it impacts the impending marriage between Hughie and Laura. Social status and wealth often indicate who one could marry, and in this story, Laura’s father didn’t want Hughie to marry Laura until and unless he had 10,000 pounds in his name. 

 

 

 

Characters in  the Lesson The Model Millionaire

1. Hughie Erskine
Hughie Erskine was a young man, who was good-looking with crisp brown hair and grey eyes. He was charming, he was not only popular among men but also among women. But intellectually we must admit he was not of much importance.

He was simply unable to make money. He survived on an allowance of two hundred pounds a year given by an old aunt. His father had left him with an inheritance of a cavalry sword and History of the Peninsular War in fifteen volumes. In order to earn money he had tried the stock exchange, worked under a tea merchant and sold dry sherry. Thus, he was a delightful, ineffectual young man with a perfect profile and no profession. He was in love with a girl named Laura Merton, daughter of a retired Colonel. The Colonel liked Hughie but was against the engagement. He would allow them to get married only if Hughie had ten thousand pounds of his own. This made Hughie sad. Though he was unable to marry Laura because of the condition put up by her father, both he and Laura were madly in love. He would visit Laura every day. The rest of the time he would tire out his friends talking about Laura. One day on his way to Laura’s place he dropped in to see his friend Alan Trevor who was an artist and an excellent painter. Trevor liked Hughie for his good looks, so he had given him the permanent entry to his studio.

Here Hughie saw Trevor finishing the portrait of a beggar. The model for the painting was a poor piteous beggar. The state of the beggar moved Hughie to dig in his pockets and give the beggar the largest denomination coin he had. Hughie left the studio. Laura scolded him for his extravagance. Later that evening he met Trevor who claimed to have finished and framed his painting. Trevor told Hughie that the model was interested in the latter and had made enquiries about him and Laura. Hughie was afraid that the beggar had seen that he had a soft corner for the beggar so he would harass him for money. Hughie became red and angry. But the next moment he felt shocked and ashamed when Trevor told him that the beggar was actually Baron Hausberg, a very rich man who had commissioned Trevor to paint him as a beggar. Hughie confessed to giving the richest man, ‘a sovereign’. Alan had a hearty laugh and the embarrassed Hughie rushed home. The next morning he had a visitor, a messenger from Baron Hausberg. Baron had sent Hughie 10,000 pounds as a wedding gift. Hughie was able to finally marry Laura and Trevor was the best-man in the wedding and Baron made a speech at their wedding breakfast.

2. Alan Trevor
Alan Trevor was a painter and also an artist. He has been described as a “strange rough fellow, with a freckled face and a red ragged beard” whose art is well received by critics and patrons. He believed that beautiful people should rule the world. He liked beauty and intellect. But Alan’s definition of beauty even included someone wearing rags. Alan was a hard worker in comparison with Hughie’s more relaxed nature. He was totally amused by Hughie’s act of giving a sovereign to the beggar. When Baron dressed as an ugly beggar enquired about Hughie, Alan gave him information about Hughie’s poverty and his inability to marry Laura.
Later, Alan served as Hughie’s best-man at the wedding.

3. Baron Hausberg
Baron Hausberg was one of the wealthiest men in Europe but he was an odd fellow. He had commissioned Trevor, a master artist, to paint him as a beggar rather than the grand man he was.
Hughie felt sorry on seeing Baron’s piteous condition that he gave him a sovereign-almost all the money he had. Baron was attracted to the kindness Hughie showed and when he came to know about Hughie and Laura, he decided to help them by giving Hughie 10,000 pounds as a wedding gift.

4. Laura Merton
Laura Merton is Hughie’s love interest. She adored Hughie as well. Laura is apparently quite good-looking herself. Her protective father, Colonel Merton didn’t allow her and Hughie to marry unless he had 10,000 pounds.

5. Colonel Merton
Colonel Merton is a minor but an important character in the story. He is the father of Hughie’s love interest, Laura. He had served in the army and had been posted to India. He lost his temper frequently and his digestion was disturbed. He was not very rich either. He wanted a better life for his daughter, hence he put the condition of Hughie having ten thousand pounds before getting engaged. He liked Hughie but he knew that Hughie was neither smart nor rich.

 

 

 

Narration Style of The Model Millionaire

The story is a third person narrative by an omnipresent narrator. The perspective of the narrator shifts to make the story interesting. 

At times the narrator states his point of view, as “It is better to have a permanent income than to be fascinating”. At others, the narrator appears to address his readers, as “Poor Hughie, Intellectually we must admit, he was not of much importance.”

 

 

 

Writing Styles used in The Model Millionaire


Structure-
Oscar Wilde uses short sentences to make the story humorous and interesting.

Contrast –
The author has used contrast of two extremes to make the narration interesting. For example-

  • “On the Stock Exchange Hughie was a butterfly among bulls and bears.”
  • “Hughie had a perfect profile and no profession.” 

Hyperbole
This involves an exaggeration of an idea for the sake of emphasis. An example of Hyperbole in this story-
“Laura adored him, and he was ready to kiss her shoe-strings”

Irony- The story has a situational irony as the outcome is the opposite or completely different from what was expected. In the story, Hughie thought of the model as a poor man and gave him the only sovereign he had. But the model turned out to be the richest man in Europe.

 

 

 

Word Meanings The Model Millionaire

 

 

 

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