Jane Austen (was: A whole lot of Re: that I snipped off)

Hallie O'Donovan hallieod at indigo.ie
Wed Jun 6 12:48:43 EDT 2001


Melissa:

>Hallie and Ven, duking it out in fine style:

Oh bug- Dam - Oh dear!  Is that what we're doing?  I am now bound to 
have the bush goddess appearing in my dreams telling me to be more 
ladylike!

I have snipped a lot of argufying (mine), attempting to pare this 
down to my real questions for you, Melissa.  (Chicken?  Who, me?)

[Mary in _Persuasion_]

>She's the younger sister who made good in
>her marriage, but deep down still feels inadequate as a person.  Notice how
>hard she tries to get people to recognize her status, as though she doesn't
>have any internal reserves of self-worth and needs the affirmation to be
>real.  I feel sorry for her because it seems like such a waste of a
>basically nice person, someone who would be admirable if she wasn't so
>desperate.

See, I find this puzzling.  I mean, of course you're right, I 
probably *should* feel sorry for her (just as I do feel sorry for Ivy 
and Seb).  But criticism of snobbery is such a recurrent theme in JA 
- actually, off the top of my head, I think it's in every one of the 
novels, though obviously more strongly in some.  Thinking about the 
society JA was talking about, I'm not sure this type of snobbery 
would necessarily have been based on feelings of inadequacy.  Or why 
do you single out Mary's pushing her superior status as indicating 
feelings of inadequacy, versus Elizabeth and their father, Lady 
Catherine De B, Darcy (pre-reformation!), the Bingley sisters, Mrs. 
Ferris (?  it's been a while, Edward's mother in S&S) etc. etc?   The 
only one I think this might apply to is Mr. Collins, funnily enough, 
as he's one of the least sympathetic characters ever.  But when we 
were studying P&P recently, I noticed what I hadn't before, which was 
the little snibbet of info about his background.  Sad.

>Hallie says (and, BTW, you should be remembering _Beauty_ right now :)

Unkind!  Melissa, how could you?  (or don't you realise that I am 
haunted day and night by this memory?) :)

(snipped)

>And now, _Northanger Abbey_:

...nothing to disagree with, but I just wanted to add what I forgot 
to say before: another thing I LOVE in this book is the defense of 
the novel!

>Ven, thanks for elaborating on why you don't like Jane Austen.  I found it
>intriguing.

Seconded!

Hallie.





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