Monday, February 3, 2014

'and Elinor then was at liberty to think and be wretched'

END OF VOL I. Boy that was a bit of a slog, but it starts ramping up near the end. Willoughby leaves! Col Brandon leaves! Edward leaves! The men are the ones keeping all the secrets. Marianne won't lie to save her life, and Elinor tries to be as just as she can without being uncivil.

Lucy Steele is a great villain, a real chocolate-covered spider -- she'd be cozily at home in the Age of Smarm. Her attempted manipulation of poor Elinor is maddening ("'Sometimes,' continued Lucy, after wiping her eyes, 'I think whether it would not be better for us both to break off the matter entirely.' As she said this, she looked directly at her companion" YOU BITCH -- ahem).

I always identified with Marianne (okay I am Marianne, that's obvious) but Elinor seems so much more sympathetic to me now, and not at all a perfect authorial self-insert. It's nearly impossible not to think that Marianne is what Jane was, or tried her best to reject, and Elinor was what she wanted to be, altho of course there's absolutely no evidence for that whatsoever.

More amusing baby-hating, or rather hatred of the way women are expected to be mindless about babies:

Fortunately for those who pay their court through such foibles, a fond mother, though, in pursuit of praise for her children, the most rapacious of human beings, is likewise the most credulous; her demands are exorbitant; but she will swallow any thing; and the excessive affection and endurance of the Miss Steeles towards her offspring were viewed therefore by Lady Middleton without the smallest surprise or distrust. She saw with maternal complacency all the impertinent encroachments and mischievous tricks to which her cousins submitted. She saw their sashes untied, their hair pulled about their ears, their work-bags searched, and their knives and scissors stolen away, and felt no doubt of its being a reciprocal enjoyment. It suggested no other surprise than that Elinor and Marianne should sit so composedly by, without claiming a share in what was passing.