Shoot. I thought I had scheduled this for last Friday, but, I guess I wasn’t paying enough attention to which date I had selected. I’m sorry to the few people who read my blog. At least this blog post is slightly longer than average?
- Edward Ferrars. Fanny’s brother and Elinor’s love interest. He “was not handsome, and his manners required intimacy to make them pleasing. He was too diffident to do justice to himself; but when his natural shyness was overcome, his behaviour gave every indication of an open, affectionate heart. His understanding was good, and his education had given it solid improvement.”
I very much enjoy how Austen gives us a full picture of her characters. As of yet, however, he has done little in the story. But, even with the little interaction we get between them, I want Edward and Elinor to get together – even if Marianne finds him lacking in passion.
“But it would have broke MY heart, had I loved him, to hear him read with so little sensibility. Mama, the more I know of the world, the more am I convinced that I shall never see a man whom I can really love. I require so much! He must have all Edward’s virtues, and his person and manners must ornament his goodness with every possible charm.”
Marianne elicits a profession of love from Elinor in regards to Edward.
As a reader, the lack of passion both Elinor and Edward show in regards to each other is a bit boring, even as they read as perfectly compatible to each other. I want them to be perfectly happy together in domestic bliss, but, reading about them is a bit dull. Elinor tries to tell Marianne that Edward is far from boring once you really get to know him, with perfectly suitable tastes in art and music, but, Marianne doesn’t buy it, even as she says she’d be perfectly happy to see her sister and Edward together.
I thought I’d be sympathizing more with Elinor, but in this chapter I can completely see Marianne’s point of view. I understand her wishing for a man with a bit of spice, a bit more excitement about him, even though rationally I’d see someone like Edward as the much better option for a husband. I’m… surprised with myself. But more than anything I just want Elinor to be happy.
Near the end of the chapter their mother receives a letter from one of her relatives offering a cottage for them to live in instead of continuing to live with John and Fanny, who really don’t care for them. Their mother accepts after consulting her daughters.
They move to Barton Cottage. It’s a very short chapter. Fanny is awful. Edward is sad to see them go.
So, random thought, generally you want to avoid characters that are caricatures. I believe that’s as true 200 years ago as it is today. But Fanny is literally described as a caricature when she’s introduced – and yet she doesn’t read as an unrealistic character. Probably because she’s internally consistent and there actually are people as selfish as her in the real world…
- John Middleton. Mrs. Dashwood’s cousin. Genuinely kind.
- Lady Middleton. John’s wife. Not the best conversationalist. Tends to talk about her kids a lot. Which, for your information, is totally understandable.
“As a house, Barton Cottage, though small, was comfortable and compact; but as a cottage it was defective, for the building was regular, the roof was tiled, the window shutters were not painted green, nor were the walls covered with honeysuckles.”
The house is fine, but the countryside is lovely. I love how the Dashwoods make the best of the situation. That’s a good lesson there about being content with the things you can’t change. Sometimes that lesson can be abused by the people who have the ability to change others’ circumstances and don’t, like Fanny, but as a general rule for your own well-being it’s good to choose to be content.
- Mrs. Jennings. “Mrs. Jennings, Lady Middleton’s mother, was a good-humoured, merry, fat, elderly woman, who talked a great deal, seemed very happy, and rather vulgar.”
This chapter introduces Mrs. Jennings and gives more characterization for the Middletons. They’re dull, but good people.
“…For however dissimilar in temper and outward behaviour, they strongly resembled each other in that total want of talent and taste which confined their employments, unconnected with such as society produced, within a very narrow compass. Sir John was a sportsman, Lady Middleton a mother. He hunted and shot, and she humoured her children; and these were their only resources.”
“It must be so. She was perfectly convinced of it. It would be an excellent match, for HE was rich, and SHE was handsome. Mrs. Jennings had been anxious to see Colonel Brandon well married, ever since her connection with Sir John first brought him to her knowledge; and she was always anxious to get a good husband for every pretty girl.”
I’m sure the age difference of 17 and around about 35 seems negligible to one of a sufficiently advanced age like Mrs. Jennings, but, I am 26 years old. 17 is much too young, whereas 35- I might date someone that old, but, I would definitely be questioning if I should. A nine years difference is nothing to take lightly. It weirds me out sometimes when I consider how old my sister once seemed compared to me, and then thinking about how my boyfriend is three years older than me and a whole two months older than my big sister. That’s only three years! Marianne is right to point out that Colonel Brandon is more her mother’s peer than hers. And, her mother is single. Why isn’t Mrs. Jennings trying to match her and Colonel Brandon together? Why Marianne?
Not everything Marianne says I agree with, though. But also, this just proves my point that Marianne is super young and has absolutely no business ever eventually marrying Colonel Brandon.
“A woman of seven and twenty,” said Marianne, after pausing a moment, “can never hope to feel or inspire affection again, and if her home be uncomfortable, or her fortune small, I can suppose that she might bring herself to submit to the offices of a nurse, for the sake of the provision and security of a wife. In his marrying such a woman therefore there would be nothing unsuitable. It would be a compact of convenience, and the world would be satisfied. In my eyes it would be no marriage at all, but that would be nothing. To me it would seem only a commercial exchange, in which each wished to be benefited at the expense of the other.”
“It would be impossible, I know,” replied Elinor, “to convince you that a woman of seven and twenty could feel for a man of thirty-five anything near enough to love, to make him a desirable companion to her. But I must object to your dooming Colonel Brandon and his wife to the constant confinement of a sick chamber, merely because he chanced to complain yesterday (a very cold damp day) of a slight rheumatic feel in one of his shoulders.”
I have nothing to add to this passage. I just wanted to highlight the absurdity of Marianne’s notions. She’s a literal child. I don’t care how much or how little growing she does in this book, a child should not marry Colonel Brandon.