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|Crawford vs Darcy, manners vs morals
Written by Nikki N
(9/23/2013 11:31 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Crawford vs Darcy, penned by Ramya
Of course Darcy is totally superior to Crawford -- even pre-reform Darcy. Darcy never needed to reform "in essentials", he had never been "unprincipled or unjust", and never had "immoral or irreligious" habits. He had always been responsible, a good brother, a good master, a good landlord. His main need for reform was only in his attitude towards people slightly lower than himself, those who were too high for his charity but whom he regarded as too low to be his equals, and his greatest need for reform was to improve his manners.
Crawford did not need to improve his manners, which were already good (even too good and charming perhaps -- Wickham-like). He needed much more serious reform -- he needed to reform "in essentials", to learn to be principled, moral and religious, to be a responsible brother and landlord. (Although in fairness to Crawford, his offer to convey Fanny back to Mansfield was not improper if his sister also travelled with them, he would be escorting his sister and her friend. Fanny was tempted to accept the offer, but was disgusted with Mary's letter where Mary expressed the hope that the sick Tom might die so that Edmund could become Sir Edmund).
After Darcy reformed, he would never become all friendly good humour like Bingley or Mr Weston in Emma. He would become more like Mr Knightley, and Mr Knightley's character is as superior or "higher" to Mr Weston as Darcy's is to Bingley although both Mr Weston and Bingley are also among the good characters. As Emma reflected on Mr Weston's too friendly nature in chap 38 --
Crawford, even if he had reformed, would never rise to the level of Darcy or Mr Knightley, but would have come nearer the level of Bingley and Mr Weston. That is why I strongly disagree with the comparison of the intercourse between Darcy with the Gardiners, and Crawford with the Prices as an example of Darcy's goodness in truly accepting Eliz's low relations, and Crawford as holding aloof from Fanny's low relations. Considering how very superior the Gardiners were, and how very vulgar the Prices were, I find it hard to imagine Darcy being as charming to the Prices as Crawford was to them! Darcy merely managed to treat the Phillipses with "forbearance" towards the end, and the Phillipses were superior to the Prices. Eliz understood his discomfort and did all she could to shield him.
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