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|In defense of Mr. Woodhouse, ...
Written by gianni
(3/15/2011 11:01 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Chapter 50 - Mr W, penned by Lisa Dalrymple
He lacks empathy -- the ability to feel what others feel. He feels afraid of cold drafts; others clearly must feel afraid of, and be harmed by, cold drafts. He feels afraid of rich foods; others clearly must feel afraid of, and be harmed by, rich foods. He feels afraid of London and sea air; others clearly must feel afraid of, and be harmed by, London and sea air.
He would be glad to visit the Bateses regularly if he were able; Emma clearly visits them regularly. He would attend the Coleses' party if he were able; Emma clearly will be glad to attend the Coleses' party.
And so forth. Again, I can see no glimmer of coercion, or even overt selfishness. I see a beloved but silly old man catered to by loving family and friends, maybe spoiled as badly as Emma has been, but not malicious or ungenerous.
Her ability to cater with good will to Mr. Woodhouse is, indeed, the one and only thing in the early chapters that makes me able to tolerate the selfish, arrogant monster that is his daughter. I'd be in a constant rage if I had to live with him; she's clearly some kind of saint.
...ducking behind the thickest wall I can find... :-)
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