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|value as relative
Written by Ivonne
(4/4/2008 9:25 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Thanks for explaining - one more question, penned by Tracy W
I agree, Tracy, that Mr. Weston genuinely cared for Miss Taylor before marrying her, and that the Wodehouses, genuinely esteeming her as virtually one of the family, were sad to lose her. As you mention, genuine affection is a common element of the relationships between Austen heroes and heroines, and sometimes less principal characters, such as the Westons, as well.
But does this obviate Laraine's point? I understood her as pointing out that, despite all this, Austen subtly directs the attention to the powerful societal forces in play that made it difficult (at the very least) to divorce financial concerns from personal matters, even in situations that were as firmly based in affection as either Miss Taylor's relationship to the Wodehouses or her marriage to Mr. Weston.
If anything, the fact that economic issues rear their head even in such circumstances highlights their predominance. Austen gives us no reason to assume that, however genuine and loving Miss Taylor's relationship with the Wodehouses was, she was not still paid a salary until she married. Wholly apart from personal concerns, "trading up" from salaried employee (however beloved) to mistress of Randalls had definite economic ramifications that the community would recognize and acknowledge, not the least Mr. Weston, who could not fail to know that he was providing this advantage to the woman he loved.
Mr. Knightley repeatedly comments on this dynamic in discussing the Wodehouses' loss of Miss Taylor early in the novel:
"Poor Mr. and Miss Woodhouse, if you please; but I cannot possibly say `poor Miss Taylor.' I have a great regard for you and Emma; but when it comes to the question of dependence or independence!At any rate, it must be better to have only one to please than two."
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