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Written by Tarn
(5/8/2008 11:17 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, I don't know which reading this has been for me, penned by Nancy Ann
Now, we know that Jane Fairfax thought her situation in life bound her more to the worlds law, as a person whose guardian had not obliged to provide for her, and who had taken pains to bring her up properly - Mrs Weston relates Jane's thoughts on the subject in ch48: " But after all the punishment that misconduct can bring, it is still not less misconduct. Pain is no expiation. I never can be blameless.".
We also have no reason to suppose that Jane Fairfax entered into the engagement for her own benefit (and some reason to suspect that she succumbed to pressure from Frank Churchill) and we have no reason to suppose that she relinquished the engagement from selfish motives either.
This little outburst of sympathy annoys me more than all that Emma said about Mr Dixon, because it seems to me that she is, in her determination to excuse Jane Fairfax's reprehensible behavior, actually making Jane Fairfax's behavior seem more reprehensible that it was, in order to make her own behavior towards Jane Fairfax seem less reprehensible than it really was.
When Emma returns to Hartfield in the next chapter, she has enough justice to be angry at herself, but not enough to be angry at herself only:
- This also seems to me to be willful self deception. Emma was never very close to Jane, and had been positively disrespectful of Jane's family very recently, and then, when she discovers that Jane is going to be leaving in a fortnight, if her health permits her to, Emma goes all out to get her well and on her way!
We know what benevolent motives guided Emma, but Jane Fairfax has no way of knowing Emma's thoughts, and every reason to be disgusted with Miss Woodhouse's self serving 'charity', given her recent behavior towards Miss Bates. I think also, the arrowroot is the first time Miss Woodhouse's charity has not been accepted with heartwarming gratitude - the first time her charity has been spurned by its recipient as unnecessary and unwanted.
Bestowing jealous feelings on Miss Fairfax, seems to me to be a self defense mechanism, a projection of Emma's own feelings; to prevent Emma feeling she had been so great a fool, so presumptuous, so officious and interfering, as she had been. It shows Emma is not a Fanny Price, not able to disengage her mind from those selfish and angry feelings, even as much as she attempts to.
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