|GR: Mr. Collins' proposal
Written by Cheryl
(10/20/2003 11:54 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, GR - Before and after a proposal of marriage, penned by Deborah Julia
I found the premise that a woman was at the height of her power and the center of attention during the courtship phase of the relationship very interesting, as it made me think of Mr. Collins, and so little makes me want to do that! ;-) But this premise puts his actions during his proposal to Elizabeth in an interesting light:
"I am not now to learn," replied Mr. Collins, with a formal wave of the hand, "that it is usual with young ladies to reject the addresses of the man whom they secretly mean to accept, when he first applies for their favour; and that sometimes the refusal is repeated a second or even a third time. ... I know it to be the established custom of your sex to reject a man on the first application, and perhaps you have even now said as much to encourage my suit as would be consistent with the true delicacy of the female character."
This all ties in very nicely with the notion that a woman knew she wielded the power during courtship, and did all she could to prolong it, and also the idea that a woman didn't confess her preference until she was engaged. Mr. Collins seems to "get" these rituals, but his error was in misjudging Elizabeth's conformity to them. While we groan at this proposal, given the prevailing customs of the day, was it that far off the mark? ;-)
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