Written by Myretta
(10/26/2003 11:30 a.m.)
It's difficult to relate Chapter Three to Jane Austen's characters. In general, her mothers have already given birth to and raised their children. And JA is interested in courtship, not the aftermath of marriage.
I thought I was onto something when I noticed the differences between the number of children the more affluent of JA's characters and the less affluent gentility. The Darcys have only two children, Lady Catherine one, the Woodhouse's two and the Elliots, three where the Bennets, the Lucases. the Prices and the Morelands have what we would consider really large families. However, I then noticed that all of the the former had one deceased parent, so I may not be able to make a case for this. Do you think there's one to be made?
The link I could make was with Jane Austen's family (itself of signifcant proportions - eight children). If I recall correctly, Mrs. Austen fostered Jane and Cassandra out to a wet nurse. I'm having trouble learning whether she did this with the boys, though. Does anyone have that information?
And why do you suppose she made that decision? Tomalin hints that she farmed them out until they were easier to manage. But were there other reasons we might glean from The Gentleman's Daughter? Was it a distinction of rank?
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