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|Laughing at MP
Written by Tori Marie
(9/16/2010 1:27 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Not entirely., penned by Julie P.
I agree with you that there is much humor to be found in MP, and also share your experience of not seeing it at all on the first read. When I was in my early twenties and picked the book up for the first time, I probably looked at the spine a few times to see if it really was by the same woman who wrote P&P. ;-) But for many years--and certainly now, at age 48--I see so much that makes me LOL.
However, there is also much in this book that makes me want to cry. So far we have seen a 10-year-old girl be taken from her family to live with strangers--though family--in an environment that leaves her truly awestruck and feeling small. We see parents who do not care enough about their own children to really know them, but who take on the charge of another very sensitive young soul. We see a meddling woman whose interference cements and even increases the gulf between that one sensitive child and the closest thing she has to peers in that house. Yes, all of this is dreary. The trick is to let go of that dreariness when you see the humor and to give in to it. It's like finding a cause for laughter at a funeral. It doesn't lessen the sobriety of the occasion, but it reminds you that life still has its share of humor.
The thing is, Austen's gift is for making us see and appreciate the follies and foibles of human nature. In MP, I think she focuses more on some of the darker, drearier aspects of humanity--without, of course, going into darkest evil--and so that is what many of us react to upon first reading the book.
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