Quick Index Board Index Home FAQ Site Map
|Edmund's reaction to Mary's smutty joke.
Written by Rachel G
(9/18/2010 5:34 p.m.)
At the dinner party in ch.6 Mary puts her foot in it a couple of times. First, when she is speaking of the inconvenience of the Admiral's improvements at the cottage in Twickenham, she refers to him ironically as "not the first favourite in the world" and "my honoured uncle". Here's Edmund's reaction:
Edmund was sorry to hear Miss Crawford, whom he was much disposed to admire, speak so freely of her uncle. It did not suit his sense of propriety, and he was silenced...."
A little later Mary goofs again:
“Do you know anything of my cousin’s captain?” said Edmund; “Captain Marshall? You have a large acquaintance in the navy, I conclude?”
It is clear that Mary did mean to make a smutty joke - by disclaiming it as a pun she effectively draws attention to it.
Then in ch 7 we have Edmund and Fanny criticising Mary:
"But was there nothing in her conversation that struck you, Fanny, as not quite right?”
"..... And what right had she to suppose that you would not write long letters when you were absent?”
The whole of Fanny and Edmund's criticism is directed at the impropriety of Mary expressing even oblique criticism of the Admiral, presumably because she ought to respect his role as her guardian/parent no matter how unpleasant his behaviour is.
My instinctive reaction is that the pun is a much greater impropriety than disrespecting the Admiral. I'm not especially sensitive to bad language or dirty jokes, but even today I think that if a young woman uttered a line like that pun at a dinner party attended by respectable people of mature years it would be an absolute conversation stopper. Priorities were presumably different in 1813.
What I really find baffling is Edmund's reaction. I could understand that Edmund might not feel equal to discussing Mary's coarse pun with Fanny, but he actually states that there is nothing coarse about her! Oh really???
I don't get it. Are his hormones afflicting him with selective memory, or what?
(Sorry to quote the text at such length - I tried to explain myself without doing so but that just made the post even longer than it is now.)
Groupread is maintained by Myretta with WebBBS 3.21.