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|No, not creep-mouse
Written by Robbin
(9/24/2010 9:52 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Fanny refuses to act. (Ch.15.), penned by Rachel G
Fanny… the tranquility of such evenings, her perfect security in such a tete–a–tete from any sound of unkindness, was unspeakably welcome to a mind which had seldom known a pause in its alarms or embarrassments. (4)
Fanny is shy and it seems to me suffers a justified aversion to being the center of attention. I think it would have been difficult to overcome her fear since it seems there is a long history of ill-usage and verbal abuse—see above. If Ch. 15 is an example of the alarms and embarrassments Fanny has had to weather then it is amazing she is able to standup to Tom at all. I think Fanny is courageous for not taking the easy way out by just submitting to Tom’s impenetrable haranguing.
“Fanny,” cried Tom Bertram, from the other table, where the conference was eagerly carrying on, and the conversation incessant, “we want your services” (15)
Tom did not so much ask Fanny as demand her service and in the same style that raised his “spleen more than anything” when Mrs. Norris’ asked him to play whist at the impromptu afternoon ball. Of course Fanny’s spleen remains unbruised but she must feel trapped and rightly so. She has not the defense of being the heir and able to dodge with tricks rather than refusing on principle. I daresay Fanny has far more right to Tom’s complaints about Mrs. Norris’ snaring tactics than he did:
“And to ask me in such a way too! without ceremony, before them all, so as to leave me no possibility of refusing. That is what I dislike most particularly. … to have the pretence of being asked, of being given a choice, and at the same time addressed in such a way as to oblige one to do the very thing, whatever it be!” (12)
Tom also said “when my aunt has got a fancy in her head, nothing can stop her” (12) and he proves to be no better. He ignores Fanny’s right to say no and embarrasses her by pointing out her shyness and fright. He continues to demand (x3) after she initially says no and is then joined by others equally pitiless, demanding and oppressive. Fanny is outnumbered four to one before the attack finally accumulates with Mrs. Norris’ merciless scold:
‘and it was not merely Tom, for the requisition was now backed by Maria, and Mr. Crawford, and Mr. Yates, with an urgency which differed from his but in being more gentle or more ceremonious, and which altogether was quite overpowering to Fanny; and before she could breathe after it, Mrs. Norris completed the whole….’ (15)
I think Fanny’s distress prior to Mrs. Norris’ scolding was justified. My thoughts are Fanny does not deserve the label of creep-mouse because she did not shrink into herself and try to scrabble out of the room unnoticed when Tom started the attack. Fanny deserves credit for courage for although she was forced to do it she did overcome fright, shyness and timidly enough to stand up to Tom under great duress—does that not count for anything? (:D)
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