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|Maria and Henry - what a pair!
Written by Rachel G
(9/26/2010 8:08 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, The Miss Bertramsí End Game, penned by Robbin
Maria has been taught by Mrs Norris to be selfish and vain, and her treatment of Mr Rushworth is just awful, IMO. She should not have got engaged to a man for whom she felt no affection or respect, and having done so she should not have treated him ungraciously; she certainly should not have started flirting with another man, no matter how charming. When she found herself so drawn to Henry she should either have kept away from him or ended the engagement - to do otherwise is dishonourable.
Being dumped by a man you are in love with is always painful so I feel a little sympathy for Maria when Henry leaves her, but only a very little. Her behaviour during her engagement and her reasoning when she insists on going ahead with the marriage do not make me confident that she has any intention of making an effort to make the marriage work. Frankly I don't much care if she's miserable. But poor Mr Rushworth...!
As for Henry, I think he's a louse. He is as vain and selfish as Maria, but at least her feelings for him were genuine. To me there's something quite chilling about his detachment during his sustained campaign of flirtation with both sisters and his seduction of Maria. The way he leads her to believe that he truly wants her then blithely walks out on her is utterly callous.
I can't make out why he prefers Maria initially. Is it because she's the prettier sister, or because the is already engaged so he's less likely to be trapped into marriage? Maybe he thinks that because she has engaged herself to a man she evidently does not care for, that she is somehow 'fair game' or deserves no respect. That can't be the whole story though, because he's just as callous and disrespectful towards Julia.
Most of all what bothers me about Henry is his lack of emotional engagement and his total lack of concern for women's feelings. This strikes me as seriously warped.
(Rant over - thanks for reading.)
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