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|Sir Thomas – No stranger to fault
Written by Robbin
(9/27/2010 5:27 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Sir Thomas, penned by Bridget D
I do not mean to suggest Sir Thomas is a perfect man or parent. His demeanor is off-putting and inspires no close confidence in his children. I feel he was too willing to believe in Maria’s professed joy in Rushworth simply for the sake of the connection. I think his value for wealth and consequence overpowered his natural instinct and better feeling Maria’s ‘happiness must not be sacrificed to it’ (21). Sir Thomas ought to have seen and stopped the terrible ill-usage Fanny has suffered primarily at Mrs. Norris’ hands in her zeal to enforce the distinction between Fanny and her cousins. Sir Thomas like Edmund (or visa-versa perhaps) is apt to see good in people and I feel never suspected Mrs. Norris to be the poster-girl for all he did not want his daughters to be or the tyrant she has been to Fanny. I am not saying Sir Thomas should not have been more observant but that his heart was in the right place.
That Sir Thomas has ‘never seemed the friend of their pleasures’ (3) appears to be the complaint of Tom as well as the Miss Bertrams but to me it is a shallow reason for not loving or respecting a parent. There is no evidence they have suffered any oppression or real deprivations because their father possesses a stern demeanor, stuffy ideas of decorum and desires a quite family circle to bustle and frivolity. Their true problems are incredible selfishness and they feel injury under their father’s care due to the want of their own characters. They seem only capable of rote adherence to duty because they lack the ‘higher species of self–command, that just consideration of others, that knowledge of… [their] own heart, that principle of right’ (9) which makes duty bearable if not pleasant. If they were less selfish and could see beyond their own concerns then I feel they could perhaps value their father as they ought.
Fanny’s relief, and her consciousness of it, were quite equal to her cousins’; but a more tender nature suggested that her feelings were ungrateful, and she really grieved because she could not grieve. “Sir Thomas, who had done so much for her and her brothers, and who was gone perhaps never to return! that she should see him go without a tear! it was a shameful insensibility.” (3)
Of course Sir Thomas is faulty yet again because these better ideals do not seem to have ‘formed any essential part’ (9) of his daughters’ education or enough of Tom’s to successfully combat ‘all the liberal dispositions of an eldest son’ (2). However I do not feel their faults are the sole responsibility of their father’s mistakes. Edmund is of the same parenting and environment and is all that his father could desire and illustrates Maria, Julia and Tom have personal responsibility for their choices. Despite his faults Fanny who has suffered more than anyone still appreciated her uncle’s position and goodness enough to properly consider his situation when she refused to act and even when she did not she had the sense and feeling to know it—see above. Despite all his faults and mistakes I don’t feel Sir Thomas is completely undeserving of some regard or the respect and gratitude of his children. (:D)
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