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|Learning to respect pheasants
Written by Mia I.
(9/28/2010 5:40 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Sir Thomas – No stranger to fault, penned by Robbin
I agree that Sir Thomas is not completely undeserving of respect, because he is trying to do right.
Now that Sir Thomas is back, we see his softer side, but perhaps being away from his family has softened him. Also, having to work for his money makes him appreciate Rushworth more ;-)
Going back to the beginning, Sir Thomas sees himself as a provider and protector, and having absolute power over them. He treats his wife as another child, and Mrs. Norris is the only one with seemingly adult intellect. His lack of communication with his children could have been alleviated if they had other adult role models. Without those, they have no example of how to behave. They could also have benefited from reading and exchanging ideas with each other, which is how Edmund and Fanny grow intellectually and morally. But the others just reenforce each other's selfishness and intellectual languor.
In the intervening years Sir Thomas is occupied with money worries, so he is no longer a provider he thought himself to be ;-). Here he has a bit of an excuse for not being observant.
Before his travel, Sir Thomas does regret leaving them at the most interesting time, when their minds are formed. He thinks Mrs. Norris is providing guidance, and this is where he is at great intellectual fault, for knowing her for so many years, and not realizing her lack of morals. Do you think he is to blame there for not observing, or Mrs. Norris was so good at hiding her true self?
Certainly everybody seems to know what propriety is outwards, but very few question their own minds and hearts, and even worse, the greatest offenders see everybody else as callous as themselves. There is a great disparity between the professed and real opinions, and we see that as a recurring theme. So Sir Thomas is not unique in not being able to distinguish between the appearances and the essence.
I hope I am allowed to quote from two other JA novels:
" There certainly was some great mismanagement in the education of those two young men. One has got all the goodness, and the other all the appearance of it. "
"Good company requires only birth, education, and manners, and with regard to education is not very nice. "
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