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|Sir Thomas - Merit stars & Musings.
Written by Rachel G
(10/1/2010 4:50 p.m.)
His kindness to Maria when he offers to get her out of her engagement, and his agitated feelings and concern for her happiness when she marries.
He challenges Mrs Norris over her poor judgement regarding the play.
He over-rules Mrs Norris' objections and insists that Fanny must have the carriage to go to dine at the parsonage.
I am ecstatic to see some real opposition to Mrs Norris. Could her malignant influence be on the wane at last?
Another instance of Sir Thomas neutralising Mrs N occurs when William arrives:
"....the first minutes of exquisite feeling had no interruption and no witnesses, unless the servants chiefly intent upon opening the proper doors could be called such. This was exactly what Sir Thomas and Edmund had been separately conniving at, as each proved to the other by the sympathetic alacrity with which they both advised Mrs. Norris’s continuing where she was, instead of rushing out into the hall as soon as the noises of the arrival reached them."
I give Sir Thomas five gold stars for that one (Edmund can have some too). Of course I an delighted to see Mrs Norris thwarted again, but the extra points are awarded for a quite different reason.
It isn't all good news about Sir Thomas of course. The importance he attaches to social status and social credit appear to be unchanged, and his insistence on a quiet and restrained atmosphere at home is a frustrating and potentially unfortunate influence on his children.
Then there is the incident when he burns every copy of "Lovers' Vows". My hackles always rise at this. Book-burning is such loaded symbolic act - it offends my 21st century notions of intellectual freedom. But MP is set in another time and place, so I'm not sure what, if anything, JA intended by having Sir Thomas burn the books.
While I'm on the subject of Sir Thomas' response to the play I noticed the following:
"Sir Thomas received Mr. Yates with all the appearance of cordiality which was due to his own character, but was really as far from pleased with the necessity of the acquaintance as with the manner of its commencement. Mr. Yates’s family and connexions were sufficiently known to him to render his introduction as the “particular friend,” another of the hundred particular friends of his son, exceedingly unwelcome."
We have noticed several elements of potential political satire in MP, and an earlier post of mine (Theatricals: Impropriety & more Whiggery") looked at the connection between the fashion for home theatricals and the Whig party. Now I'm wondering whether the Yates family and Lord Ravenshaw are Whigs and this is why Sir Thomas is so particularly disapproving of Mr Yates.
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