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|Sir Thomas goes to the East Room (ch 32)
Written by BarbaraB
(10/5/2010 1:01 a.m.)
Definitely, I have some issues with Sir Thomas (maybe too many) but I feel, essentially that he is a decent man with the ability to render kindness and concern for his family though on the other hand he can levy such severity when things are not going the way he thinks they should that it can be mind-bending. Therefore, the respect that his children have for him stems from fear. This sort of respect, with fear as its foundation, does not stand on its own. When he is absent, it crumbles and falls by the wayside. While Sir Thomas has not inspired affection in his children, I do feel that he deserves the kind of respect that is due a parent who works hard, provides a good home, and leads a reasonably principled and moral life himself. I feel Sir Thomas mistakenly thinks these things are enough to produce the kind of children who will be responsible and principled also. He failed to provide an emotional connection, an important necessity in turning out children who can see and relate to him as a father instead of just someone who rules the household.
I think the berating that Sir Thomas gives Fanny is an example of why his children feel the way they do about him. When he came to Fanny's room I knew what was coming and dreaded reading on. It was even worse than I remembered. A grown man standing over Fanny, small and helpless, and being so sensitive a person made the words feel almost physical. I understand his frustration and confusion as he is not privy to Fanny's observations but he needn't have been so hurtful; he should have left it with his statement of, "We had better put an end to this most mortifying conference." Instead he goes over to the table where she is sitting and commences the length of an entire page of giving Fanny a dressing down. The sad irony is he has no idea she has chosen to spare his feelings by protecting his unworthy daughters. It is a difficult scene to witness.
I have to give Sir Thomas credit for immediately noticing the lack of a fire. Edmond has been there at least three times, even mentioned the cold, but never thought to inquire about the fact that there has never been a fire in the room. Also, her uncle does relent on making her go down to see Henry immediately, returns with a more calm, conciliatory manner, for the time being anyway, and has determined to keep everything concerning the proposal from the aunts.
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