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|Ch. 34: Henry reads
Written by Isabelle M
(10/14/2010 3:03 p.m.)
Henry reads, and not only can he convey every emotion at will; he can identify with any character in the play; and on top of that, he proudly admits that he doesn't even really care about the play... And here is Edmund thinking Fanny must appreciate this. Of course she enjoyed the performance. But with such an extraordinary performer as Henry, how is it possible to believe a word he says?
This chapter is IMO one of the most oppressive of the novel. Maybe it's just me - but I find Henry's attitude to Fanny repulsive. Here are a few examples, just for this chapter:
- Fanny starts saying something, then stops, and Henry tries to make her say more by dint of several minutes of supplication and waiting. Several minutes!
- Fanny shakes her head at something Henry says, and he immediately pounces on her again, entreating to know her meaning, drawing in a chair, and sitting down close by her, a thorough attack as Edmund sees it (!).
- Fanny tries to repulse Henry, and he "goes on, reurging the same questions".
- Fanny finally reproves him (she thinks) and Henry delighted to get her to speak at any rate, was determined to keep it up. And again, like in the proposal scene "the opportunity is too fair".
- Henry continues with "a course of rapid questions and reluctant answers" (he's grilling her!), until she is on the point of leaving her seat (to run out of the room) but is saved by Baddely's arrival.
I find Henry's persistence revolting. It shows a total disregard of her feelings and no respect for her at all. It's rude! This "attack" is on par with the looks that were "forced" on Fanny in a previous chapter: he is forcing her. It's oppressive because we see that he's leaving her no space at all (when he draws his chair). Fanny is trapped and she cannot get out... I really feel for poor Fanny.
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