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|Henry's Portsmouth visit
Written by Ramya
(10/16/2010 11:42 a.m.)
He has started to make some changes in his life. Fanny thinks she has improved greatly, although the narrator informs us that it is partly the effect of contrast... Is Fanny's heart slowly softening towards Henry?
she thought him altogether improved since she had seen him; he was much more gentle, obliging, and attentive to other people’s feelings than he had ever been at Mansfield; she had never seen him so agreeable—so near being agreeable; his behavior to her father could not offend, and there was something particularly kind and proper in the notice he took of Susan. He was decidedly improved. Chap. 41
For seemingly the first time in his life, Henry has realized that he can do some good if he started to use his authority as a Landowner.
It had been real business, relative to the renewal of a lease in which the welfare of a large and—he believed— industrious family was at stake. ... He had gone, had done even more good than he had foreseen, had been useful to more than his first plan had comprehended, and was now able to congratulate himself upon it, and to feel that in performing a duty, he had secured agreeable recollections for his own mind. He had introduced himself to some tenants whom he had never seen before; he had begun making acquaintance with cottages whose very existence, though on his own estate, had been hitherto unknown to him. Chap. 41
Does this mean, he is actually resolved to "make a change" in his life? Will this last? Will he, if he married Fanny, continue on this path?
I must confess that every time I read about his Portsmouth visit, I find myself wishing that Henry's improvement would be lasting. As a reader, I, along with Fanny, am starting to feel his influence at last. But then, even if the miraculous happened, I am reminded of the London crowd the Crawfords associate with, and how little comfortable Fanny would be among that set. I can't predict marital bliss in a union between Henry and Fanny.
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