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|James and the Thorpes
Written by BarbaraB
(4/12/2006 2:26 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Ch. 13: Does anyone else get angry?, penned by Maisy
Even though I have worked my way past James neglecting to advise his sister about riding around in open carriages with men, what still concerns me about James is the way he, not only allows the Thorpes to bully his sister, but the fact that he literally joins them! After much pleading, in vain: The three others still continued together, walking in a most uncomfortable manner to poor Catherine; sometimes not a word was said, sometimes she was again attacked with supplications or reproaches,...
A little further on: "This will not do," said Catherine; "I cannot submit to this. I must run after Miss Tilney directly and set her right." Isabella, however, caught hold of one hand; Thorpe the other; and remonstrances poured in from all three.
Then: "Let me go, Mr. Thorpe; Isabella do not hold me." This request IMHO means that they are holding her hands tight enough so that she can not easily release them. "I (Catherine) will never be tricked into it." And with these words she broke away and hurried off. I think the fact that she must 'break away' along with her request to be let is indicative of the fact that she must 'jerk' her hands to be free of the Thorpes. (Just my humble opinion.)
While restraint might be too strong a word, the Thorpes are definitely trying to prevent Catherine from leaving by taking ahold of her hands the way they do, one on either side of her. James is angry with Catherine even as this is happening. I feel personally that this goes beyond a boys-will-be-boys thing. The part where he is goo-goo-eyed, okay I can see that, but allowing this assault on his sister is a lack, or perhaps more accurately a lapse, of character on his part. True, while not as innocent and inexperienced as Catherine, he is still unworldly with much to learn, but he comes from the same family as Catherine, raised with the same principles of honesty and goodness. More too, he is older than his sister and has been out and about to a greater degree by now. Put simply, in my opinion he has chosen Isabella over family and principles.
Not only this, there were other options. Catherine offers one herself when she suggests John get one of his sisters. It would have been the perfect opportunity for James to take the pressure off Catherine and badger John instead to go get one of his sisters. If John could not have been persuaded, then James should have suggested some other activity that they could do without Catherine. (I'm not quite understanding why John could not have gone as a chaperone unless men were not allowed this job. Did I miss something, maybe John proclaiming he wouldn't be a chaperone? Sounds like something he would say.)
I cannot believe their parents would have approved of James forfeiting all responsiblity for his sister in this instance. They would in effect be siding with the Thorpes along with James and I find this unimaginable.
Nevertheless, I agree wholeheartedly with Reeba when she says it is a triumphant moment for Catherine, (though it is no thanks to James). It could and should have been a triumph for this sister and brother pair together and without, necessarily losing whatever relationship James feels he has with Isabella. I can remember something of the resolution but I can not entirely remember at this point if it will happen, but I do hope an apology will be forthcoming at some point further in the book. We are told that John is basically good with a sincere attachment for his sister. I can't say I've seen it so far but I do hope he sufficiently redeems himself.
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