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Written by Deborah Y
(4/18/2006 10:54 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Er...I always thought he was being rather generous..., penned by Kelley B
But I do find Henry's unwavering confidence in the crime-detection powers of Christian, law-abiding England to be a bit unconvincing: is he really suggesting that no one has ever gotten away with murder? This at a time when there wasn't even a professional, investigatory police force?
The problem with Catherine's theory about the General, it seems to me, is rather different from what Henry suggests. The weakness in her theory is that she's jumped to conclusions based on too little evidence -- assuming, for instance, that since Eleanor wasn't at her mother's deathbed, none of the children were. But Henry argues that it's inherently implausible to suggest that anyone in his father's position could be a murderer, and I don't think there actually is such a high degree of implausibility to Catherine's theory that an overbearing patriarch like the General might be capable of violence against his wife. A feminist-critical reading of Henry's speech might see it as, essentially, his defense of the wisdom and effectiveness of patriarchy (the church, the law, the government) in the face of female skepticism about how beneficial this system really is for women. The question, for me, is to what extent -- if any -- JA intended or would have agreed with this reading of Henry's speech. And to address that question, it seems to me, we have to talk about the ending of the book -- which we can't do for a few more days. . .
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