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|Eleanor as a good friend and daughter (focus)
Written by Pennie
(4/27/2006 11:48 p.m.)
Friendship with Catherine:
We have discussed that Eleanor is lonely and reserved, but she shows herself to be a true friend to Catherine. We are presented with a glaring example of What Kind Of Friend Not To Be when Isabella doesn't write to Catherine, and then sends her that horrible letter. Eleanor on the other hand takes great pleasure in Catherine's company. When Catherine politely says she should leave, rather than trying to manipulate her into staying, Eleanor politely says: 'hoped for the pleasure of her company for a much longer time - had been misled (perhaps by her wishes) to suppose that a much longer visit had been promised' etc. She heartily approves of a marriage between Catherine and her brother.
Half an hour passes between the General arriving home and Eleanor speaking to Catherine, so I imagine that she must have been trying very hard to persuade him to let Catherine stay for longer. For the rest of Catherine's time at Northanger, Eleanor tries to keep her wits about her, and be useful to Catherine.
As a Daughter:
Eleanor is treated poorly by her father, yet she gives him hours of companionship, utility, and patient endurance. In fact, these factors become unimportant to him when she marries a Viscount. Poor Eleanor, to only be valued when you make a good marriage!
She doesn't appear to have a lot of options. I imagine that she could probably spend more time at Henry's parsonage if she so chose, but perhaps she couldn't really, or the General couldn't spare her. I always cry over the passage describing her marriage, and being able to leave, especially is an event which I expect to give general satisfaction among all her acquaintance.
I'm glad she was married happily, but opn closer inspection, I'm at a bit of a stump over what to make of her marriage. JA pokes fun at the fact that this marriage is a patched on thing, and assures us that it is a happy marriage. I'm inclined to believe this, but with only a brief paragraph, who can say? In a previous thread other readers suggested that perhaps if the novel had been developed more we would have read more about Eleanor and her future husband.
I am also confused at the line I know no one more entitled, by unpretending merit, or better prepared by habitual suffering, to receive and enjoy felicity. This ties in with my discussion in the thread on parody where I discuss that good things happen to those who do not dramatise things. Eleanor does not dramatise her father's treatment of her, and good things happen to her. Yet I don't like this reading as it means that Eleanor must put up with her father, unable to stand up for herself.
This issue ties in with the last line of the work:
It is a parody and so JA is prbably being a bit silly here. On the serious side, in Catherine and Henry's case, parental tyranny works out well, as their knowledge of each other is improved. On the other hand they do practice filial disobedience, and end up happy relatively quickly. Eleanor on the other hand puts up with parental tyranny, and is not disobedient. She must put up with her father's behaviour, and waits possibly a few years for the man of her choice (we aren't told how long). Perhaps if she'd practiced some 'filial disobedience' she would have been happier sooner. In this case, JA is recommending both parental tyranny and filial disobedience.
But then this is at odds with my discussion earlier in the parody thread about not adding more drama than there already is to your everyday life. Help! I'm confused! NA is a far more complex work than I ever gave it credit for!
plus I've been sick for the past month, so I apologise if anything I said in this post hasn't made sense
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