Eleanor presents a model for Catherine of a true friend. I am sure the quiet scene of Eleanor and Catherine meeting and engaged in small talk begins the theme of real friendship between women in NA.
When we do hear Eleanor's words, occasionally. To take your
quote, one can hear an echo of her feelings, so she is a real presence.
Perhaps she's a charecter we don't hear enough of in the story
- consider her lost love.
As Eleanor has already had the experience of a relationship, her advice to Catherine, like an older sister, could be invaluble.
We realize how isolated Eleanor is, and tyrannized by her father. She misses her mother very much. She needs a good companion. Henry thanks Catherine for accepting the invitation to the Abbey.
Yet whilst JA wanted us to see a real friendship developing between Eleanor & Catherine, often Eleanor disappears for a few chapters or remains a quiet presence.
Perhaps we don't see enough of the charecter of Eleanor.
JA develops the topic of converstion- books, the gothic, taste, history rather than focusing on the girls' relationship.
Of course, Catherine can benefit from such converse.
Actually, the most moving scene in NA is probably occurs between the two women. Eleanor is forced to usher Catherine from the house early morning. Thoughtfully, she remembers Catherine must be low on cash, and presses on her money. Without this money
Catherine could've been stranded somewhere instead of safely reaching home. Eleanor also pleads with Catherine to write to her. Now, it is Eleanor who desires their correspondence.
Likewise, when Catherine first heard the Tilneys were leaving, she'd hoped Miss Tilney might wish to correspond.
Although I feel Eleanor is not in the story enough, JA means to show there can be real, valuble friendship among women.
Appropriately, the book ends with Eleanor and Catherine as sisters.
Eleanor was her father's housekeeper, or at least supervisor so I imagine she didn't have much leisure time. She comments at one time she is 'mistress of the Abbey in name only'.
Eleanor's circumstances may tie in with the status of women. In JA's England, a husband or father had strong authority over his wife and children. Obediance was expected of daughters. Perhaps Eleanor's plight with an authoritian father was more typical than we realize in JA's England. Eleanor may have felt a
bond of filial duty--She has lost her mother so is reluctant to lose her father even if he sees her as a marriage pawn.
I agree, Eleanor does not dramatize her father's treatment of her. This highly intelligent, well educated woman with her life before her apparently accepts paternal tyranny.
Personally, I don't see how Eleanor can be happy until she leaves the Abbey.
If Eleanor had chosen to marry simply to leave the Abbey, I might feel concern too. Her mother had married unwisely and been unhappy. She will have no seperate legal status from her husband who will probably control her dowry.
However, while JA patches on the mention this is not a gentleman of new acquitance, but the suitor she was partial to before. His accession to title and fortune, now make him suddenly suitable to General Tilney. Perhaps that is JA's main joke. ;)
I agree JA is being rather light hearted here on her last line about parental tryranny and filial obediance.
Perhaps she means older children may consider filial disobdieance If there is parental tyranny.
It could be quite a curly issue.
NA is a parody. JA took the gothic structure and changed the details to make it a funny and realistic story. Yet it contends with many issues- ideas of taste, friendships, filial obediance,
the position of women, and different sorts of reading- of books, people and situations. Such issues form ongoing discussion.
As has already been mentioned, NA is still relevant today as part of an unfinished debate.
* Thanks for your posts Pennie. Hope you are feeling better soon. :)