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|According to the Forward in Modern Library:
Written by BarbaraB
(3/11/2009 7:12 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Confused about HT`s remarks on marriage..., penned by MarianneR
Henry's first lesson stresses the importance of language as a conventional approximation of reality, an artificial convenience which can express much as long as it is not confused with the reality itself. He draws a comparison between a dance and a marriage which demonstrates the metaphorical nature of language while defining the necessarily conventional basis of all social intercourse.
[Here the exchange between Henry and Catherine is inserted, beginning with Henry's "We have entered into a contract..."]
This if followed by:
For the moment, Catherine has missed the point of the lesson as well as the bantering tone of the teacher. But Jane Austen's hero, thinking it unnecessary to speak up for order, speaks up instead for the importance of recognizing its essential components. For Catherine marriage is marriage nad dancing is dancing. Like most other things in her mind, they have no connection. Different names for differnt things with no apparant basis for comparison. Yet Tilney has begun to show that the most trivial as well as some of the most important social actions involve, in one way or another, making contracts which involve rights, duties, and, most un-Godwinian of all, voluntary mutual conformity. The characters in Northanger Abbey, as in all Jane Austen's novels, are constantly "engaging" themselves to others, to walk, to dine, to visit, to marry. And the worst thing a person can do is to enter into an engagement dishonestly---like [excluding this because we haven't found this out yet]--, or to break it without sufficient cause---again like [we haven't come to this part either].
---something along the lines of Robin's post. :)
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