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Written by Robbin
(3/14/2009 7:57 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Real life versus literary convention, penned by Tom P2
I will only add, in justice to men, that though to the larger and more trifling part of the sex, imbecility in females is a great enhancement of their personal charms, there is a portion of them too reasonable and too well informed themselves to desire anything more in woman than ignorance. (Ch. 14)
I think JA points out a situation she has observed—sensible men married to silly women and she pokes fun at them by suggesting it is choice on their part and however many actually do choose a stupid wife purposely I don’t think it is the main point. I think the main point is to explain Henry’s attraction to sometimes clueless anti-heroine Catherine. In P&P, Ch. 6 Charlotte Lucas says:
“There is so much of gratitude or vanity in almost every attachment, that it is not safe to leave any to itself.” (P&P, Ch. 6)
Isabella has amply provided examples of how working on a persons vanity can attach a friend and a lover—she obviously agrees with Charlotte that attachments cannot be left to develop naturally on their own. Just as it is natural to like someone who likes you—gratitude it is also natural to like someone who makes you feel important or good about yourself—vanity.
But Catherine did not know her own advantages — did not know that a good–looking girl, with an affectionate heart and a very ignorant mind, cannot fail of attracting a clever young man, unless circumstances are particularly untoward. (Ch. 14)
Catherine’s confessed ignorance of the picturesque naturally administers to Henry’s vanity:
“his instructions were so clear that she soon began to see beauty in everything admired by him, and her attention was so earnest that he became perfectly satisfied of her having a great deal of natural taste.” (Ch. 14)
Is there a Henry in the world who could be insensible to such rapt attention and agreement? (;D)
I have only read one gothic novel (The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole) so do not know if Henry is being contrasted with a gothic hero. It is a fun and interesting idea worth pursuing. In keeping with the contrasts made between Catherine and a gothic heroine I would expect some over the top traits for a hero. Can anyone say what the attributes of a gothic hero are or has it already been discussed and I missed it?
Further discussion of P&P should be taken to the novel board and comparisons to Austenations. Thanks for reading. (;D)
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