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|Ch.24: More politics?
Written by Line
(3/23/2009 9:58 a.m.)
At the end of ch.24, when Henry is showing Catherine how ridiculous her suspicions of the General were, by reminding her what a civilized country they live in, he ends on a rather disconcerting note: "where every man is surrounded by a neighbourhood of voluntary spies".
The Norton Critical Edition has an interesting footnote about this:
This reference to "voluntary spies" comes as something of a surprise at the end of Henry's "Remember we are English" speech. What at first sounded like security is suddenly described in more Gothic tones as surveillance. The effect is to ironize Henry's critique of Catherine and to suggest the complexity of Austen's relation to the Gothic: if the heroine's dark suspicions are overdrawn, the hero's cheery confidence may be equally misplaced.
The note relates this to another note regarding the General's pamphlets in ch.23 (see link below).
I think this might be pushing things a bit, but it's interesting to think about, including the idea that Catherine might not be *quite* so naive, or Henry *quite* so perfectly right!
|The General's pamphlets|
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