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|Eleanor’s back story.
Written by amytat
(4/27/2012 2:21 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Is the Viscount a contrivance?, penned by BarbaraB
I agree JA knew exactly what she was doing and that it’s a hoot.
In some ways it feels less contrived to me than it would if we’d known Eleanor’s back story all along.
It strikes me that Eleanor fits the heroine role in a lot of the ways we are told Catherine doesn’t. She lives in an Abbey, her mother died, her father might not be the villain Catherine images but he’s certainly difficult to live with and she’s lonely a lot of the time. She develops a partiality for a man but the inferiority of his situation prevents him from addressing her. Just when things must be particularly bleak for her, after her friend is kicked out and her brother leaves, the “most charming man in the world” unexpectedly gains a title and fortune and takes her away from all that.
If Eleanor had been the main character, or even if we’d known about this man and been told more of her feelings, struggles and woes, I think resolving everything by his suddenly becoming a Viscount might have felt contrived. Instead we only get a few glimpses of Eleanor’s story. Rather than a big dramatic happy ending for Eleanor it’s handled in an offhand kind of way like: well obviously something has to happen in the remaining pages to change the General’s mind and it just so happened to be this.
I feel like if it hadn’t been that it could have easily been something else. Catherine’s parents could have relented, the General could have died, ect. So I don’t feel like Catherine and Henry were in an impossible situation that could only be resolved in a contrived almost impossible way – if that makes sense.
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