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|goals of girls' education (from Ch. 8)
Written by Heather Leigh
(4/26/2010 11:58 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, On second thought, penned by Kevin S
[Caroline said:] "A woman must have a thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing, and the modern languages, to deserve the word; and besides all this, she must possess a certain something in her air and manner of walking, the tone of her voice, her address and expressions, or the word will be but half deserved."
"All this she must possess," added Darcy, "and to all this she must yet add something more substantial, in the improvement of her mind by extensive reading." (Ch 8)
By this standard none of the Bennett girls have been adequately educated and they have very uneven accomplishments -- Mary reads and has a thorough knowledge of music (but gives no pleasure to listeners); Lydia and Kitty know dancing but nothing else; Jane doesn't play or sing though she does "possess a certain something"; Lizzie sings and plays but not very well; none of them know languages or drawing. (Anne Elliott by contrast can translate Italian song lyrics at sight.)
There are hints that women are also expected to have some basic knowledge of their world - geography, history, law -- e.g. Mrs Bennett doesn't understand how an entail works. In S&S Eleanor discovers that Lucy Steele is "ignorant and illiterate" (and Lucy and Ann both use bad grammar.) But it's hard to discern what the standards are as far as general education.
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