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|Deceit & Improving Mr. Collins
Written by Robbin
(5/1/2010 11:27 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Dear katheeln(elder) and those who also...(long), penned by Silvia A
Silvia A you said Charlotte “is not deceiving or hurting anyone” but is that completely true? I do not see how it can be. I do not think Charlotte told Mr. Collins that she believes he is stupid and “neither sensible nor agreeable; his society was irksome, and his attachment to her must be imaginary” (Ch. 22). If she had told him her true opinion of him then surely he would not have proposed. Mr. Collins is stupid but he is also full of pride. He is happy now but what if he found out the truth?
You also suggested Charlotte will try to improve Mr. Collins. How much of a possibility is it? Persuading him to let her introduce her friends to Lady Catherine (Ch. 29) is not quite the same as improving him although it is a testament to her ability to manage him. Mr. Collins is egotistical and stubborn and does not seem open to criticism or advice. At the Netherfield ball Lizzy tries to stop Mr. Collins from introducing himself to Mr. Darcy to no avail although it seems to me her advice was both correct and prescience:
Mr. Collins listened to her with the determined air of following his own inclination, and, when she ceased speaking, replied thus: -- "My dear Miss Elizabeth, I have the highest opinion in the world of your excellent judgment in all matters within the scope of your understanding… Pardon me for neglecting to profit by your advice, which on every other subject shall be my constant guide, though in the case before us I consider myself more fitted by education and habitual study to decide on what is right than a young lady like yourself." (Ch. 18)
Despite Mr. Collins protests it is obvious he has little respect for Lizzy’s opinion. I think his choice to read Fordyce’s Sermons, moral instruction, to a family he just met (Ch. 14) is rather pompous but also reveals a rather demeaning opinion of women that fits in very well with his refusal to accept Lizzy’s good advice at the ball. I have linked to some info on Fordyce’s Sermons located in the Jane Austen Info Pages at the bottom of this message.
I do like Charlotte and agree it is her prerogative to choose a stupid pompous man for a husband but I don’t agree with that choice or the attitudes that led her to make it. (:D)
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