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|Sense, lies & Insensibility
Written by Robbin
(5/2/2010 5:31 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, About "not deceiving or hurting anyone"....., penned by Silvia A
Mr. Collins thinks very highly of himself and his situation and consequently has a great deal of pride as well. Mr. Collins at first did not believe Lizzy when she rejected his proposal attributing it to her wish “of increasing my love by suspense, according to the usual practice of elegant females” (19) but when he realized she was serious his reaction was resentful. She had mortified his pride:
“As for the gentleman himself, his feelings were chiefly expressed, not by embarrassment or dejection, or by trying to avoid her, but by stiffness of manner and resentful silence.” (Ch. 21)
Mr. Collins might be reluctant to believe Charlotte has always thought him stupid, without sense and finds his society irksome but if he ever believes I think he would have a predictably and completely natural negative reaction. It would be a blow to any man’s dignity even without the puffed up ego of Mr. Collins. I suspect Mr. Collins would not consider it a white lie and I would have to agree. I don’t think being deceitful about your regard for a potential partner or later as a spouse falls in the realm of Elinor’s “telling lies when politeness required it” (S&S, 21) on trivial manners. That such lies happen in marriages I cannot deny but I also cannot agree it is trivial or consistent with domestic happiness.
Mr. Collins thought it right to propose to two women in three days so I can’t count on his sense to realize his regard for Charlotte is insubstantial. He is not the smartest whip in the barn but also “the greatest part of his life having been spent under the guidance of an illiterate and miserly father” and “The subjection in which his father had brought him up” (15) has not, I think, given him much experience with friendship, warmth and affection. He was not even able to form any useful acquaintance at university. My point is whatever Mr. Collins is capable of feeling he may believe it to be real affection or even love. I do not think highly of Mr. Collins but I can’t trivialize Charlotte’s deceit because he appears to be warped emotionally.
Charlotte’s choice is always an interesting debate and it seems one that inspires passionate responses. It makes for great discussion. Thanks to all! (:D)
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