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|Marriages: Sir Walter & Miss Stevenson
Written by KateL
(9/19/2005 10:05 a.m.)
I've never managed to concentrate on one topic in a Group Read before, but with the slower pace of this one I might be able to keep up, so I'm going to focus on the many different marriages in the book and their influence - how they were meant to be seen by contemporary readers, how they appear to us two hundred years further on, and what effect they have on Anne.
Right away we can see JA's irony going strong, with Anne's mother needing to be "pardoned" for marrying a handsome and(at that point) rich baronet. He should have been a great catch, but it's clear she's too good for him, as indeed any sensible woman would have been. "She had humoured, or softened, or concealed his failings and promoted his real respectability for seventeen years" - what a life the poor woman must have led. And he probably never noticed her unhappiness and believed she was daily grateful for the opportunity of being Lady Elliot.
So Anne grew up with an object lesson: marry for a youthful infatuation and you'll spend the rest of your life making the best of it and working for what happiness you can find. Think twice before you commit yourself.
Side note on Lady Russell, who knew Anne's mother before her marriage. Did she use her influence with her friend in favour of the match, or against it?
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