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|Perspectives on Lady Russell
Written by Maisy
(9/20/2005 10:04 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Only what is best for her., penned by Robbin
It's so diverting and fascinating to read all the different takes we have on the readings! I appreciate learning how someone else perceives a particular passage and comparing it to my own interpretation. :-)
]is only the best as she sees it and I do not think her actions are completely selfless
Could it also be "the best" in accordance to what was customary of the time and place -- as well as the social structure of the times -- even taking into consideration that Lady Russell has a larger regard for rank and consequence than Anne, and perhaps many other people of the era?
]as still Lady Russell seems to be by her “extra gentle” dealings with Sir Walter and Elizabeth on retrenching
Do you think LR's mode of handling these delicate matters may also be motivated by an understanding that Sir Walter and Elizabeth can only be convinced by the application of such methods? Additionally, I don't see it as a deference for rank and consequence. LR is a very close friend of the entire family (most especially Sir Walter's deceased wife); it simply would not be in her to treat them in a manner which might be distressing to them.
]It cannot be fair if the only idea that will persuade Anne to give up CW is to say it is to his benefit to do so.
We don't know for a fact that LR did this, as it is not described this way in the text. It is a theory that some have shared here, and which may have a great deal of merit, but we simply can't say with certainty that LR did this. It could have been Anne's conclusion alone.
]but Lady Russell saw [CW's confidence] very differently
I think she interprets his confidence as overconfidence -- as perhaps being reckless or even dangerous. The navy was indeed a hazardous, jeopardous way of life. I don't think it's wrong of her to wonder that he wouldn't seem to acknowledge this. Confidence is an admirable quality, but overconfidence is not.
]Lady Russell laments her refusal even though she does not think CM is good enough for Anne.
Yes, but LR has had the benefit of hindsight here. She sees that remaining at home is not a good thing for Anne. She wants to see Anne in a home of her own, and away from the limits she must endure, living with people who think and behave as Sir Walter and Elizabeth do. After 3 years, LR "lowers her standards" a little bit to accomodate the prospect of Anne marrying a man whom she sees as having much to offer Anne.
]In a match with CM, Lady Russell would basically have Anne in the same situation with CM as her mother had been with Sir Walter—not as extreme as Sir Walter to be sure, CM is amiable and not vain or impudent with money, but Anne is still to improve him without benefit for herself.
Not benefit to herself? I disagree. :-) CM has much to offer, even if he isn't Anne's intellectual equal. And there is the matter of Anne being out of Kellynich, which LR sees as a desirable situation for Anne.
]as a navy man will definitely take Anne away and CM as heir to a local estate is definitely going nowhere
Well, this is a possibility, and an interesting theory, but I don't recall reading that LR opposed Anne's engagement to CW because it would cause Anne to be taken far away from her. :-)
Re: your last 2 paragraphs, I will reserve comment until the GR catches up to those parts of the book! :-)
I want to clarify that I'm not saying that I agree with Lady Russell's opinions, just that I comprehend her reasoning (as I perceive it to be). :-)
She is such a complex character, and my feelings for her are also complex. She exasperates me! There is plenty for which I can accuse her and hold her responsible. In this reading, I am trying to be really, really fair to LR, and not allow my prejudices to run away with me! ;o) (This GR, I'm trying to be extra careful about grounding my conclusions in the text.)
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