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|But what _could_ she do to ease Anne's situation...
Written by Delories
(10/11/2005 9:20 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, The opposite, penned by Cheryl
at that moment? Nothing except have her leave her family to stay with her, which would have been a very drastic thing to do, under the circumstances -- although it was something that Anne herself was, in fact, considering, if her father were to make a misalliance with Mrs Clay.
I really don't think that the ON intends for us to feel that Anne's affection for Lady R, and general faith in her judgement, are misplaced; the possible error of refusing Capt W. when she was 19 and he a penniless sailor shouldn't blind us to that.
Anne is a Cinderella figure, right down to the two "ugly stepsisters"; but because _Persuasion_ is such a brilliantly mature work, it takes the fairy-tale dichotomy of the ideal dead mother and the evil stepmother, and goes beyond it: we have a a heroine in a relationship with a lovable but not perfect mother figure, Lady R., who is trying to do her best by her god-daughter, even if she is sometimes mistaken.
Let's not forget that one of Lady R's functions in the novel is to be the only one in her circle, when CW has quite the scene, to recognise her true worth, a theme which has already come up several times before the one being discussed in this thread; thus, we see how Lady R helps Anne to maintain her sense of self-esteem, which would have been utterly crushed if she were left with only Sir Walter, Elizabeth, and Mary.
Without wandering too far into Austenuations territory, I would even venture to say that Lady R is the most loved, the most nearly ideal, mother figure given to any of JA's heroines.
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