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|"wild after Miss Elliot"
Written by Jenny Allan
(10/17/2005 12:43 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Thoughts, penned by Jace
"And so do I. No comparison. But the men are all wild after Miss Elliot. Anne is too delicate for them."
Up to this point we have no evidence whasoever that Elizabeth has ever been sought by anyone or ever turned a single head. It does make some things a bit more logical, like the fact that Elizabeth does not feel threatened by Anne's receiving pointed attentions from Mr. Elliot. At first I thought Elizabeth was just so blinded by her own vanity that she believed what she wanted to about Mr. Elliot. But if this vanity is reinforced by popular opinion, then it makes sense that Elizabeth would dismiss Anne out of hand as being completely non-threatening.
I wonder why we have not seen these scores of suitors 'wild for Elizabeth" before now? Perhaps its just that this isn't really important to the narrative, but that's unlike JA. All of Elizabeth's social activities happen offstage, in London, or at parties in Bath that the author has not shown us. Any theories?
I can understand Jace's point actually about the FP/Anne connection. That Elizabeth is like those readers of MP who get frustrated with Fanny's inability to stick up for herself throughout the first half of the book and her lack of liveliness-- her anti-Elizabeth Bennett qualities--but that falls apart fairly quickly as an analogy. I think most of those readers would be placated if Fanny were a bit more witty or lively and certainly Elizabeth Elliot would have no more appreciation for her sister if she were more outgoing. She might hate her more.
I still believe that Elizabeth may be jealous of the fact that Anne has at least had offers and she has had none. Whether she conciously takes this fact on board, is doubtful, but JA is not above putting strong clues to the subconcious fears and hopes of characters right out in plain sight. That was my point with her saying that "Anne is not wanted" because deep down her own fear is that she is the one who is not wanted.
Elizabeth is only aware that she is getting older and her chances for appearing in the illustrious Baronetcy book are looking worse everyday. I don't believe she conciously understands the threats to her security posed by Mrs. Clay (otherwise she wouldn't keep her there) only that she is beginning to feel a sense of panic. If Elizabeth were more self-aware, instead of being merely selfish, she would be more like a Caroline Bingley character. She would be actively trying to defeat Anne's chances with Mr. Elliot and she certainly would have gotten rid of Mrs. Clay ages ago.
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