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|Mrs. Smith's raison detre
Written by Margaret 7
(10/24/2005 5:27 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Give her a break, penned by Tara O'Donnell
But I wouldn't go so far as to say the story line could be wholly removed without doing damage. The Mrs. Smith story line is rich with connections and illuminations for the rest of the story.
*Shows powerfully Anne's stand on relationship with TRUE nobility vs. "the nobility".
*This conflict with her father demonstrates that Anne has found her voice, that she has learned from her past decisions, and that she has the courage of her convictions.
*Puts her father further into the dog house: first, that he would advise his daughter to ignore the claim Mrs. Smith has on her attention because she is a sick,widowed "old person".Second, that he continues to be blind about Mrs. Clay.
*The fact that Anne has decided against WWE without Mrs.Smith's info,, confirms the wisdom of her character. Mrs.Smith's info strenghthens Anne's position immeasurably. Where we could earlier applaud her decision because she is following her heart, we now have incontroveritble proof that Anne is absolutely right.
*Elizabeth and her father (and Lady R) are all wrong about WWE, and Anne is right.
*Willingness to go against her father's wishes (in continuing a relationship with Mrs.Smith) brings Anne a great reward. Though her friendship with Mrs.Smith would not seem to benefit Anne in any material way, it does benefit her greatly. It forever saves her from being persuaded by Lady R, or WWE, into this marriage.
*Carries out the consistency of the appearances vs. reality theme of the novel.
* Draws a stark contrast between Wentworth and WWE. Who is the real nobleman? (we all know the answer to that one)
*Gives depth the Mrs. Smith's character, and makes us even prouder that Anne did not/does not snub her, since Mrs. Smith is not entirely guiltless and Anne could use this as a pretext for dropping the acquaintance, if she wished to.
I agree that Mrs. Smith does withold the info, and excellent reasons have been given. Yet, JA handles her gently, shows her to be chastened and reformed from her former way of life, and I think we are to feel the same sympathy for her that Anne feels.
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