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|Anne as potential Mrs. Smith
Written by Deborah Y
(10/26/2005 9:03 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, CW, the-could've-been Mr. Smith (?), penned by Jace
All the JA novels have some kind of shadow-story about a woman whose entanglement with a man leads to tragedy, disgrace or heartbreak (Catherine's fantasy about Mrs. Tilney in NA; the story of the two Elizas in S&S; Lydia and Wickham in P&P; Maria & Henry in MP; Emma's fantasy about Jane Fairfax and Mr. Dixon; and here the Mrs. Smith story). I definitely think that in all these cases we're supposed to ponder what it is that saves our heroine from this fate -- sometimes it's luck, as much as anything, sometimes good sense or wealth. I think these shadow-stories suggest the dark underside of JA's comic marriage plots, underscoring the gravity of the heroine's choice of a life partner. (Pick wrong, and you could end up dead, deserted or impoverished). Mrs. Smith's story definitely has this quality, especially given all the parallels to Anne's life -- here's someone who went to school with Anne, whose life looked just as charmed as hers when they were young, who also found a congenial husband young, and yet who, like Anne, has ended up alone when that marriage didn't work out. There but for the grace of God. . .
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