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|Persuasion v. S&S
Written by Deborah Y
(10/27/2005 9:17 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Constancy vs. forgetfulness, penned by Line
"She was saying that a *real* man, a man worth having, would be just as faithful to the one he loved as any woman, and JA wouldn't let one of her heroines settle for anything less. . . JA meant to show him [Benwick] as a moral lightweight compared to CW."
I absolutely agree with all of the above: it's clear that both Louisa and Benwick are lightweights because their feelings are so quickly transferable, in marked contrast to Anne and FW. But I find it interesting to think about how differently JA addresses this issue in S&S. In S&S, it's Marianne Dashwood who insists on the impossibility of second attachments (despite being the product of a second marriage herself!) and who is roundly mocked for this sentiment, as almost every major character in the novel -- Edward, Lucy, Willoughby, Col. Brandon and of course Marianne herself -- ends up married to someone other than his/her first choice. Meanwhile, it's Elinor, who took the more realistic view about how love can change, who marries the man she loved all along. But Persuasion is precisely a book about the impossibility of second attachments, at least for people of real moral worth. What do we make of this?
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