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|Ch.1. Elizabeth is no heroine.
Written by Rachel G
(10/6/2008 4:36 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Elizabeth: Chapter one, penned by Cheryl
Beauty is not essential in a heroine, but it helps. We are told of Elizabeth .... being very handsome, (this seems clear enough) and very like himself, (Oh – so is this just Sir Walter's vanity speaking?)
It sometimes happens, that a woman is handsomer at twenty-nine than she was ten years before; ..... it is a time of life at which scarcely any charm is lost. It was so with Elizabeth, still the same handsome Miss Elliot that she had begun to be thirteen years ago. Again, this sounds clear, but then we get the following:
Elizabeth is approaching the “years of danger”. The passage about how the “book of books” has “become an evil” to her is telling, and the description of her closing it with averted eyes and pushing it away is a vivid image. This is a woman for whom the biological (and social) clock is ticking loudly, and I can certainly sympathise with her here.
I also sympathise with her disappointment over Mr William Elliot, until I read that while she liked him for himself , she had liked him still more for being her father's heir. It seems more a case of injured pride than lost love and real heartbreak. It clearly still rankles though, or she would not be deciding that Mr Elliot was not worth thinking about again after the death of his first wife.
Then we are told that Elizabeth has ”no habits of utility abroad, no talents or accomplishments for home”>/i>, which makes me want to shake her. The emptiness of her life seems largely self-inflicted.
Finally, the economies she thinks of (no new furniture for the drawing room, unnecessary charities, no presents for Anne) destroy any remaining sympathy I might have for her. She is as superficial, stupid and selfish as her father, and quite unfit to be a heroine!
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