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|Nurturing Vs. Free Will
Written by LeeAnne
(10/7/2008 8:21 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, GR Focus -- "imperfect" female characters, penned by Tifah
I have always been fascinated by Mary's character. She was very young when Lady Elliot died, and then sent off to school and married very young, so she has spent VERY LITTLE time at home, and presumably received negligible love and attention from her parents. In that light, I have great sympathy for her, and can totally understand where she gets her 'Everyone always uses me ill' routine. I feel so sure she would have turned out differently if her mother had lived.
But at some point, you have to take responsibility for your own destiny. To use an extreme example, just because a person was abused as a child does not make it okay to go out and become a criminal as an adult. At what point does Mary just need to get over it and stop whining?
I don't think we know about Mrs. Clay's mother, do we? But we know that her father was "civil and cautious" which I suppose is Miss Austen's way of politely saying that he can play the game and be sneaky when he needs to. So Mrs. Clay learned her lessons well at home. Elizabeth I have practically no sympathy for. She had two loving parents for her entire childhood, plus the support and friendship of Lady Russell (as two neighborhood mistresses). She has chosen her narrow selfish life with both eyes open.
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