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|Coldness, resentment and pettiness.
Written by Rachel G
(10/13/2008 7:37 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Look at it from his POV, penned by Deborah Y
You are quite right. Anne's behaviour to Wentworth is as cold as his towards her. She dodges the first meeting. When he calls briefly at breakfast time she only half meets his eye and says nothing. At subsequent meetings she continues to apparently blank him out completely. Here's one example:
"That happened before I went to sea, in the year six," occurred in the course of the first evening they spent together: and though his voice did not falter, and though she had no reason to suppose his eye wandering towards her while he spoke, Anne felt the utter impossibility, from her knowledge of his mind, that he could be unvisited by remembrance any more than herself.
We know, because we are in Anne's head, that she is acutely aware of him, but she is not even looking at him here, and she continues to avoid giving him any hint of encouragement to speak to her. I think the coldness between them is a two way street. It is understandable, given what a wretchedly awkward situation it is for both of them, but I don't think that Wentworth deserves all the blame.
We are not shown what is going on in Wentworth's head, but the closing paragraphs of Ch.7 suggest to me that he is not 'over' the relationship, any more than she is. He may be as hyper aware of her as she is of him, for all we know.
I can forgive Wentworth's apparent coldness, but there are two aspects of his behaviour which I cannot like:
We are told in Ch.7 that He had not forgiven Anne Elliot. This puts me in mind of another Austen hero who describes his temper as resentful and says “My good opinion once lost, is lost forever.” I would feel more warmly towards the Captain if I knew that he had at least made some effort to see things from Anne's point of view and to acknowledge Lady Russell's quite reasonable (IMO) fears for Anne's welfare when he had not the means to support her. I think it is resentment too, that caused him to go off in a huff and stay at sea for eight years, rather than coming back when he had money and his promotion, to at least see whether there was still a chance for him with Anne.
The other thing I cannot like about Wentworth's behaviour in these chapters is his covert sniping at Anne – the little stabbing comments about the year six, his reference to his friend Harville who had a wife even when he had no money, and so on. As JulieW says, this betrays a certain pettiness in his nature. These needling remarks seem to me to be unkind and self centred.
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