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|I don’t believe Anne is cold to Frederick
Written by Robbin
(10/17/2008 10:31 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Politeness Given the Depth of Emotion, penned by Kathryn Ann
Is Anne ever described as cold towards Frederick in the text? Just for fun I did a text search and came up with fifteen instances of the word cold or coldness but none of them describe Anne’s demeanor or thoughts. Some described as having a cold demeanor are those you might expect—Frederick, Elizabeth and Sir Walter but not Anne. IMO Anne is not cold towards Frederick. There is a difference between giving someone the cold shoulder which Frederick does give Anne at times and her being embarrassed and then later excluded by him. He set the tone of their relationship and excludes Anne from his closer company by treating her as no more than a civil acquaintance—it is his choice not Anne’s. In Chapter 12 when he finally loosens up towards Anne and then asks for her help and then her advice I see it as at last changing the tone of their relationship.
I understand why Frederick is angry and resentful and why Anne’s presence is painful to him. I agree there are instances of silent abrupt kindness, shock and embarrassment that hinder his manners but there are also times such as their first meeting and the party in Ch. 8 that it was in his power to be kind or to be cold and he chose to be cold. His coldness indicates to me he still thinks a great deal of his ill-usage by Anne and not too much about how she might feel meeting with him again—much as he did when she broke the engagement. Anne broke the engagement but she tried very hard to explain she was doing it for him as well as prudence and fidelity to Lady Russell but he would not believe her nor do I think she excluded the possibility of a reengagement. I agree they are both in awkward emotional circumstances but I think Anne treats him and thinks of him with a great deal more understanding and compassion than he does of her.
I think the Musgroves are nice, jolly people but they are also home bodies absorbed in their own concerns and do not think much of anything or anyone else. I think they just expect the handsome captain to be attracted to their beautiful daughters so it does not strike them as odd he is only on civil terms with Anne—really I don’t think they notice at all. Think of how they never listen to Anne’s music for pleasure but only utility or civility preferring to hear the inferior talents of their daughters. Frederick’s presence inspired them to think of a son they have not missed or thought of for some time so even the new and interesting gallant captain in their midst brings them back to thinking of their own concerns. (:D)
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