Quick Index Board Index Home FAQ Site Map
|Puzzled by Poor Richard.
Written by Rachel G
(10/7/2011 6:38 p.m.)
The account of Dick Musgrove at the end of chapter six puzzles me exceedingly.
"The real circumstances of this pathetic piece of family history were, that the Musgroves had had the ill fortune of a very troublesome, hopeless son, and the good fortune to lose him before he reached his twentieth year; that he had been sent to sea, because he was stupid and unmanageable on shore; that he had been very little cared for at any time by his family, though quite as much as he deserved; seldom heard of, and scarcely at all regretted, when the intelligence of his death abroad had worked its way to Uppercross, two years before.
He had, in fact, though his sisters were now doing all they could for him, by calling him "poor Richard," been nothing better than a thick-headed, unfeeling, unprofitable Dick Musgrove, who had never done any thing to entitle himself to more than the abbreviation of his name, living or dead."
Firstly I'm puzzled because this seems a remarkably harsh depiction of a character, even by JA's standards. Why did she choose to describe Dick Musgrove in such unforgiving terms?
Secondly, I'm puzzled by the Musgroves. They do not seem to be lacking in affection. On the contrary they seem easy-going and kind - witness their fond partiality for their daughters' musical efforts and their general popularity in the neighbourhood. Yet Dick Mudgrove "had been very little cared for at any time", and he is "scarcely at all regretted". It just doesn't seem to add up.
I'm out of my depth here, having no children of my own, and I have no experience of very large families so I don't really know how they work.
It occurs to me that if poor Richard was "very little cared for at any time by his family" then it is not surprising that he was troublesome, unmanageable and unfeeling.
Groupread is maintained by Myretta with WebBBS 3.21.