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|Lady Russell's advice.
Written by Rachel G
(10/8/2011 2:27 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Lady Russell & the Elliots, penned by Robbin
Great post, Robbin. You analysis of the qualities of Lady Russell's friendship is well made.
In Lady Russell JA has succeeded in creating another very human, believable character. Consider the qualities of her advice. When she offers her friends advice she is not completely objective, and her advice is biased by her personal prejudices:
- Her prejudice in favour of rank and ancestry leads her to treat Sir Walter's financial difficulties with a special degree of consideration for his feelings. (ch.2)
- She urges the idea of a move to Bath rather than taking a smaller house near Kellynch because she herself likes Bath so she thinks it would equally suit them all. (ch.2)
-Her advice regarding Anne's engagement is biased because she sees FW's self-confidence as dangerous and because she has a horror of imprudence. (ch.4)
This all seems very life-like to me. This sort of personal bias is almost inevitable when advice is offered by a friend rather than by someone who has the objectivity and detachment of a professional counsellor.
We are told that LR is 'rational' and has 'good sense', and indeed despite her bias I think the advice she gives is sound, though it is not always successful. Her financial advice to Sir Walter was less stringent than it needed to be but was rejected anyway, and it did have the good effect of confronting Sir W with the unpalatable restrictions which staying at Kellynch would involve.
LR's advice regarding Bath seems reasonable despite her preference for the place. It remains to be seen how Sir Walter and Elizabeth will manage and whether Anne will be miserable there. But there is clearly not much future for Anne if she stays near Kellynch and Uppercross.
I think LR's opposition to Anne's engagement was well-founded, even though the result was years of unhappiness for Anne. It might have been better if she had urged the 'middle path' with the marriage postponed until FW was financially able to support a wife and family. But if that had been the case then we would not have had this novel - so well done Lady Russell!
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