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|even in the midst of the serious anxiety
Written by Stephanie
(10/10/2011 6:01 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Speaking (too) well of the dead, penned by Cheryl
While it is human nature to ignore faults of a dead family member, I do not think that is the main point here.
Anne, who has suffered, and is still suffering, under a grave disappointment, tries to be rational, helpful, and to hide her strong sorrow. Mrs. Musgrove does not try to conceal it: she is luxuriating in the feelings of a parent who has lost a child.
We see this overabundance of emotion, or, rather, this encouragement of negative emotion, in Sir Walter and Miss Elliot, too. They believe themselves ill-used, so much so that they can not appreciate the people trying to help them, nor value their advice. Mary indulges in hypochondria, and feelings of neglect whenever nothing else occupies her. The two Misses Musgrove have their heads quite turned by a man they only just met, ready for their feelings to run away with them. Capt. Wentworth has a brother he cares for, but the people here are too nice, so he stays, letting his emotions soak up the universal admiration, and not being very guarded in return.
The message in this context is that Mrs. Musgrove is managing more of the same: her sorrow, while genuine in that she did lose a son she loved, is exaggerated and fed by all the reminiscences and suppositions she can muster to make it heavier.
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