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|The slipperiness of Austen's narration
Written by gianni
(10/10/2011 7:05 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Frederick's contradictions. (ch.7), penned by Rachel G
Here's a perfect example of how Austen slides from a person's thoughts to direct narration so subtly that it's really hard to see the transition.
"Altered beyond his knowledge!" Anne fully submitted, in silent, deep mortification. Doubtless it was so, and she could take no revenge, for he was not altered, or not for the worse. She had already acknowledged it to herself, and she could not think differently, let him think of her as he would. No: the years which had destroyed her youth and bloom had only given him a more glowing, manly, open look, in no respect lessening his personal advantages. She had seen the same Frederick Wentworth.
These are clearly Anne's thoughts. Aren't they?
"So altered that he should not have known her again!" These were words which could not but dwell with her. Yet she soon began to rejoice that she had heard them. They were of sobering tendency; they allayed agitation; they composed, and consequently must make her happier.
Frederick Wentworth had used such words, or something like them, but without an idea that they would be carried round to her. He had thought her wretchedly altered, and in the first moment of appeal, had spoken as he felt. He had not forgiven Anne Elliot. She had used him ill, deserted and disappointed him; and worse, she had shewn a feebleness of character in doing so, which his own decided, confident temper could not endure. She had given him up to oblige others. It had been the effect of over-persuasion. It had been weakness and timidity.
Still Anne's self-recrimination?
He had been most warmly attached to her, and had never seen a woman since whom he thought her equal; but, except from some natural sensation of curiosity, he had no desire of meeting her again. Her power with him was gone for ever.
Still Anne's thoughts? Oh, wait -- never seen a woman since whom he thought her equal. Doesn't seem a proper fit into Anne's stream of consciousness. But without that phrase, it would still fit well into her thoughts...
It was now his object to marry. He was rich, ...
Clearly the narrator, right? But where is the transition?
So are the contradictions in Frederick, or in Anne's struggles over him?
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