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|But where's the spark?
Written by Rachel G
(10/23/2011 7:14 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, The Solid supporting The Superficial, penned by Robbin
That is a very interesting perspective. It makes me understand better why Lady Russell thinks so well of Mr Elliott, and I feel marginally more charitable towards her point of view. Much of what she wants for Anne is no more than any cautious parent would want for a beloved child. I cannot fault her caution and prudence, but in my view LR's prescription for the ideal man for Anne lacks an essential ingredient. I'll call it 'spark'. I an not referring to physical attraction and desire here, although of course that matters.
What I mean by 'spark' is that person A has some quality or qualities which make them special for person B and ignites the spark of interest/affection/love - call it what you will. For Fanny Price it is Edmund's kindness and his religious and moral convictions which ignite the spark and make him special for her. For Darcy, Elizabeths' easy, playful manners, her intelligence and the way she spars with him and challenges him combine to ignite the spark and make her special for him.
For Anne, Wentworth's confidence, ardour, enthusiasm and wit ignite that essential spark and make him special for her. But such considerations don't enter into Lady Russell's thinking at all. For her what matters is prudence, propriety, moderation, and conformity with her own outlook on life. Doubtless LR's recipe for matrimonial success would be a good one for any person who happened to think exactly as she does, but Anne does not, and neither do I.
The nub of my problem with Lady Russell lies in the phrase "correct opinions", as if there was only one acceptable way of thinking. Conform to the norm, never dare to think or act outside the rigid constraints of what is "correct". Ugh! I'm a fairly cautious person, not given to wild enthusiasms or radical acts, but the very idea of "correct opinions" is anathema to me, and the idea of being shackled for life to the sort of person Lady Russell would approve of fills me with horror. That's just a quirk of mine, but it makes it difficult for me to really like Lady Russell - the best I can do is to try to understand her.
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