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|Jane Austen flip-flopping on Mrs. Smith? I think not.
Written by Cathy Allen
(10/26/2011 5:23 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Time to stir the pot on the ambivalence of Mrs Smith..., penned by jeffrey
I read Dr. Shapard's annotation on this point which has you wondering, and I disagree with him. The way I feel about it is that Jane Austen wrote this novel, and she could make her characters be whatever she wanted them to be, period. Am I ALWAYS consistent? Certainly not. Are you ALWAYS consistent? I don't know the answer to that, but I don't know anyone, personally, who is. I am human, and I like to think that I'm pretty consistent (being "constant" is a value to me), but occasionally I change my mind, or I simply go crazy, or whatever. In my opinion, no one can say what is "out of character" ore "inconsistent" for characters in a novel except the author (and, of course, there are good and bad authors in this regard!). I simply dismissed Dr. Shapard's annotation as wrong; makes me happy! :-)
Regarding Jane Austen's Mrs. Smith, I think she is pretty much desperate, and is grabbing at straws; as much as she likes Anne, she needs help, she sees a chance, and she is determined to take it. She is overwhelmingly relieved by Anne's attitude so that she can tell her the truth about Mr. Elliot. It works for me.
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