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Written by BarbaraB
(4/27/2013 5:44 p.m.)
I am interested in considering two points concerning Jane’s goodness.
Prejudice?-In this novel, I’ve always considered, prejudice from the point of view of prejudging negatively but what about positively? Not something I can recall thinking about before. If one is prejudice from pre-judging a person and assigning negative attributes to him/her/them without taking the time to know them wouldn’t it be just as true from the flip side: assigning someone good character before really knowing them and giving yourself a chance to determine if they deserve it? Lizzy does this with Wickham as does all of Meryton but with Jane it’s not a once and a while kind of thing. She is unable to ever see anything bad in anyone unless the evidence is handed to her on a silver platter. And any right results that comes out of her way of seeing people is, it seems, often (not saying always) more the result of a certain percentage of people happening to be good rather than getting it right through observation, reflection and past experience.??
Overly Discreet?-Jane who is being courted by Bingley is following the rules of a proper young Regency lady of the gentry by being discreet but is she overly discreet? Harkening back to Charlotte’s advice, I don’t go along with her advice exactly as she phrased it nor necessarily all of it, but the barebones of the implication that being too discreet might leave a young man unsure of whether the time is right to make a proposal or even if he should is not untrue imo. The whole courtship thing was a bit of an obstacle course: the lady was supposed to be discreet but usually the young man didn’t want to make a proposal unless he was pretty sure of a ‘yes’. (????)
I have seen in texts there were ways for a young woman to get across her feelings in ways that were under an ‘allowable umbrella’ so to speak: flirting/witty banter within reason---unfortunately Jane didn’t have the talent for this; smiling--- this was an issue for Jane as well because she smiled all the time and at everyone so there was no distinction in her smiles for Bingley. And this is what I think Charlotte understood, that there was no particular regard that was distinct in regards to Bingley in comparison to others. When Darcy says he could perceive no particular regard he’s right. Now, as someone stated, he had no business coming up with his conclusion on so meager an observation, and while giving his advice/opinion is okay, I don't go along with the meddling and persuasion. Still one has to wonder if a month or two of observations would have made much difference. Jane really did need to ease up on being overly discreet by maybe allowing, at least some small measure of feeling to come through her eyes now and again or when they were sitting next to each other to maybe lean toward him just an iota, almost barely discernibly to show extra interest in what he was saying. Well...I don't know...it's hard to really know...all I know is if she could have lessened the discretion just enough to convey a bit of particular regard so as to alleviate possible doubtfulness in Bingley, Darcy couldn’t have talked Bingley into believing her indifferent. I don’t excuse Bingley for being persuaded but just saying---things might well have turned out differently for Jane if she had not been so overly discreet.
I realize that this is not the usually accepted Pemberley view but here’s my argument: over the years of reading Austen and of reading about her and her works, I feel that she is a proponent of balance and generally is not so approving of extremes. The way I see it, in the matters of romance, Lydia sits on the negative extreme and Jane is on the positive extreme and Austen shows that extremes have a tendency to bring about negative results. This is just a personal opinion and as I said, likely different from most.
However, having said all this, I personally like Jane and I know, I know, Jane is Jane, a sweetheart and I don’t think she has the wherewithal to be/act any differently than she did even had it been pointed out to her. And yet, we see her now very dejected and I feel sorry for her. She has had her feelings hurt having to have come to the realization that she has been duped by the Bingley sisters whom she had come to think of as dear friends. (Positive prejudice?) And more importantly, she has lost out on the chance for a very well-matched marriage based on mutual respect and love, one that would have been very financially prudent to boot. (Overly discreet?)
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