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|Well, that would solve Charlotte's problem at least ;-)
Written by Adrian
(5/18/2007 1:00 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Assuming Charlotte lives (nfm), penned by Tracy W
I know I will never change your mind, Tracy, since I have observed that you have put a great deal of thought into your position over a considerable length of time. I likewise doubt you will convince me to change my opinion. Still, I do sense a certain tendency among Pemberleans (on both sides of this discussion) to minimize the difficulties of the side we support and look very pessimistically at the side we disagree with.
For example, those who think Charlotte made a mistake might take an optimistic view of options as a "ward" of her brothers or a career as a governess while assuming Mr. Collins will control (actually rather than titularly) the marriage and home life or the education of the children.
Those who think Charlotte made the best of a difficult situation tend to talk about the loss in status of being dependent on brothers (particularly if the eldest marries a Fanny Dashwood type) or going out as a governess (perhaps with Mrs. Elton's sponsorship) and makes assumptions that Charlotte will outmaneuver and perhaps outlive Mr. C after bearing a son she can rear to inherit Longbourn (Mr. Bennet not having a son by a new wife in the meantime) and support her in her old age (presumably not marrying a Fanny Dashwood type).
This starts to look as if, whichever conclusions we draw on Charlotte's decision, we make assumptions based on our own hopes and fears about marriage (presumably Charlotte's rather than those of our contemporaries) and then supply what-if's to solidify our position(s). We know Mr. C was no prize (to put it mildly), and we know Charlotte chose to marry him for an establishment. We know Charlotte did not consider herself romantic and that she had (by age 27) a rather pragmatic (in a neutral sense), Machiavellian view of courtship and marriage. Beyond that (give or take another text reference or JA letter), most is conjecture. I am okay with this.
I personally allow Charlotte the free use of her understanding on the present occasion; and I assume that (rightly or wrongly) she expected she could manage her marriage. I hope she was happy (and does that not sound like one of Mrs. Bennet's good wishes? :-).
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