Quick Index Board Index Home FAQ Site Map
|Perhaps he melts ... ie: more shyness
Written by Jessica T
(6/3/2007 10:58 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, You have hit on a truth, penned by William D
I think "shy" can manifest itself in many different ways. In that respect, perhaps, it is a vague qualification. Is Darcy somewhat uncomfortable in his own skin? I would venture to think so, or else when he changes as a dynamic character, he is not being true to himself - which is the positive change I think we see in him. Is uncomfortable necessarily shy? Sometimes.
I guess we're not allowed to just ahead chapters or else I'd cite a line from Chapter 60. Grrrr.
Well, from what we know, Darcy at Rosings says the line (and oh, do I dream of Mr. Macfadyen fingers jumping nervously on the piano), "I certainly have not the talent which some people possess," said Darcy, "of conversing easily with those I have never seen before. I cannot catch their tone of conversation, or appear interested in their concerns, as I often see done."
Do any of these admissions imply shyness? Is shyness an acquired affectation or inborn character or both? Is "talent" something one could acquire, one could learn, or both? I haven't the talent or ear for accents as I have for learning languages. I may have the talent to learn them, but not wrap my tongue around the Spanish "rr". I can practice all I want (and have) will probably never get it, but to speak, albeit with a flat affect, I have a natural inclination for. Talent, I argue, is primarily God-given. Given practice, Lizzy is correct, Darcy can (and does to a certain extent) overcome these hinderances. However, practice does not drive away what comes naturally altogether.
It is interesting to note the two talents: catching the tone of a conversation and appearing interested. The former I argue is a talent, perhaps one a natural salesperson or psychologist might have. I don't "read" people well, and it is something that has hindered me. I can understand Darcy here. The latter, however, is something that could be learned and acquired and is not so much a talent. It is an affect. Darcy uses the word "appear" - a buzz word in the novel, of course. Lizzy is correct here to advise "practice."
As for evidence from the reading assignment, in Chapter 44, the narrator states, "Since her [Lizzy] being at Lambton, she had heard that Miss Darcy was exceedingly proud; but the observation of a very few minutes convinced her that she was only exceedingly shy. She found it difficult to obtain even a word from her beyond a monosyllable." Perhaps the siblings are alike in some way?
Granted, Lizzy goes on to observe that, "her manners were perfectly unassuming and gentle. Elizabeth, who had expected to find in her as acute and unembarrassed an observer as ever Mr. Darcy had been, was much relieved by discerning such different feelings."
First, I don't know if anyone has access to a dictionary that would give us a Regency definition. What does "embarrassed" mean here? How is one an unembarrassed observer? Does that mean not embarrassed to observe? That doesn't seem quite right.
The last quotation could very easily and obviously be against an argument that Darcy and his sister are alike in personality. However, could we imagine a Darcy as "unassuming" and "gentle" before his parents died, before college, before being introduced to Society and the "ton," as having this personality? I think he has created a shell for himself to live in a world where honesty, sensitivity, naivety, and even honor would squash a man. If the Prince Regent set the standard, these were not valued. I think these qualities that Georgiana has, including shyness, over time have manifested themselves as a stiff, unwelcoming, somewhat cranky when out of his element, arrogant man. After all, that is how he has been trained to be somewhat so it would be quite natural to fall into that role and even become that person, forgetting the soft underbelly that once was. He needed Lizzy to remind him it was still there so he come into his own and by loving her he reached back to become the man he always could've been and thus became the man she could love - but of course he has stayed true to himself.
(Kind of like Darth Vader being "more machine than man" - there wasn't anything left of Anakin. Well, until the end and Luke brought out the compassion that was left in the mechanical body ... and Vader atoned for his sins by killing the Emporer .... oops wrong board).
Groupread is maintained by Myretta with WebBBS 3.21.