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|Putting in a good word for Jane
Written by Adrian
(6/5/2007 1:40 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, A lot of stress for a simple minded woman, penned by Robbin
Although Jane would not seemingly meet Caroline Bingley's notion of an accomplished woman, Jane does not seem to have ended up so poorly prepared for life. She does not play, from what we are told, but she can read and writes apparently creditable letters. She certainly outstrips her mother in her industry and composure and sense of situation. Recollect that the Gardiners trust her with the primary care of their four children while the parents and Lizzy are visiting Derbyshire, and when Mr. Bennet departs for London to search for Lydia, Jane, more than the distraught Mrs. Bennet, is left in charge.
Jane is never faulted for being lazy, only praised for being beautiful and thinking well of everyone. Since even Lydia trims bonnets, one can assume that Jane does her share of sewing and the like in a creditable manner. Her conduct and moral fiber are certainly unassailable. So, while it may be no thanks to her parents, Jane does not appear to be lacking in essentials.
While Mr. Bennet took great pleasure in Lizzy's acuity and more than average interest in reading (and edgy wit), I doubt he wanted any of his daughters to come across as blue-stockings, as one might say Mary does. Granted the parents could have and should have done more to assure their daughters' education, especially Kitty's and Lydia's; but I wonder if a governess might have done as much harm to Lizzy's ranging intellect as she would have benefited Kitty and Lydia.
Finally, I must say it pains me to see people play the blame game between Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, especially over the children's upbringing. In marriage they both made a commitment to support one another in sickness or in health, which metaphorically means strengthening each others' weaknesses. They produced children as a "team" (pardon the sports analogy) and were obliged to raise them together. In any given challenge, a sports team either wins, loses, or ties. Mr. and Mrs. Bennet were a dysfunctional team (too much individualism, too little teamwork), and the successes they enjoyed appear due more to good fortune or the kindnesses of others (be they of the Gardiners' doing or others') than to the parents themselves. Both parents misjudged the wisdom of Lydia's trip to Brighton; neither took steps to correct her character in younger years. To separate one or the other parent as being "more to blame" IMO seems a hopeless case.
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