Quick Index Board Index Home FAQ Site Map
|Elinor & Marianne (chapters 1 to 4)
Written by Robbin
(9/16/2006 5:29 p.m.)
In Chapter 1 Elinor is already concerned with “the excess of her sister’s sensibility” and she has not only Marianne to be concerned with but also her mother. Elinor is forced to shoulder the practical burdens of their life because Mrs. D and Marianne will not exert themselves. The text says Elinor “could strive to rouse her mother to similar exertion, and encourage her to similar forbearance” but does not say she tried to do so with Marianne. IMO she probably cannot address Marianne at this time with her mother leading the affliction parade but she does show concern for her.
But yet, he is not the kind of young man -- there is a something wanting, his figure is not striking -- it has none of that grace which I should expect in the man who could seriously attach my sister. (Chapter 3)
I was pleasantly surprised to find some affection and concern shown for Elinor by Marianne in chapters 3 and 4; they are buried in Marianne’s constant recitals of what she wants and what would make her happy. In Chapter 3 Marianne exclaims “Oh! Mama, how shall we do without her?” when Mrs. Dashwood predicts Elinor will marry Edward soon and move away with him—this shows affection for Elinor IMO. Marianne later in the chapter goes on to tell her mother how Edward does not equal up to the standards she requires in a potential mate but the citation above shows that she is not picking at Edward so much because he is not what she wants but because she assumes that Elinor wants the same thing; I think Marianne’s surprise at Elinor’s preference for Edward also shows that she assumes Elinor shares the same wants and needs in a man as she does.
“I could not be happy with a man whose taste did not in every point coincide with my own. He must enter into all my feelings; the same books, the same music must charm us both”—Chapter 3.”
In Chapter 3 Marianne says “I felt for my sister most severely” during Edward’s tame reading of Cowper and wonders at Elinor’s “composure” and how she “scarcely noticed it” but then goes on to answer her own wonderings, “Elinor has not my feelings, and therefore she may overlook it, and be happy with him.” I think it is a difference worth noting that Marianne acknowledges Elinor’s feelings are different than hers but she still judges using her own standards. If Marianne really understood Elinor’s point of view she would not think Elinor need overlook anything to prefer Edward. Marianne cannot understand that Elinor will not just overlook Edward’s tame reading but that it actually has no impact on her regard for him. In Chapter 4 Marianne “was afraid of offending” Elinor and even thinks she “would not wound the feelings of her sister on any account” when discussing Edward’s lack of taste for drawing which she is certain must be improved for the couples future felicity. IMO Marianne is sincere in not wanting to hurt her sister with the ugly truth but she cannot stop herself from saying it and I think her concern for Elinor's future happiness is real even if her worry about Edward's taste is silly.
"Esteem him! Like him! Cold-hearted Elinor! Oh! worse than cold-hearted! Ashamed of being otherwise. Use those words again and I will leave the room this moment." Elinor could not help laughing. (Chapter 4)
In the mist of this serious discussion there is an amusing moment, to me at least because I never noticed it before. Marianne worries about offending Elinor’s feelings but it is Elinor who winds up apologizing to Marianne for her quite description of her feelings for Edward. Elinor takes Marianne’s outburst in stride and even laughs at Marianne’s condemnation of her cold-heartedness taking the time to explain her feelings more fully and I think from the heart. This is in keeping, I think, with Elinor’s role as the mature responsible sister advisor which was established in Chapter 1. Marianne is unable to consider Elinor’s situation without referring specifically to her own sentiments for what she feels are the proper standards and feelings and these constant references to her wants and needs make Marianne seem selfish even when she is taking an interest in her sister’s concerns. It is of course easy to tell that Elinor cares for Marianne. Up to this point I see Elinor and Marianne both displaying affection for each other—that Marianne’s concerns are often less than practical is a whole other subject for another post. ;D
Groupread is maintained by Myretta with WebBBS 3.21.