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|The hero of her favourite story
Written by Barbara
(9/23/2006 12:30 a.m.)
I mean, she doesn't just say he's handsome, but in the space of three paragraphs we get "uncommonly handsome", "youth, beauty and elegance", "manly beauty and more than common gracefulness", "exterior attractions" and "his person and air were equal to what her fancy had ever drawn for the hero of a favourite story". He must have really been a breathtaking sight to behold.
And it's not just Marianne who sees him this way. Actually, her mother and Elinor really get the full effect of his looks before she does, because Marianne is too shy to look at him. I hadn't really noticed that detail before, because I was thinking of Marianne's earlier pronouncement in her speech about how she requires so much and declared that for her to really love a man, "his person and manners must ornament his goodness with every possible charm." I kind of always had the impression that she was seeing what she wanted to see.
But then they hear from Sir John that he is also pleasant, good-humoured, lively, fond of dancing, and can dance until 4 a.m., then be up by 8 a.m. to hunt.
Is it any wonder that Marianne declares, "That is what I like; that is what a young man ought to be. Whatever be his pursuits, his eagerness in them should know no moderation, and leave him no sense of fatigue." I think she has already made up her mind to be in love with him before she even speaks to him!
Linked below is the same portrait Deidre LeFaye put in her book Jane Austen: The World of Her Novels as what Willoughby *might* have looked like:
|Does this look like Willoughby?|
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