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Written by BarbaraB
(10/3/2006 11:19 p.m.)
I find chapter 17 to be an extraordinary one. In chapter 16 Edward fianlly arrived at Barton, but his enthusiasm is less than lackluster to say the least. Mrs. Dashwood's almost overwhelming welcome has the effect of relaxing Edward into being, what Elinor considers, 'more like himself'. Mrs. Dashwood strikes up a conversation about his mother's expectations for him which leads to an important conversation on views about the importance of money in relation to happiness.
This conversation prompts Margaret to wish they could all receive a large fortune. It has the simple innocence and charm of a child wishing upon a star but it is very instrumental in leading the conversation down a different path. (It is a part that might have been assigned to Marianne under normal circumstances, but while Marianne becomes animated at the thought of sudden wealth, I think having her suddenly say Margaret's words would feel a little off-kilter since she has been so focused on her misery. Under the circumstances I feel the wish works much better with Margaret).
This new topic of what to do with a sudden fortune initiated by Margaret's wish begins with a teasing tone that appears to be just a bit of fun but is, in fact, revealing a great deal about the participants, one of them being that we get to see a close approximation of the Edward that Elinor must have originally known and fallen in love with... As the conversation continues, mistaken perceptions are also revealed as we learn a lot about how these characters percieive each other as well as themselves. It glides by, for the most part, in such a chit chatty pace, it is easy to skim over the undercurrents swirling beneath the surface.
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