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|Not one bit too nasty
Written by Mary Anne
(10/6/2006 11:05 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Lucy's morals (if that's the right term), penned by Melissa G
I wouldn't worry about being too nasty to Lucy; there have already been several posts about the way Austen delineates her character and she is clearly intended to be unsympathetic. In connection with this situation, I always think of this passage from Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre:
"If Miss Ingram had been a good and noble woman, endowed with force, fervour, kindness, sense, I should have had one vital struggle with two tigers--jealousy and despair: then, my heart torn out and devoured, I should have admired her--acknowledged her excellence, and been quiet for the rest of my days: and the more absolute her superiority, the deeper would have been my admiration--the more truly tranquil my quiescence."
I think Elinor finds herself in much the same position: her pain arises not only from the fact that Edward is spoken for, but spoken for by such a woman as this. More from the same chapter: "She advocated a high tone of sentiment; but she did not know the sensations of sympathy and pity; tenderness and truth were not in her."
I find Lucy only slightly less nasty than Fanny. The argument could be made, however, that Lucy is hanging on to her one prospect of security; the times being what they were, a woman's best chance of a decent lifestyle was marriage. Fanny has no excuse, however, for her treatment of the Dashwood girls. Her position is already secure; she is married and her husband could easily spare what he at first intends to give his sisters, so I award her the palm for hateful behaviour.
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