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|Dangerous indeed, especially for Willoughby
Written by Robbin
(10/12/2006 4:50 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, A 'dangerous' subject, penned by Barbara
He could say no more, and rising hastily walked for a few minutes about the room. Elinor, affected by his relation, and still more by his distress, could not speak. He saw her concern, and coming to her, took her hand, pressed it, and kissed it with grateful respect. A few minutes more of silent exertion enabled him to proceed with composure. (Chapter 31)
I often feel Brandon’s reasons for keeping silent so long are insufficient, from my modern point of view or perhaps more accurately my romantic point of view (giggle) it seems saving Marianne from Willoughby should have overridden other concerns. Undoubtedly, however, my point of view is somewhat skewered in favor of his steeling the hero role from Willoughby and should not take away from Brandon’s more thoughtful and generous considerations which do him a credit IMO. He worries that exposing Willoughby will hurt Marianne for no reason as Willoughby may be influenced by her to be a better person; it is also unlikely that Marianne would believe Brandon as even at the end of Chapter 31, after she receives his horrible letter in Chapter 29 she still desires to acquit Willoughby of wrong doing. I think Brandon does see truly into Marianne’s heart and his worry that she would see him as jealous is valid; IMO she would have seen his story as trying to raise himself in her esteem at the expense of Willoughby because she is so prejudiced in Willoughby’s favor. IMO It is one of those ironic setups that JA loves—Brandon stays quiet about Willoughby because he does not want to be seen as manipulative, raising himself by disparaging Willoughby but Willoughby is just the opposite—in Chapter 10, Willoughby disparages Brandon openly and is obviously admired by Marianne.
To me, in Chapter 10 is it obvious that Willoughby is jealous of Brandon, envious of his wealth and independence and because he knows Brandon is a better man than he. I also think Willoughby is annoyed and worried that Brandon cares for Marianne—I think Willoughby was trying to raise himself by disparaging Brandon and I think it worked as he even managed to lure Marianne into disparaging Brandon also. Willoughby IMO was only sensible to be worried; Brandon’s refusal to try to benefit from his knowledge of Willoughby’s treatment of Eliza, his lost love for the first Eliza and his love for the second and finally his regret in his failures towards them all prove to me that Brandon is by far the better man and actually a man with sensibilities Marianne would admire if she could but recognize them. Willoughby who appears to be the hero of her dreams is in reality more mercenarily practical like Lucy than full of meaningful sensibilities like Marianne as his choice to engage a young woman for wealth and security proves. Although I do not think Marianne would have believed Brandon about Willoughby before she received his letter in Chapter 29, I do think his story would have affected her greatly afterwards and if he had kissed her hand as he does Elinor’s I do not see how she could have gone on regretting Willoughby a minute further. I think Brandon is actually a beautiful example of well balanced Sense and Sensibility. (;D)
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