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|Ugly Ferrars, inside and out…
Written by Robbin
(10/15/2006 1:05 a.m.)
Edward Ferrars was not recommended to their good opinion by any peculiar graces of person or address. He was not handsome, and his manners required intimacy to make them pleasing. He was too diffident to do justice to himself; but when his natural shyness was overcome, his behaviour gave every indication of an open affectionate heart. (Chapter 3)…At first sight, his address is certainly not striking; and his person can hardly be called handsome, till the expression of his eyes, which are uncommonly good, and the general sweetness of his countenance, is perceived. At present, I know him so well, that I think him really handsome; or, at least, almost so. (Chapter 4)
The Ferrars family seems to wear their faults upon their faces, except for Edward. Edward is saved because of his intelligence and good heart—his eyes have an uncommonly good expression and his countenance is sweet, so much so that Elinor does think him really almost handsome. To his siblings and mother, JA is not so kind. I think the reader is to find them repulsive as people but it seems that they are punished for their bad character by also having nothing to recommend them but wealth and fashion. They have not beauty, intelligence, or wit—they are Of Course not fit companions for the Miss Dashwoods. They are wholly material in nature and it shows. This struck me because JA often masks horrid characters behind handsome faces and happy manners—Edward’s family receives no such distinction. (:D)
The same manners however, which recommended Mrs. John Dashwood to the good opinion of Lady Middleton, did not suit the fancy of Mrs. Jennings, and to her she appeared nothing more than a little proud-looking woman of uncordial address, who met her husband's sisters without any affection... (Chapter 34)
Fanny is little and proud looking—selfish and greedy and mean spirited we know from the first few chapters. (Did I miss another description of Fanny?)
Mrs. Ferrars was a little, thin woman, upright, even to formality, in her figure, and serious, even to sourness, in her aspect. Her complexion was sallow: and her features small, without beauty, and naturally without expression: but a lucky contraction of the brow had rescued her countenance from the disgrace of insipidity, by giving it the strong characters of pride and ill-nature. (Chapter 34)
Mrs. Ferrars’ character mirrors her appearance also—sallow complexion and a narrow minded determination to dislike Elinor, upright…to formality and proud and on top of that I think *“contraction of the brow” means she has a unibrow—oh dear.
…a kind of notice which served to imprint on Elinor the remembrance of a person and face of strong, natural, sterling insignificance, though adorned in the first style of fashion. (Chapter 33) …Mr. Robert Ferrars…He addressed her with easy civility, and twisted his head into a bow which assured her as plainly as words could have done, that he was exactly the coxcomb she had heard him described to be by Lucy. (Chapter 36)
Robert is made completely insipid in appearance and intelligence so that Elinor thinks an appropriate LOL line in Chapter 36: Elinor agreed to it all, for she did not think he deserved the compliment of rational opposition. I think S&S2 got Robert right and I cannot help but laugh when I think of the acting that is inspired by these words “twisted his head into a bow.” (;D)
*Contraction: The state of being contracted, or drawn into a narrow compass—The Johnson Dictionary Project. Contracted: drawn together; reduced in compass or size; made smaller; shrunken; condensed; abridged—dictionary.com.
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