Quick Index Board Index Home FAQ Site Map
|Dashwood Sisters (Chapter 37 to 41)
Written by Robbin
(10/19/2006 11:53 p.m.)
"I cannot agree with you there," said Elinor. "There are inconveniences attending such feelings as Marianne's, which all the charms of enthusiasm and ignorance of the world cannot atone for. Her systems have all the unfortunate tendency of setting propriety at nought; and a better acquaintance with the world is what I look forward to as her greatest possible advantage." (Chapter 11)
I doubt that Elinor wished for Marianne’s better acquaintance with the world to be as painful for her as Willoughby’s desertion has been but it seems to have helped bring them closer together. Marianne loosing Willoughby and Elinor finally being free to confess to Marianne that she has already lost Edward breaks down the walls that were built up during their relationships with the men they thought to marry. I wonder if the slow growing apart we see in the beginning of the novel is just an enhanced version of what usually happens when sisters begin to pair off with husbands and start to live separate family lives. I think Willoughby certainly influenced Marianne—her opinion of Brandon took a turn for the worse, from old bachelor to the unfounded criticism in Chapter 10 and while I do not think Edward influenced Elinor in this way, as the object of their discussion in Chapter 4, he marks the beginning of the sisters misunderstandings of how to approach and live with attachments.
But though confidence between them was, by this public discovery, restored to its proper state, it was not a subject on which either of them were fond of dwelling when alone. Elinor avoided it upon principle…and Marianne's courage soon failed her, in trying to converse upon a topic which always left her more dissatisfied with herself than ever, by the comparison it necessarily produced between Elinor's conduct and her own. She felt all the force of that comparison; but not as her sister had hoped, to urge her to exertion now; she felt it with all the pain of continual self-reproach, regretted most bitterly that she had never exerted herself before; but it brought only the torture of penitence, without the hope of amendment. Her mind was so much weakened that she still fancied present exertion impossible, and therefore it only dispirited her more. (Chapter 38)
In the chapters this week Elinor and Marianne seem to band together to fend off attacks from the Miss Steeles and their in-laws alike. I like the way Elinor protects Marianne from the inquisitive Miss Steele in Chapter 32 and then how Marianne admires Elinor’s screens as they ought to be admired in Chapter 34 at the Harley Street dinner party. Elinor and Marianne’s relationship is on the upswing; I like the way that Marianne is beginning to appreciate Elinor’s strength and her being able to go out and attend to others, Mrs. Jennings, for example—Reeba put it well in her post linked below and I have to agree with her and also say well done Marianne! Also like Reeba, I was surprised to find Marianne’s change beginning at this time—for me I think it is S&S2 bias which did the deed! Marianne is not all the way there yet, still falling victim to her sensibilities on occasion—breaking down at the Harley Street dinner party and refusing to visit at Harley Street with Elinor to inquire about Fanny’s “health” in Chapter 41, an example which I must point out was followed exactly by Mrs. Jennings despite her curiosity to see Fanny’s looks after the revelation and the desire to affront her by taking Edward’s side—LOL! Despite these incidents, Marianne has become more reasonable—Elinor is able to persuade her to accept the invitation to Cleveland as the quickest way home despite the imaginary evil she appends to going into Somersetshire—Chapter 39—for once sensibility is overcome, if not by common sense at least by the reasonable affection for her mother.
"Dear Edward!" she cried, "this is a moment of great happiness! -- This would almost make amends for everything!"…Oh! don't think of me!" she replied, with spirited earnestness, though her eyes were filled with tears as she spoke, "don't think of my health. Elinor is well, you see. That must be enough for us both." (Chapter 35)
Elinor and Marianne are both loving individuals at heart; I think sometimes this is difficult to remember with Marianne but this giving is illustrated by their continual concern for the other and willingness to put aside their own grief to be happy for the other. This is one of the attractions of S&S for me. It is wonderful how Marianne finds happiness in Edward’s visit in Chapter 35 and how Elinor regrets having to undermine Marianne’s pleasure in the attachment by informing her of Edward’s engagement to Lucy in Chapter 37. It seems as if as their individual dreams fall apart Elinor and Marianne begin to find their way back to each other. (;D)
|A big change in Marianne by Reeba|
Groupread is maintained by Myretta with WebBBS 3.21.