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|Mothers (and some daughters who are like them!) [long]
Written by kathleen (elder)
(9/8/2009 6:15 a.m.)
Mrs Dashwood has an "eagerness of mind in Mrs. Dashwood which must generally have led to imprudence." [Chapter 1] From Chapter 2, we learn this: "In seasons of cheerfulness, no temper could be more cheerful than hers, or possess, in a greater degree, that sanguine expectation of happiness which is happiness itself. But in sorrow she must be equally carried away by her fancy, and as far beyond consolation as in pleasure she was beyond alloy." Marianne is very much like her mother, and "the excess of [Marianne's] sensibility ... was valued and cherished" by their mother. Elinor is forced to act as the rational voice in this family of women.
Fanny Dashwood is not an amiable woman, though she can put on a show of well-bred behaviour (treating her inlaws with "quiet civility" and not point-blank asking for the Stanhill china. :-) We don't know what kind of mother she is, although she uses her son as part of her reasoning for not giving the Dashwood women anything.
Mrs Ferrars, mother of Fanny Dashwood & Edward Ferrars, is not introduced but is mentioned. She is ambitious for her eldest son, without regard to his own wishes (or abilities). And Elinor knows (or at least believes) that Edward's "mother neither behaved to him so as to make his home comfortable at present, nor to give him any assurance that he might form a home for himself, without strictly attending to her views for his aggrandisement." Nothing motherly there. Fanny may come by her cold-hearted scheming quite naturally.
Lady Middleton is well-bred but "reserved, cold, and had nothing to say for herself beyond the most common-place inquiry or remark." She humours (spoils?) her children, and we are told that is her only resource -- she gave up music when she married. Not much to interest here.
Mrs Jennings is Lady Middleton's mother and very unlike her daughter. She is a "good-humoured, merry, fat, elderly woman, who talked a great deal, seemed very happy, and rather vulgar." I do wonder how Lady Middleton is so well-bred when her mother is so vulgar, but like mother NOT like daughter in this case. Mrs Jennings's sole job, it seems, was to get her daughters married; having accomplished this, she now wants to marry off all other single friends & acquaintances. :-)
An interesting assortment of mothers, none of whom are completely admirable. Mrs Dashwood, however, would be the most loving, imo.
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