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|Is this a jot or a tittle?
Written by Anselm
(9/10/2009 11:26 a.m.)
At the beginning of Ch.4, Elinor and Marianne are discussing Edward's qualities. At one point Elinor replies to Marianne with this:
But of his minuter propensities, as you call them, you have from peculiar circumstances been kept more ignorant than myself. He and I have been at times thrown a good deal together, while you have been wholly engrossed on the most affectionate principle by my mother.
Why "my" rather than "our" mother? Isn't that a strange thing for one sibling to say to another? Under what circumstances would you ever refer to "your", as opposed to "our", parent when chatting to your brother or sister?
How about this for an explanation: Marianne is Henry's illegitimate child, conceived as the result of a passionate fling with the second under-housemaid, a shameful episode that Henry and Mrs D have agreed to keep secret, even from Jane Austen. Thoughts?
[Stony silence, broken only by the forlorn chirping of a cricket]
OK, sorry for mentioning it....
But anyway, I find the whole second half of that last sentence a little confusing. What's the "affectionate principle" that has been "engrossing" Marianne enough to keep her from noticing that Elinor and Edward have been "thrown a good deal together"? How do these two things relate to each other? Or have I had a humourectomy?
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