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Written by Robbin
(9/10/2009 4:38 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Respectable., penned by Rachel G
The family of Dashwood had been long settled in Sussex. Their estate was large, and their residence was at Norland Park, in the centre of their property, where for many generations, they had lived in so respectable a manner as to engage the general good opinion of their surrounding acquaintance. (Ch. 1)
I do not think you are cynical Rachel G because I am thinking along the same lines. (;D) Perhaps the contradictions in the descriptions of John Dashwood as both “a steady, respectable young man” and “rather cold hearted, and rather selfish” say something about what it took to be considered steady and respectable by society at large. He is considered steady and respectable because “he conducted himself with propriety in the discharge of his ordinary duties” which does not guarantee that he is also man of good character. As John’s failure to honor his promise denotes he is not a man of good character but I agree with you even if his neglect was known to the world he might still be secure in the good opinion of his acquaintance because their individual acquiescence or censure depends on their what principles they adhere to and the quality of their character. I take a couple ideas away from John’s fall from grace. One is that people are not always what they seem. At first it seems John is a good guy, he promises to do the right thing but as Anselm pointed out he quickly falls off that pedestal. Second is that he is the third Dashwood man to fail the Dashwood ladies. Gentleman uncle and Henry Dashwood each failed them in a way although (unlike John) I do not suggest either man did it purposely or with ill intent—it seems fate. Perhaps John’s contradictory descriptions are to alter the reader to these issues? (:D)
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