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|Making a tragedy out of a setback.
Written by Rachel G
(9/14/2009 9:43 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Potent sensibility!, penned by Barbara
When Marianne and her mother were mourning the death of Henry Dashwood They gave themselves up wholly to their sorrow, seeking increase of wretchedness in every reflection that could afford it, and resolved against ever admitting consolation in future. (Ch.1)
I was willing to cut them some slack at that time because grieving is a necessary, but highly individual process. I know from my own experience how, when the initial outburst of grief subsides and ones mind focuses on other things for a little while, the realisation that this has happened can feel like disloyaly of forgetfulness about the person who has died.
Now with Willoughby's departure Marianne is at it again, feeding her violent sorrow and courting the misery, but this time I have little sympathy. I can understand her disappointment, but why such a fuss? Where is the tragedy? No one has died. Her beloved has had to leave Barton for a while, that is all. We know that she expects him back before long. In Ch.16 when Mrs Dashwood speaks of putting the unfinished Hamlet by until Willoughby comes again "... But it may be months, perhaps, before that happens."
"Months!" cried Marianne, with strong surprise. "No -- nor many weeks."
Even Mrs Dashwood's reaction to Willoughby's departure is to rush off and weep for half an hour. It is clear that W. gave some rather mixed messages when he left, but Mrs D. is sure that he and Marianne are engaged, so her reaction seems excessive to me.
Does anyone share my exasperation at this violently emotional behaviour?
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