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|Men of mystery
Written by Ivonne
(9/16/2009 10:04 a.m.)
Well, we have quite a mystifying clutch of eligible men on our hands! Brandon runs off at the drop of a bonnet upon receiving a letter, abandoning the planned outing to Whitwell. Willoughby spins on a dime and hightails it out of town after what should have been just another night at Allenham, perhaps frustrating Marianne’s expectation of an intimate morning interlude alone together, and certainly forgoing a dinner planned with the family later in the day. Edward arrives suddenly and in uncertain spirits, having spent a fortnight in the area without a word or a visit.
Two have confounded everyone with abrupt and emotional departures wrapped in secrecy, suspending social engagements planned for that day. The third has baffled our young heroines with his manner on arrival, rather than departure. All this occurs in almost rapid-fire succession in the last few chapters of this week’s reading. Moreover, the two principal objects of our heroine’s affections are each singled out for similar failures. Elinor finds “a backwardness so unlike a lover, so unlike himself,” in Willoughby. The “deficiency of all that a lover ought to look and say on such an occasion” in Edward, is perceived by Marianne, to be sure, but apparently with sufficient basis to give rise to similar feelings in Elinor. Interesting to me how very similar descriptions apply to Willoughby and Edward, two highly dissimilar individuals.
What is going on here? Why are all three gentlemen suddenly shrouded in mystery? Does the confluence of all three situations diminish the volatility of any one? For example, would Willoughby's sudden and emotional departure seem even more alarming if it were not bracketed by the abrupt departure of Brandon and awkward arrival of Edward? How much do the emotions raised by one event affect the Dashwoods' interpretation of the others?
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