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|a foil to Dashwood ladies, and a negative image of woman
Written by Heather Leigh
(9/18/2009 3:07 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Lady Middleton's purpose, penned by JoAnn
self-centered, insipid, intellectually limited (contrast to Elinor's thoughtfulness and interest in other people)
negative portrait of a woman in the maternal role - only focused on her children (contrast with Mrs Dashwood's warmth, hospitality, friendliness)
When Austen sums them up with "Sir John was a sportsman, Lady Middleton a mother. He hunted and shot, and she humoured her children; and these were their only resources," I think she is caricaturing the traditional family and traditional male and female roles.
Society thinks it's enough for a man to hunt and a woman to reproduce, and hunter+mother=family. But Austen's main characters will not be satisfied with that, they want richer lives and richer relationships.
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