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|A very awkward narrator
Written by Ivonne
(9/30/2009 4:07 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, A man of feeling, penned by Barbara
Definitely a man of profound feeling! The scene you mention, in which Colonel Brandon "confesses" to Elinor, is one of my favorite miniature character portraits. What I find especially intriguing is how much he tells her, prefacing the facts about Willoughby with his own story--"A short account of myself, I believe, will be necessary." His own story certainly provides background that makes Willoughby's conduct all the more terrible to those who know both men, but is this backstory strictly necessary, or did the Colonel simply yearn to tell it? He could have achieved his stated aim by restricting his revelation to Willoughby's misconduct towards Eliza. Instead, Colonel Brandon chooses to "open up" not only Willoughby's character, but his own. The scene seems all the poignant to me for it, as it may very well be the first time the Colonel has ever ventured to confide his history so fully and feelingly to anyone.
I love to ponder why he did it. Certainly it shows himself in both a better and truer light to the Dashwood ladies, demonstrating his depths of both passion and loyalty. This sets him in striking contrast to Willoughby, who abandons Marianne for pecunary reasons and does not even recognize his own child, as opposed to Brandonís raising the daughter of the woman who gave him up, irrespective of the speculation it raises about his relation to the child. Sharing his heart-rending story in confidence, for Marianne's sake, also introduces a kind of intimacy between the Colonel and the Dashwoods. But I don't believe he was motivated to tell his story by the wish of improving the Dashwoods opinion of him. Perhaps he did it just because he recently relived much of his heartache through little Eliza's disappearance and pregnancy, as well as his resignation to Marianne's marriage to Willoughby, and he could finally unburden himself. Having come to trust Elinor to hear him with compassion, I imagine him allowing himself a bit of the spotlight, if only for a moment. Any thoughts?
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