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|"Small House at Allingham"
Written by Heather Leigh
(10/4/2009 9:18 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Thrashing?, penned by Louise H
Thank you for mentioning Trollope! I was thinking of that scene too, and the different reactions characters have to the thrashing. There seems to be a consensus that jilting a girl is a rotten thing to do, and even the jilter's friends are disgusted by his action, and even his new bride's family find him a bit despicable. The black eye he gets functions as a stigma (a male version of a scarlet letter!)
The thrashing, though officially frowned on, is like an outburst of the whole society's disgust against the cad -- like an eruption of healthy and decent outrage at an action that is not quite a crime, but still an offense against trust and honor.
I recommend The Small House at Allingham as a companion book to Sense and Sensibility, because it also follows the experience of a jilted heroine, while going into much more depth about the cad's motivations and rationalizations, and tracing the unexpected consequences that the jilting has for both their lives... Trollope doesn't let the cad off the hook! or the girl either, for that matter.
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