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|So do I.
Written by Rachel G
(10/8/2009 5:00 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, I do, penned by CarolTS
What strikes me about all this is that while Willoughby may be described as a 'predator', that sort of predatory behaviour is rather commonplace and probably always has been. Consider men who:-
-are attracted to nubile teenage girls.
Does any of this sound familiar? It isn't new now, and wasn't new in JA's time. For centuries literature and song have been awash with tales of maidens wronged and left with a broken heart and/or holding the baby.
Attitudes and laws relating to such matters vary considerably with time, between different cultures, and within a society. In JA's world a girl of sixteen was considered capable of consent, and an age difference of ten or twenty years between partners was unremarkable. Sexual double standards were firmly in place, and many would have found Willoughby's behaviour unsurprising, and considered only his abandonment of Eliza without financial support as worthy of particular criticism.
Of course none of this makes Willoughby's behaviour right. I am not arguing that it is, and I would call it thoughtless, selfish and callous. My point is that men such as Willoughby were (and are) an entirely predictable hazard for teenage girls on the loose. We have no evidence that Eliza2 was coerced, and I think that she and the adults responsible for her upbringing must take some share of the blame for her predicament.
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